Thursday, December 05, 2013

Lost Google Maps: Found, maybe

If you've created a bunch of maps in Google Maps, you maybe getting this error message when you try to get to the older ones:
My Places encountered a temporary error and could not load some items. Please try again later.
People are complaining about it on forums.  If you're struggling with this, here's something you can try.

Clear your cookies, log back in to Google Maps and try again to load the older maps.

Here are the steps:
  • Click on the menu in the upper right corner of Chrome
  • Go down to Tools
  • Then select Clear Browsing Data...
  • Click on: Delete cookies and other site and plug-in data
  • On the "Obliterate the following items from:" line I used the last 4 weeks, but you might have to try a few depending on how many cookies you're willing to get rid of to get to your maps (getting rid of cookies means you may have to log back into various websites and you'll lose your history on some)
  • Go back to maps and refresh the page
  • Try to load your older maps
This worked for me, at least a few times.  Then it stopped working.

Since it's at best a workaround, not a solution, it's a good idea to get the maps you want onto your hard drive or some other place.  Here's how:

In classic maps:
  • Open the map
  • Click on KML
  • Save to the place where you want it
Select KML at the lower right

In the new Google Maps:

  • Open the map
  • Click on the folder icon that's to the left of Add Layers
  • From the menu choose Export to KML
  • Save to the place where you want it
OK, so now you've got your maps in a safe place.  What next?

Well, you can always open them in Google Earth.  If you really want them in Google Maps, it takes a little bit of work.  In the old days, meaning with the old Google Maps, you could just put the KML on a server (or Dropbox) and open it up.  

The new Google Maps doesn't open KML, at least not yet.  Google is hinting that it may in the future.   Here's the official word:
You can import CSV, TSV, or XLSX files, My Maps, or spreadsheets from Google Drive. KML import is not currently supported.
Since the new maps does open csv (comma separated values), you just have to convert your KML file to csv.  How?

One ways is to download a KML to CSV converter like this one.  For a selection, just Google "KML to CSV converter."

Then import the CSV file into Maps Engine Lite as demonstrated this tutorial.