Guidelines to draw a shape

Drawing the Shape of a place precisely helps display it accurately on the map. When drawing a Shape in Map Maker, we recommend drawing the shape at the highest zoom level possible to mark the boundaries accurately.

Building shapes

Draw the building's shape according to the area covered by the building at ground level (also known as its foundation), and not according the outline of the building's roof. A Building shape should only be used to define a permanent, enclosed structure with walls and a roof, not including any overhangs. The angle of the satellite imagery can make it more challenging to see the foundation of the building. In the following image, the building's foundation is mapped accurately:

Always start tracing the base of the building, from the point where you can clearly see the foundation of the building as shown in the image below:

As we continue drawing the shape, we reach the point where foundation of the building is no longer visible, so we need to logically determine the shape of the building foundation, as seen in the image below:

When you're almost done drawing the shape, click on the starting point to complete the shape. Voila! The building shape is now complete.


Shadows cast on buildings in satellite imagery can be deceiving and alter what we perceive to be the foundation of the building. These shadows could be cast by an adjacent building or by the building being mapped and should not be considered when drawing the shape. The building shape in the image below is accurate and doesn't include the shadow.


Buildings with multiple businesses or entities:

To add a building with multiple businesses inside, draw a single shape for the building. You can add the individual businesses as Point features.

Drawing multiple shapes:

When mutiple buildings touch and there is no visible gap in Street View or satellite imagery, they may be drawn as separate shapes if there are different roof lines and the buildings are constructed from different materials.

Common issues with building shapes:

Please avoid drawing shapes that do not accurately reflect the building foundation, as seen in the following examples.

Boundary exceeds the building area: The shape below covers too much ground, including sidewalks and adjacent streets. To fix this, map only the boundary of the building.


Boundary doesn't match foundation: This shape matches the building foundation more accurately, but still covers some superfluous area. You can zoom in closer to better align your shape to the foundation, if desired.


Rooftop instead of foundation: This shape covers the rooftop of the building, rather than the building foundation.

  • Here, the distinct roof lines and roof types indicate that the buildings are independent structures.
  • Street View shows that the buildings are constructed of different materials, or possibly constructed of the same materials with noticably different appearances.


Boundary shapes

When drawing shapes for Boundaries, it is important to extend the shape to the center of the road to create cleaner, more polished shapes on Maps. When there is a split road with a central median, it’s only necessary to extend the shape to the center of the closest line. Make sure to extend the shape to the center of the road as seen in satellite view rather than the map view, since the map view may be misaligned. Correctly extended shapes are as shown in the examples below:




Parking Lots

Drag the Boundary to the edges of the parking lot when there is no bordering road. If a sidewalk surrounds the parking lot, draw the parking lot borders over the sidewalk. We do this because it removes the gap between road and the boundary.

Transit Zones

Transit zones such as free fare, reduced fare, and express zones shouldn’t be marked on Map Maker with a boundary shape. 

Shapes inside shapes:

When a feature is mapped as a Boundary shape, the features that exist inside the boundary of this feature can also be mapped as Shapes.

The main boundary feature is called the Parent feature, and the other features mapped inside of it are called Child features.

For example, a school boundary shape (Parent feature) has different departments such as the library, gymnasium, and various buildings (Child features). The Child features can be mapped as individual shapes, as shown in the image below:

Note: Places present inside a building shape such as a restaurant in a mall, should be marked as Places and not as Shapes.


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