Share data, layers, and maps Updated!

Basics of how sharing works

Here's a brief summary of how to share your data, layers, and maps:

  • Sharing settings are applied on a per-asset basis. Each data source, layer, and map has its own associated sharing settings, similar to a document or spreadsheet in Google Apps.
  • You simply navigate to the data, layer, or map and specify the users and groups who can view or edit the asset. Access lists are no longer used in Maps Engine.
  • Each asset has two categories for sharing:
    • Draft version sharing
    • Published version sharing

Two sharing settings per asset

This table summarizes how the two sharing settings are used:

Sharing category What it means Settings
Draft version sharing Specifies who is the owner of the asset and who can view and edit the unpublished (working draft) version of the asset. Users and groups can be listed here as "Is Owner," "Can edit," or "Can view" (the same as in Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, and other Google apps).
Published version sharing Specifies who can view the published version of the asset. Users and groups listed here "Can view" the asset after it's published (but they have no editing or publishing privileges).

Use Google groups!

Wherever possible, use Google groups rather than individual names for sharing assets. Typically, you'll use job functions or team categories to organize your Maps Engine user groups.

Examples of using groups for sharing

Here are a few examples of groups you could create for use in sharing assets:

  • Administrators (usually, this is the first group you'll create)
  • Upload team
  • Planning Department
  • Marketing
  • Field agents
  • Regional managers
  • Executive team

Although it requires an extra step to set up a Google group, it generally simplifies asset management if you create sets of users based on their roles or functions within your organization. These groups are then added to an asset's sharing settings rather than adding individuals one at a time to an asset.

Why use Google groups?

Here's why groups are preferable:

  • Reusability: Once you define a group (such as Map Editors, Data Creators, or Designers), you can reuse that group in the sharing settings of multiple assets.
  • Scalability: It's much easier to keep track of users who join or leave the company if you only include them in a few groups, rather than in the sharing settings for hundreds of individual assets.
  • Maintenance: Housekeeping is easier if users are grouped according to roles. A given user can be added to a group or deleted from it once, and sharing settings for that group are automatically updated on all assets with sharing settings that contain the group.
  • Identity: Once you've defined a Google group, anyone working with Maps Engine can simply add the group, knowing only what the name of the group represents. The asset owner doesn't need to know who the individual members are.

Creating a Google group

There are essentially two types of Google groups:

  • Public: If you are using a personal account (for example, if you are a user), create a public Google group. Also, if you need to include users from multiple Google Apps domains, you may need to create a public Google group. (Check with your IT administrator.) To create a public Google group, go to the Google groups Home page and follow these instructions.
  • Corporate: If you are using a corporate account (for example, if you are using an account at, follow these instructions.
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