Showing posts from September, 2020

Create a custom Color-Coded map from a spreadsheet containing Counties or ZIP Codes

The Custom Areas on Google Maps tool is being used by hundreds of people per day to create and view custom delivery area maps, service area maps and sales territory maps -- helping many small businesses during challenging times.

But dozens of people have asked if they could color-code multiple areas on the same map.  For example, people wanted to create a color-coded map to show delivery zones, real estate demand, all of their company's sales territories, tax incentive zones, incident case rates, climate/environmental classifications and more. 

Now you can!

Just go to the new Custom Color-Coded Maps tool and use the easy-to-use form below the map.  Using the form, you can map by:
  • County Names + State Abbreviations (2 columns) or
  • 5-digit ZIP Codes (1 column) or
  • 3-digit ZIP Codes (1 column) -- best for very large regional or national coverage
All you'll need to make the map is a spreadsheet saved in Google Sheets containing the geography you wish to map (e.g. counties, ZIP Codes), the data you want to show (e.g. zone name, salesperson) and the colors you want the map to use.  The map is live-linked to the spreadsheet, so if you change the spreadsheet, those changes will automatically be reflected the next time you view the map web page.

Just go to the form and it will step you through exactly how to do everything.  You can have your custom map up and running in as little as a few minutes.

Sample Maps

Click each map to go to the interactive Google Map and explore.

Map of sales territories based on counties:

Custom Color Coded Map using Counties

Map of delivery zones based on 5-digit ZIP Codes:

Custom Color Coded Map using 5-digit ZIP Codes

Map of health or environmental territories based on 3-digit ZIP Codes:

Custom Color Coded Map using 3-digit ZIP Codes

Be sure to read the entire form so you know how to format the spreadsheet correctly and make it available to be viewed by the map tool.

Please feel free to share this tool with others who might find it useful, and leave any comments below.  As with any first version, the tool will be made more powerful with time.  

Happy mapping!

Note:  The Custom Color-Coded Maps tool is available for U.S. locations only.  Other countries may be added in the future.

Auto-checking of all Location Facts in Ancestry Family Trees now available

While searching on and FamilySearch, the FREE Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker extension for Chrome automatically checks that the county existed in the year you are searching, checks for valid places, warns of boundary changes, and links to historical county lines on Google Maps for the place and years you are searching.

Now, in addition, if you are a Research Hub contributor, the Auto-Checker will ALSO automatically check all U.S. location facts on person profile pages on all family trees! And your MAP links will open into ad-free fullscreen map windows any time you click a MAP link! 

Auto-Check location facts on all family trees

The screenshot above highlights how the tree fact-checking works on any person profile page on any family tree.  A few key features:

  • Quick links to interactive historical county maps for the year of each fact
  • Warnings if the county listed in your fact did not exist for the year of the fact (plus quick links so you can see what counties did exist in that year)
  • For ambiguous place names, possible matches are listed including map links (e.g. if the same township name exists in multiple places in the state, and you didn't list the county)
  • Once you link to the map page, as a contributor, you'll be working with ad-free full-screen maps that you can further explore the dates and places around your area, including both historical and present-day county lines, township boundaries and more.  Details of exactly when each county formed, what counties it formed out of, statutes and more are listed above the map.

Remember, U.S. county boundaries have changed over 17,600 times since America was settled in colonial times. Don’t sabotage your search for ancestors by not knowing the correct county for the historical years you are researching.  Install for free today and never let an ancestor fall of the map again!


FREE version:  While using any Search form on or, the Auto-Checker automatically checks that the county existed in the year you are searching, checks for valid places, warns of boundary changes, and links to historical county lines on Google Maps for the place and years you are searching!

CONTRIBUTOR version:  Everything the free version does PLUS checks all of the U.S. location facts on person profile pages on all family trees.  The check includes everything listed in the bullet points above.  Plus you get access to ad-free fullscreen versions of all map and search tools on  NEW:  You can pause tree fact-checking at any time with the "Pause Auto-Checker" button in the Chrome extension popup.  Note: tree fact-checking is not available for FamilySearch family trees.

The Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker Chrome extension makes use of the award-winning Research Hub’s Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps tool, underpinned with the complete dataset of the authoritative Newberry Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.