Create a custom area map based on a list of States or ZIP Codes

The Custom Areas using ZIP Codes tool has been enhanced so you can also use U.S. States to define your custom area map.

This can be useful to show:
  • service area maps
  • sales territory maps
  • delivery area maps
  • other custom area map of any topic defined by States or ZIP Codes
To build a map based on states, create a URL like the following:

Here's what the above map looks like:

You can take a screenshot of the static map to include it on your own website, and also create a link like this to let your website users go to an interactive Google Map:  Click to see My Business Coverage Area

Of course you can also still define your custom area map based on ZIP Codes

To create a custom delivery area, service area, or sales territory map based on a list of ZIP Codes, use this form:  Custom Areas using ZIP Codes - Create Map Form.  

For easy use, note that you can draw a custom shape on the map to define your custom area by using the option outlined below:
Create custom area using ZIP Codes on Google Maps

Just draw the area on the map above the form, then click the Finished Map Link to see the results.

Happy mapping!

Option to show businesses, attractions and other points of interest on all map tools

The map tools on start with a clean map, such as this from the What City Am I In? map tool, where city names and neighborhood names appear:

What City Am I In map tool

Now you can choose to show points of interest, businesses, attractions and more by clicking the POI button in the upper right corner of the map.  When you click the button, Google's default place listings appear, with attractions typically showing first, as shown below.

What City Am I In map tool with POIs

As you zoom in further, more points of interest, businesses and more will appear.  Current place information (such as temporary closures, etc.) appears with the label.  Click the label for more detailed information and to pop open a place listing in Google Maps.

What City Am I In POIs detail

To get back to a clean map, just click either the Map or Satellite button in the upper right corner.

The POI button is now available on all map tools.

Easier Sign In to Ad-Free Fullscreen Map and Search Tools

Thanks to a suggestion from a user, it is now much easier to login to the Ad-Free Fullscreen Map and Search tools on Research Hub.

Rather than having to hunt for a little Login link at the bottom of each tool, you can simply click the "Sign In or Join" button in the upper right corner of any page on  It looks like this:

Once you click the Sign In or Join button, just click the "Sign in with Google" button that appears:

After signing in, you'll be taken to the ad-free fullscreen version of the map tool you were currently using.  To use other tools, click the "Map & Search Tools" button in the upper right, or click the logo in the upper left to view posts, tips and other content.

Hope that makes it a little quicker and easier to sign in!

Learn more about the Ad-Free, Full-Screen Map and Search tools hereAd-Free Fullscreen Map and Search Tools here.

Historical US Counties on Google Maps enhanced to match Census dates, adds townships

With Census season upon us, I've made a little update to the Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps tool.

Now, when you search for a year that was also a U.S. Federal Census year (e.g. 1790-2020) , the date will automatically set to the day of the Census that year.

Per the Census Bureau, "From 1790 to 1820, the censuses were conducted as of the first Monday in August (August 2, 1790; August 4, 1800; August 6, 1810; August 7, 1820); the 1830-1880 and 1900 censuses were as of June 1; the 1890 census was as of June 2; April 15 was Census Day in 1910; and the 1920 census was as of January 1. Since 1930, Census Day has been April 1."  Yes, since 1930, Census Day is April Fool's with that what you will ;)

So, for example, if you're using the Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker Chrome extension for Ancestry and FamilySearch, and happen to search a Census year, your map will open up linked to the correct census date, so you know you're searching in the correct county for that ancestor in that year!

(See Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker overview and complete write-up, and join the nearly 1,000 people who have downloaded it for free here since its release a few weeks ago)

Here's an example searching on Ancestry for a Robert Jones living in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois in 1820.

First, you'll be surprised/indifferent/relieved to see that the Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker correctly tells you that Sangamon County did NOT exist in 1820, together with a handy link so you can see what DID exist! By the way, I didn't type Sangamon County in the Search form, Ancestry's auto-complete menu suggested it.  (see Auto-Checker screenshot below)

Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker 1820 example

Click the "View MAP of 1820 Illinois counties" link in the Auto-Checker, and you'll get a new tab showing you historical counties from that year, centered on Springfield!

First, you'll notice that Springfield was in Madison County, Illinois that year!  (No, Springfield didn't move...the county lines did.)

Next, you'll notice that the date is set to 8/7/1820 since that's when the Census was taken that year.  (see map screenshot below)
Springfield IL in 1820

By the way, of course you can search on any exact date in the Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps tool, but if you just type a four-digit year and it's a federal census year, the date will default to the Census date that year!

And bonus for reading this far:  

In the lower left corner of the Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps tool, you now have a checkbox to "Also show US townships".   Those are present-day township lines, but they often will align with historical township names and provide additional local context.  Here's what it shows if we click around Pleasant Plains just west of Springfield:

Springfield now Sangamon County

As shown above, Pleasant Plains is in Cartwright township.  Also, in the above example, I've checked "Also show present-day county lines", so we can be relieved to see this really is where Sangamon County is today!

Happy searching and mapping!

Have a small business? Quickly create a DELIVERY AREA MAP for free on Google Maps

During this challenging time for small businesses, here's an easy way to quickly create a DELIVERY AREA MAP for free on Google Maps.

Tool just updated:  Now it's easier than ever to create your custom delivery area map based on ZIP Codes by using this simple form found here:

Custom Delivery Areas on Google Maps

Hope this can help a few more small businesses through this time.

Snapshot of the form and map:

Free resource to help retailers, restaurants & small businesses closed due to SaH/SiP

During this challenging time for small businesses, this free online resource may help some small businesses amidst the current Stay-at-Home/Shelter-in-Place orders.

For retailers, restaurants and other small businesses that have had to close due to SaH/SiP orders, delivery of their goods directly to customers is an option many are doing or considering to help them get through this.  But a pain-point can be that communicating to customers exactly where they can deliver can be cumbersome or costly, and small business owners don’t have time right now to deal with this.

Easily let customers know where you can deliver!

To that end, I have a well-established tool that many small businesses are using for this purpose.  The tool enables a business to easily show a custom-defined map depicting a delivery/service area based on a list of ZIP CodesCustom Territories using ZIP Codes on Google Maps.

Here’s an example of one of the small businesses using my tool (I have no affiliation with this business, it’s just an example).  On their website, they show their delivery area:

Example of ZIP Codes based delivery area
In this example, this small business simply created a “Launch Map” button that is a link to my Custom Territories using ZIP Codes tool.  The button is simply a link that includes a list of ZIP Codes and a map title like this

Interactive Zip Code based delivery area exampleNote this retailer decided to include a map on their website, but that is not required…it can be as simple as a small link pointing to a ZIP Code list as shown above.  When the customer clicks the link or button, they get an interactive, zoomable, searchable Google Map like this (click the image to see the interactive Google map):

Without this free resource, the ability to create a ZIP Code based delivery area map can be very cumbersome or costly.  This tool makes it super easy (and free!).

Tool just updated:  Now it's easier than ever to create your custom delivery area map based on ZIP Codes by using this simple form found here:

Custom Delivery Areas on Google Maps 

A lot of people seem to do a Google search for 'Create territory map with ZIP Codes free'.  This is how to do just that!  To zoom to one or multiple ZIP Codes, and optionally show their boundary (e.g. for a service territory, sales territory or delivery area), see instructions here:

Custom Territories using ZIP Codes on Google Maps

By the way, if you or someone you know wants to use this, just do need to ask permission or anything first!  But of course, if you need help, feel free to use the contact form on the lower left side of this website.

During this challenging time, if this free tool helps even one small business maintain customers and keep their business going, my effort to create and maintain this free resource will have been more than worth it.

Let this FREE tool do the location work for you as you search on or

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.

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

Install for free today and never let an ancestor fall of the map again!

For a step-by-step example of how the tool works, check out this post:  Ancestor fall off the map? Use this FREE Chrome extension for Ancestry or FamilySearch to find them!

Note, this is the first version of this tool, so if you find any bugs or issues, please contact me on the form on the lower left side of this page.  And if you find it useful, please leave a rating or review on the chrome web store.