In the video below we look at and review four Google Map WordPress plugins. There are 358 results when you search for a map plugin in the WordPress plugins directory, and that many of anything can be a little daunting in trying to choose the right one for you. As there are so many I've selected several that made a positive impression, but it's likely there are many more perfectly adequate map plugins available.
Click to View the Video, click bottom right button to view full screen, or to the left of that to view on Youtube with Chaptering.
Wp Google Maps
A well built plugin which boasts a five star rating from 61 reviews, which is a very good sign. The map is generated and placed on the page through a short code. There is both a free option and a premium paid version. Both versions allow you to do many functions such as placing a map in a widget area, dragging and dropping the pin as well as address location and define your own width, height and zoom level for your map. They say you can create a map in 30 seconds and my experience wasn't too far off that!
The premium upgrade allows you to customise icons and add images to your descriptions and links to your Google Map markers. In the settings you can also limit the amount of control your viewers have if you wish. All in all a very well made and relatively easy to use map plugin. Many will not need to upgrade to the premium version, but it's only $14.99 if you do and you get a great deal of functionality and choice. Others will choose to hunt around for rival plugins with similar functionality that is all free.
Click to view the Wp Google Maps plugin page.
Pronamic Google Map
This is probably more blog relevant than for people with WordPress.org arranged as a static site. However I thought I should include it in this short review as it offers quite a different functionality to the others. Pronamic plugin appears to allow you to drop a map reference where you post. So if you move around a city or country as you post on your travels, it will drop pins at those locations.
It may not be everyone's cup of tea but I thought the service it provides is a valuable addition, and it seems to be of quality too, from 41 ratings it has four stars, which is not to be sniffed at. Also by mentioning it, it sparked the thought that maybe it could be used in a novel way for businesses too. Off the top of my head, if you display client testimonials you could have their locations map referenced for a more unique way to show social proof as well as highlighting their businesses.
Click to view Pronamic Google Map
WPGmappity from Wp Plugin Fu
This is a slightly controversial plugin. Don't worry it's not obscene or anything. WPGmappity is demoed at their own site, where they provide a very funky live working demo of their excellent looking plugin. Because they have a live image of how your map will look, you can instantly see the result of the changes you make. For example they have several set sizes to choose from where you can immediately see what the size looks like on the page, as well as a custom option. In the same vein, you can adjust the zoom bar without have to guess your ideal setting.
Obviously someone with a feel for user interface had a hand in it's design and it shows to its credit. All for free, you can add routes and multiple markers which other plugins charge for, you can change the type of zoom controls and where you want to place all and any controls on the map. So it's very versatile.
Unfortunately when I recorded the video the demo stopped working at several functions which was very frustrating, as when I was playing around with it earlier it all worked well and was impressive. Not sure if that's a bad sign or just a small glitch not to worry about. What did concern me was to follow.
The big problem is when you click to visit its plugin page on WordPress.org nothing appears. It has over 100 comments on it's own site, most of which appeared positive. But it comes up blank on WordPress.org, even though they ask you to go there and rate it. If you're feeling braver than I was, you could download it and play around with it as it did seem quality. If you're more the cautious type then leave it well alone and go for an alternative.
Click to visit WPGmappity Google Map Plugin
Comprehensive Google Map Plugin
This appears the best compromise between Wp Google Maps and WPGmappity for those who don't want to pay for a premium option or want to risk a plugin that's not listed on WordPress.org. The back end offers huge amounts of customisation but no visual display of exactly what your changes result in, so you have to keep going back and refreshing the page. Not a big problem really, especially for those who have a clearer idea of what they need, but for beginners or people in a rush it could be frustrating.
Others with a disposition for exploring can play away to their heart's content. If you ever wonder what the 'tilt 45 degrees' or 'scrollwheel' enable does, you can find out pretty quickly here. It boasts 250 map marker icons, with all sorts of images as well as letters and numbers which could come in handy for people who need multiple markers on the same map.
Crucially it also allows you to add text to the bubble which appears above your marker when clicked. It doesn't seem to allow users to add a custom image to that bubble which the WP Google Map premium version does for $15. Also the GEO Mashups option it appears to give some of the Pronamic plugin functionality, by aggregating all map markers on posts and pages onto one map.
Five stars from 84 ratings, 'nuff said.
Click to visit Comprehensive Google Map Plugin