Custom HTML Markers with Google Maps - Websites, Mobile and eCommerce – Humaan

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Custom HTML Markers with Google Maps - Websites, Mobile and eCommerce – Humaan

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2018-11-20 : 11:05


Given the wealth of knowledge available on the Google Maps Javascript API it came as a surprise in our experience at Humaan that it was difficult to find information regarding one very important feature – Custom HTML Map Markers. I am sure the limited resources presently available for this feature would be plaguing plenty of designers and developers.

To provide some context as to what a custom HTML map marker is we should start with the basics. A typical Google Map Marker is generally represented by a pin.

The API allows this marker to be customized in a variety of ways. It can be scaled, rotated, dragged and even replaced with custom images.

This is very handy in most use cases but what happens when you would like your marker to perform more complex actions? Animations and complex marker content will generally require custom HTML DOM elements. This allows them to be easily accessible and readily manipulated by Javascript or CSS.

Unfortunately, the Google Map Javascript API’s marker object is limited in this regard. There is no ‘easy’ way to create custom HTML map markers using the standard Marker object.

Therefore the solution is to not use a Marker object. Instead, we use a custom Overlay object.

An Overlay, as described by the documentation, is an object on the map that is tied to latitude and longitude coordinates. Overlays are most commonly used for adding a custom image on top of the map.

The really useful aspect of Overlays is that their Javascript prototype object can be easily extended to create a custom HTML map marker.

The following is based on a well-hidden Google Maps demo.

To provide this functionality we have created a simple Custom Marker object that can be used to insert custom HTML in place of an overlay. A demo including this class is accessible here.


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