New powerful ways to draw and select features on the map tools!

Now you can use the Drawing Tools button to select map features on any map tool! You can select the map features using any points, lines or shapes that you draw, or select map features by specifying a radius around any shape you draw. The map features that get selected depend on which tool you are using: counties, city limits, civil townships, ZIP Codes, Section Township Range, historical U.S. counties, time zones, area codes or the custom map tools.

Here’s how it works:

Using the County Lines map tool as an example, click the Drawing Tools button on the left side of the map

Then choose which shape you would like to draw: point, line, polygon, or square

Draw a shape on the map (in the case of the line or polygon tools, double-click when you are done drawing). When you are done, the map features you touched with your shape will be listed below the map, and you can use the Copy button to copy the listing into your own spreadsheet or document. In this example, I drew a line from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and get a listing all of the counties I passed through:

What about radius selection?

Now let’s get even more powerful using the radius option of Drawing Tools!

For this example, let’s use the City Limits tool. Click the Drawing Tools button, type 30 into the Select map features within box, click the point shape button and click a point in downtown Indianapolis. You’ll get all the cities that are within 30 miles of that point highlighted on the map and listed below the map!

In addition to using the point shape to create a radius circle around a point, the radius tool also works with lines, polygons and squares you draw as well. So let’s say I want to see all of the townships that are within 10 miles of I-91 between Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut. Set the radius to 10, choose the line shape and click along the highway, double-clicking when you’re done. You get this:

Use the drawing selection tools to help build your custom map

If you’re using the custom map tools on this site, you can use these drawing tools (including the radius option) to get the list of ZIP Codes or Counties you need to build your Google Sheet! Just use the purple button you see in the mapBuilder below the map to go into this drawing selection mode.

The list of ZIP Codes you select will appear below the map in Google Sheets-friendly format, ready to be Copy / Pasted:

I’m sure you see the versatility in how you can use these new drawing tools to select map features to your heart’s content. Feel free to share the ways you’ve made use of the tools in the comments box below.

Happy mapping!

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