How do I Change the Default View in Google Maps?

By Theon Weber

Google Maps allows you to view nearly anywhere on the planet at many different levels of magnification and detail. It's highly customizable, containing overlays for basic map labels, as well as ones showing traffic information, bicycle routes, Wikipedia links, live webcams and more. You can use Maps immediately by going to the Google Maps website, but if you have a free Google account, you can ensure that your map settings are saved between sessions. Once you're signed into your Google account, you can choose what view mode you'd like Maps to default to, as well as choose a particular location, anywhere in the world, for Maps to center on when you open it.

Go to the Google Maps website at and click the "Sign In" link at the top right of the page. (If a name appears instead, you're already signed in.) Enter your Google account user name and password, or click "Create an account now" and follow the on-screen instructions to create a free Google Account.

Use the button and menu on the top right of the Map screen to set your Google Maps view. Clicking the "Satellite/Map" button will switch between satellite photographs of the globe and traditional maps; clicking the drop-down menu below it will allow you to activate and deactivate map overlays. By activating particular overlays, you can view traffic information, public transportation lines, bicycle routes, selected Wikipedia articles and photographs concerning the area you're looking at. Your choice between Satellite and Map views will be saved to your Google Account, but overlays will have to be reactivated each time you go to the Maps site.

Click "Set default location" and enter a country, state, city, geographical feature, or address. Click "Save." From now on, Google Maps will focus on this location as soon as you open it.

Close the Google Maps browser window. Your Maps settings are saved automatically under your Google Account name; when you visit the Maps site next, your settings will still be in effect.