Drawing a range circle on a Google map

A Google map pin

You can’t do this directly in Google Maps

Drawing a range circle on a Google map - 5 concentric circles around Clapham, London SW4
1-5 miles around Clapham. Map data: Google

You would expect to be able to draw a circle around a point in a Google map, but you can’t. Every now and then, you might want to draw a circle of a specific radius from a given point. You can mark the distance between two points on Google Maps, so you’d think it would be possible to draw a circle of a given radius around a point. Frustratingly, there is no such option.

However, I’ve found a website that lets you do this, and it’s quite easy. Here’s what to do:

Go to https://www.mapdevelopers.com/draw-circle-tool.php

Drawing a range circle on a Google map - 100 miles around London
Map data: Google


How to draw a range circle on a Google map

I probably don’t need to explain any more as it’s quite straightforward, but that would make for a very short blog post, so here’s some detail:

  • Begin by entering the address. I have found that this can be a UK street address, including postcode.
  • Enter the radius required from that point, noting that you can change the scale from miles to km, feet, or metres.
  • If you want the area inside the circle to be filled in with a colour, then click the box next to “Circle” and define your colour. Likewise for the border colour. If you just want to draw the circle with no colouring, then place a tick against “Only Show Border”.
  • Click on “New Circle”.
Drawing a range circle on a Google map - 100 miles around Charing Cross
100 miles around Charing Cross. Map data: Google

You can click on “+” or “-” to zoom in or out (as long as your cursor is on the map itself). Alternatively, click on the “+” or “-” signs on the map itself.

To get a different perspective on your circle, click on the box at the top right of the map area to see a map full-screen. Click on the icon at the top right of the full-screen map to return to the web page.

Saving your Google map with range circle(s)

I haven’t found any way of saving maps with circles in the map software itself. You could use the Windows Snipping Tool. I would use Faststone Capture.

To delete a circle, click within it (you will then see four small circles around the circumference of the circle), and click on the “Remove Circle” button. I kept hitting the “delete” key, but it doesn’t happen, so don’t bother.

Note that you can have several range circles at the same time (eg concentric circles one, two, and three miles from a specific point).

If you are a bit of a map geek and haven’t already discovered this website, then you might wish to idle away some time by clicking on the “Map Tools” option in the top menu.

By the way, the significance of using “100 miles around Charing Cross” as an example is that I thought that this was the “official” point from which measurements of distance from London are measured. Others seem to have different opinions.

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