How Google Maps Helps You Write Story Settings | Writer’s Relief

Aug 2, 2023 | Fun Ideas For Writers, Other Helpful Information, Writing Tips

How Google Maps Helps You Write Story Settings | Writer’s Relief

The setting you choose can be an important element in your short story or novel. Something as simple as going out for groceries will be vastly different depending on whether your character is trekking across an icy tundra or slipping on sandals at a beach house. Local details can breathe life into your writing, but if your story’s setting is somewhere you’ve never actually been, it may be difficult to accurately describe the scenery. Is the neighborhood architecture cozy and welcoming, or stark and minimalist? Are there nearby palm trees or evergreens? At Writer’s Relief, we know a unique trick that can help you write more authentic story settings: Google Maps Street View.

With Google Maps Street View, you can get a 360-degree view of your location as you navigate up and down the streets and discover local landmarks. Here’s how you can use Google Maps Street View to fill your setting with realistic details.

How To Use Google Maps Street View To Write The Setting For Your Story

Let’s say you want to write a story set in Iceland. Start by typing “Iceland” in the Google search bar. Once there, click on the “maps” tab.


Next, zoom into the country so you can see the cities. Use the plus sign button in the bottom right corner.


Now it’s time to choose the area you want to focus on. For this example, we’ll use the city of Reykholt.


Next, begin a separate Google search in the search bar and look up shops in Reykholt, Iceland. Scroll down to where the shops are listed, select one, and click on “directions.”

On this screen you’ll click on the little yellow person in the bottom right corner, then drag and drop the figure on the red location pin.


Now you’re at the street view! Take a look around by clicking on the screen and dragging to the left or right to rotate the image for a 360-degree view. You can also move forward and backward along the street using the navigation arrows you see.


A character driving on this street in Reykholt, Iceland, will see sparse, modern buildings, rolling green hills, and a gray sky. Move the little yellow figure to different locations on the map to learn if there’s a Domino’s nearby to satisfy Icelandic pizza cravings (there is!).

Using Google Maps Street View can also help you develop your characters. Maybe your protagonist works at the bakery shop you discover on the corner, or your main suspect drives the type of luxury car you see parked across the street. Exploring the area where your story takes place will help you include vivid, genuine details for your readers.

When you’ve finished writing your story or novel, be sure to click on to get a good view of how we can help boost your odds of getting published! Our research experts will pinpoint the best markets for your submissions. Learn more about our services, and submit your writing to our Review Board today!


Question: Which setting location will you explore on Google Maps Street View?