How to Cite Online Maps in APA Style
I was recently asked how to cite the directions created with Google Maps. Because Google Maps is not addressed specifically in the reference examples in the Publication Manual, it’s time to stitch together a Frankenreference.
For this example, let’s say you want to travel from Ingolstadt, Germany, to Geneva, Switzerland (as Frankenstein’s monster did in part of his journeys). And, let's assume you're driving, not walking or bicycling. Your reference for the directions would look like this:
|Google. (n.d.). [Google Maps directions for driving from Ingolstadt, Germany, to Geneva, Switzerland]. Retrieved August 4, 2015, from https://goo.gl/maps/ILt8O|
I assembled this Frankenreference from the four following pieces:
Who: The author is Google. (Google Maps is a service provided by Google, Inc. We recommend dropping “Inc.” and “Co.” from names in references. See also our post on Group Authors.)
When: Because Google Maps pages are created on the fly, they have no published date. Use “n.d.”
What: When a page has no title, we recommend creating a description, in brackets. Because the page has no title, the exact wording to use is up to you. In this example, I'll use "[Google Maps directions for driving from Ingolstadt, Germany, to Geneva, Switzerland]." Note that I included “driving” in my description. I recommend including the mode of transportation (walking, driving, biking, etc.) in the description because it does affect the URL that Google provides.
Where: Note that I’ve included the retrieval date. Although retrieval dates are not necessary for most APA Style references, we recommend them for pages that might change or be updated over time. Directions are certainly subject to change, so we recommend including the retrieval date in this case.
I’ve used Google Maps in this example, but the reference format would be similar for other online mapping sites. I hope you’ve found this helpful. Happy travels!