In search of the elusive Google default marker

For a number of years now I have been developing a Google Maps plugin for WordPress <end of plug>, I have even created a script to dynamically generate coloured markers with custom text. This is a great solution for hosting your own markers, but is has a lot of overhead, having to host a custom Arial font and requiring the PHP GD library installed. And even then, I still relied on Google to provide the starting coloured marker .

Google does provide an alternative, custom text and colour, but there is one problem, what if I want the classic default Google Map’s marker default marker, the one with the large black dot. Well it isn’t there. And that is where my script, dare I say, exceeded Google.

The trick was adding the large black dot to the font. You know that ugly square box you sometimes see when you don’t have the correct fonts installed square box marker, I simply replaced this with the large black dot. Any character codes that aren’t available will simply return the default style marker default marker with my script.

So that’s my implementation, but how do I migrate from my script to Google’s while keeping the default style marker. I had to find an equivalent. All the obvious choices (bullet U+2022, bullet operator U+2219 and black circle U+25CF) didn’t work.

I started sifting through thousands of markers, looking for the closest representation to the default marker. What I found was kangxi radical one U+2F00, now don’t ask me why, but for some reason this produced a black dot style marker close enough default marker, though smaller than the default. This would have to do.

collection of markers

5000+ markers in a 1mb+ png file
5000+ markers in a html page (file name is the unicode)

Note: all above inline marker examples are hosted on Google or generated with my script (view the image name to find out more).