Google on Tuesday announced a new online mapping course to teach users how to best leverage Google Maps, Maps Engine Lite, and Google Earth. Mapping with Google will be offered from June 10 to June 24, though as a self-paced offering, allowing you to take your time learning the ins and outs of the company’s services.

Google says all registrants will receive an invitation to preview the new Google Maps, which it unveiled at its I/O 2013 conference earlier this month. The company has been slowly letting interested users try out the new service, but it has yet to roll it out for everyone or even give a date for when it will do so.

Yet this course is clearly more than just a run-through the new version of Google Maps; it will feature a combination of video and text lessons and activities, as well as on-hand Google experts and a community of participants available to talk to via Google+ Hangouts and a course forum. In fact, Google says students will have the option to complete a project, applying the skills they learn to earn a certificate of completion.

If you’re interested, you can register now. You’ll be asked to sign in with a Google account, provide your full name, and answer three questions (only the first is mandatory):

  • What goal do you hope to achieve by signing up for this course?
  • How have you used Google Maps in the past?
  • How have you used Google Earth in the past?

You may also want to check out the system requirements before signing up. Unless you’re on a 10-year-old machine, chance are you’ll be fine.

Readers might be wondering why Google is bothering to offer such a course. Analysis can go in many directions with this one, but given that the company’s mapping products and services are already market leaders, the simplest explanation is the company just wants to keep it that way and some promotion in this vein can’t hurt.

See also – Google unveils new Google Maps for desktop with unified imagery, new interface, live 3D and more and Google previews next version of Google Maps for iOS and Android, including an iPad app coming this summer

Top Image Credit: toprankblog / Flickr