Anyone can create their own maps online and for free using any of the map-making tools available on the internet. All you need is a spreadsheet with your location data, i.e., addresses, landmarks, cities, etc., and you’re all set!
Map Making: A Brief History
Map making, or cartography, is both a science and an art. Some of the earliest maps were star maps, which showed different constellations and were used for navigation. The first maps of the world were developed using information from merchants, explorers, and classical geographers. Cartography further developed as more explorations of the world were completed; with the development of new surveying techniques and the invention of the telescope, magnetic compass, and sextant, the maps that were produced were also more accurate.
With advancements in printing, the availability and quality of maps also improved; they became more detailed; and accurate and a higher number of reproductions were also made possible. The 20th century saw technological innovations such as aerial photography, satellite imagery, and remote sensing, and later on computer programs for visualization, image processing, spatial analysis, and database management — all of which opened up more possibilities for mapping.
In the 21st century, greater technological advances, including GPS, OpenStreetMap, satellite and aerial imagery, and computer software, transformed cartography into an entirely separate technological innovation in itself. Modern maps now allow an immersive and interactive experience and a wide range of customizations to provide not only accurate and detailed location information, but also various other data and insights.
How Can You Make a Map Online
With free access to map data online and Google Maps’ API (mapping technology), making your own map is now easy peasy. You don’t even have to know how to write code. You only need two things:
- Location data organized in a spreadsheet
- An online map-making tool
Online map-making platforms, like ShowMyMap, allow anybody — regardless of skill level — to easily and quickly create their own maps using their own location data or curated location data they collected from the internet. This means you can create a map that only shows locations and other relevant information you choose, or a map designed for a specific purpose, such as for a sales presentation or a statistical report.
Creating Your Spreadsheet
You can use Excel, Google Sheets, or any spreadsheet program of your choice. A spreadsheet will make it easier for you to organize your data into rows and columns, to update it or make changes to it whenever necessary, and even to invite contributors to add relevant information.
ShowMyMap can create a map from spreadsheet data that only include addresses, or data that include hundreds or even tens of thousands of locations/location information.
When you create your spreadsheet, make sure to create separate columns for the different location data categories you have, i.e., separate columns for addresses, cities, zip codes, states, area codes, etc. These categories will also serve as the column headers. But even if you don’t organize your data this way, ShowMyMap’s intelligent map-making technology can sort them out for you.
Your spreadsheet will look like this:
If you only have addresses, put them in the second column; in the first column, assign a name or any type of identifier for each address.
Creating Your Map
Once you’ve finished your spreadsheet, just select all the data (including the headers) and copy and paste them into ShowMyMap’s map-making tool, as shown below:
Simply click your way through all the steps. ShowMyMap’s map-making technology is easy and intuitive. Just follow all the prompts, customize your map the way you want, and ShowMyMap will do all the heavy lifting. At the end of the whole process — which usually only takes several minutes — you’ll have an impressive, personalized map.
If you need to add new data to your map or make any type of change, you can easily do so by clicking the “Edit Map” option. If you need to add or remove something, change a category, or make a correction, update the original spreadsheet first, and then copy and paste the updated data into the appropriate box in the map editing page.
You can share your map with others by sharing your map’s URL or embedding your map into your website.
ShowMyMap has global coverage — this means you can create a map using location data from anywhere in the world. The platform also offers a wide variety of customization and editing tools that allow users to transform their spreadsheet data into an informative, insightful, and interactive map that they can use for whatever purpose they need it.
Create your free map now!