Map making is a blend of data and art. Data is the information we want to convey and art is the way in which we convey it. The right combination of both creates the perfect map.
The seven simple online mapping platforms below help users create maps quickly and easily - without technical training or mapping expertise. We will cover general specs, price, and our favorite features.
Each platform is unique in terms of features and price, so there’s definitely something for everyone.
Once, that was true. However, with the rising popularity of online map makers, anyone can create their own custom maps with just a few clicks.
Unsure which map maker to choose? Take a minute to identify the type of mapping software that's right for you.
My Maps by Google
Best for Simple Points, Shapes, & Labeling
- Android only
- Brand familiarity
- Ease of use
With a simple, clean design, My Maps mirrors the Google brand. Anyone with a Google account can use this free map creator, and the brand fidelity makes using My Maps very straightforward - even to a first-time map maker.
Create custom maps by:
- Drawing points or shapes
- Saving locations directly to the map
- Building your map from a spreadsheet
Share maps easily and collaborate with others, just as you would in other Google suite products (such as Sheets, Slides, or Docs). Integrate your map with image search or location services, and store everything on Google drive. Though simple and familiar, My Maps does have limitations. My Maps is only meant to be used online and the maps are difficult to download as images.
That said, with a simple user experience, familiar interface, and potential for creative use cases - My Maps is a great choice for casual cartographers or a first time map maker.
Best for Infographics & Presentations
- Data visualization
- Robust help documentation
- Overall value
- Free for up to five maps with limited features
- Standard: $15/month
- Business: $29/month
- Enterprise: Custom
Tapping into the concept of visual learning, Visme helps users create conceptual maps that combine graphics and numerical data.
Visme focuses on simple, clean presentation-style graphics: offering the map maker an easy way to present multiple data point in a visually appealing format. This simplicity is an upside for many, but does limit the user’s ability to fully customize their map.
Maps are a relatively new feature for this platform. That said, Visme does offer several resources to help users navigate the online map making function.
Best for Interactive Maps
- Multimedia content
- Quality map design
- Crowdsource capabilities
- Easily embed on all online platforms
- Free for up to five maps with limited features. Requires an account.
- Pro: $24-$99/month
Mapme is a custom map creator. It offers a fairly basic online service that allows individuals to create simple interactive maps.
One key feature is the ability to embed the maps on external sites. For example, a company can use Mapme to create a map showing all their office locations. Mapme will then provide a link that displays the map on the company’s own website.
Used across a wide variety of industries, Mapme works particularly well for real estate, government, and travel. For real-estate, you can quickly share property information with clients - enabling effective sales. For travel, create interactive guides and itineraries, or share post trip round-ups.
With a variety of pricing structures, Mapme allows users to choose different options and functionality depending on their needs.
Best for Large Datasets
- No account necessary
- Quickly create interactive maps from large datasets
- Basic: Free for up to five maps with limited features and ZeeMaps branding
- Pro: $19.95-$99.95/month
ZeeMaps is a no-frills, online service for creating custom maps. Though the overall designs are somewhat limited, ZeeMaps offers more technical features than most online map makers - setting them apart.
Let’s say you download a spreadsheet in xls format, listing all UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. ZeeMaps will upload this spreadsheet and create a map of all the sites within minutes.
Zeemaps also features a crowdsourcing function. For example, someone could create a map of Los Angeles and ask the ZeeMap community to help locate all the In and Out Burgers in the area. Cool, right?
These unique features make ZeeMaps one of the more powerful options on this list.
Best for Software Developers & Programmers
- API available
- Help/FAQ tools
- High-resolution imagery
- Basic: Free for up to five maps with limited features.
- Pro: $14-$90/month
Scribble Maps allows users to create a map, publish online, embed in a document, or print as a hard copy. High-resolution imagery is unique to this service and allows for high-quality prints and posters.
Scribble Maps also has an application programming interface (API), which allows software developers and computer programmers to use Scribble Maps’ tools on outside websites.
While Scribble Maps does offer more technical tools for software professionals, it’s definitely simple enough for novice map makers. There is also a good amount of help documentation that walks users through creating more technical custom maps.
This is a great service for anyone looking to wade in the shallow end of learning GIS.
OnePlace by Unearth
Best for Mixed Datasets, Field Work, & Collaboration
- Yes, iOS and Android
- Easy mapping of spreadsheets & streamlined data collection
- Maps CSV, XLS, PDFs, photos, and more
- Multi-layered: satellite imagery, geo-located media, drone surveys, and more
- Unlimited cloud storage (with offline mode)
- Free mapping of spreadsheets with 30-day trial
- After trial, $49 user / month
We're a bit biased, of course, but OnePlace is a simple, yet powerful option for anyone looking to make maps in a professional setting or take their hobby to the next level.
With straightforward forms and an intuitive user interface, anyone can make a map in just minutes - no experience required. Plus, Unearth is cloud-based, allowing anyone to collect and share data quickly. Users can start with satellite imagery and then overlay shapes, drawings, measurements, asset information, and field data.
Unearth is mobile-friendly, available on both iOS and Android, which enables users to easily capture data in the field. Simple and secure, Unearth is a great way to dip your toe into the wide world of GIS, without diving into the deep end.
Start your 30-day trial to map your spreadsheets, geo-locate your files, and see OnePlace in action.
Best for Fantasy Map Making (Games, Books, D&D)
- Extensive library of high-quality art (assets and styles)
- Easy to get started creating professional-quality maps
- Supportive user community
- Free with 10 lower resolution maps and a limited art library
- $25 annual ($5 monthly) Pro license for 1,000 high-res maps, custom assets, and full art library
With a vast library of assets, Inkarnate makes it easy to create professional looking maps of your fantasy worlds.
Realize your inner Tolkein and create maps to illustrate key locations in your novel or bring your D&D to the next level with a detailed landscape. Wherever your imagination takes you, Inkarnate has tools for authors, game masters, and anyone else looking to visualize imaginary worlds.
Create world maps, regional landscapes, the layout of a city or village, or even the interior of a single tavern. Perfect for creating battlemaps for your favorite tabletop game.
Choose from different styles - elven, dwarfish, orcish - and draw on the art library for trees, mountains, and other features. The only downside: Inkarnate currently doesn’t offer futuristic or scif assets.
Draw on Inkarnate’s active user community for inspiration and support in your map making journey.
Short Guide to Online Map Making Software
There are a million and one reasons to make a map, and hundreds of different tools available to get you started with your project.
To find the software right for you, it’s important to understand your goals and exactly what it is you’re looking to map.
Maybe you want to create a map of your upcoming trip, create an infographic for a class presentation, document a fantasy world, or support team members at work with a visualization of key data.
In each case, you’d need a different tool.
Let’s answer a few basic questions.
What do you need to map?
- Address pins, polygons, & lines
- Field data
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data
- Industry documents (e.g., blueprints)
- 3D modeling
- Fantasy imagery
Every software has different drawing or annotation tools, and may have limits to the files you can import or export.
Understanding what you need to map is crucial as you evaluate your options. With some platforms, you can even capture and geolocate data directly in-app, which may be invaluable if you plan to use the map in the field.
What’s the purpose of the map?
- Personal project
- Field work
- Asset or data management
If it’s a personal project, then you may be able to settle for a free tool with limited capabilities. With a presentation, you may simply need agile design tools to create an infographic. While work, asset, or data management will require more robust organization and collaboration tools.
Who needs to interact with the map?
- No one. It’s a static infographic or game map.
- Friends or family will add small notations privately.
- The public needs access to the information online.
- Your office or field teams need to be able to collaborate on the map.
In other words, do you need to simply export a static file? Invite multiple users to edit a single map? Or equip a field and office teams with more robust software to manage work, data, and assets?
Choosing the best simple mapmaker for you
Maps are powerful, and making them can be complex.
But custom map making shouldn't require a professional degree or certification.
Interested in learning more about the power of maps?