How to Create Awesome Interactive Maps with ZeeMaps

By Laura Christianson

People often ask me if Blogging Bistro works with clients all over the U.S. Thanks to the Internet, we do! We have clients in Canada, as well.

I created this map of some of our recent clients at ZeeMaps.com. It took me about 10 minutes.

I’ve been searching for an easy way to create a custom interactive client map for some time, and the other services I’ve tried either cost a fortune or they don’t include the features I want.

ZeeMaps, on the other hand, performs exceptionally well. For free! I didn’t even need to register for an account. The interface is intuitive; it’s a no-brainer to use.

ZeeMaps: The Price Is Right

ZeeMaps is a “freemium” service, which means that basic maps are free, but certain features cost extra. For example, to save your map as a PDF or PNG costs from 95 cents to $9.95. To remove advertising from one map costs $49.95.

For more pricing options, visit http://www.zeemaps.com/pricing

However, this service gives you an impressive arsenal of free features. You can:

  • Add pins to your map individually, or in bulk by uploading a spreadsheet.
  • Create detailed markers that include weblinks.
  • Add searchable custom fields for map entries.
  • “Bulk Edit” your map to make changes to multiple entries, regions or annotations.
  • Change the color of markers (I put Blogging Bistro clients in red and our team members in purple on my map).
  • Customize marker icons with your own photos, audio, or YouTube videos.

How to Get Started

Creating a ZeeMap couldn’t be easier. Go to https://www.zeemaps.com.

Click “Create a Free Map.”

Give your map a title and a description (you can ignore the other form fields and fill them in later if you want).

Click the “Additions” tab and select either “Add Marker-Simple,” “Add Marker-Detailed,” or “Add (Upload) Multiple Markers.” With the free version, you can upload up to 100 markers from a spreadsheet. Accepted formats for spreadsheet uploads include .csv, .xls, .xlsx.

Additions

For the Blogging Bistro client map, I selected “Add Marker-Simple.” Because I wanted to keep the names of my clients confidential, I pasted in only their city, state, and ZIP and noted what type of client they are (business owner, author, non-profit).

I also added the city and state of current Blogging Bistro team members and colored their markers purple.

Share Your Map

When I finished adding markers to my map, I hovered over the “Print or Share” tab and selected “Share Link URL,” which generated a hyperlink I could embed in this post or share on my social networks.

I clicked the “Social” button, which added the following “teaser” to my link:

I also clicked “Shorten,” which generated a Bit.ly short link to my map (http://bit.ly/1sfoSPy)

Note that ZeeMaps also generates and editable version of your map, if you wish to embed that link instead.

Embed Your Map on Your Website or Blog

Next, I returned to “Print or Share” and selected “Publish in Website.” There are all sorts of options you can click and unclick. Once you’ve decided which options to include, copy the iframe code.

At your website or blog, click on the HTML editor (called “Text” in WordPress) and paste in the code.

If you want to customize further, click the “Links” tab in the “Publish your map” area and select the appropriate snippet of HTML to paste to your site.

If you wish to save your map as a PDF or PNG, you will need to pay for that. The cost for a 72 DPI (screen resolution) map with a perimeter of less than 25 inches is only 95 cents. A 150 DPI poster costs $4.95, and a 300 DPI print costs $9.95.

After you customize the settings for your PDF or PNG, you can display a free preview before ordering, which I highly recommend doing.

Creative Ways to Use ZeeMaps

You can map all kinds of things with ZeeMaps. Some of the examples people have created include:

  • Dining guide to a neighborhood in your city, with short reviews on the map
  • Playground locator
  • Location of participants or volunteers in a study, conference, or event
  • Network of churches and congregations in a specific area
  • Urban panoramas that photographers have made of cities around the world
  • Beekeepers in Central Texas
  • Family ancestry
  • Practitioners of a particular therapy
  • User-generated maps to news and magazine stories

My Rating

I give ZeeMaps five stars for its ease of use, intuitive interface and plethora of free features. You can even edit your map and add new entries after publishing it on your site, and it will update automatically. I like this service so much that I’d be willing to pay to access its advanced features. I’m a penny-pincher, so that’s high praise!

Discussion Question

What would YOU map on ZeeMaps? Please share your idea. And if you create a map, please share the link to your map.

Tweet It!

Here’s are three ready-made tweets so you can share what you just learned:

  • How to create free interactive maps with ZeeMaps [Click to tweet]
  • I’ve always wanted to create an interactive map. Now I know how, thanks to this tutorial from @bloggingbistro [Click to tweet]
  • Just learned about a great free service for creating interactive maps [Click to tweet]