Some of the Best Online Mapping Tools Out There

Creating your own online maps used to be a very technical process. It required skills and knowledge in areas such as website coding and in-depth graphic design. However, thanks to a vast array of online tools it’s no longer such a chore. In fact, creating online maps can be an easy and enjoyable process, thanks to these online mapping tools.

Maps can be an excellent resource for many online spaces. There are numerous reasons why a company or brand might want to use a map on their website, just ask anyone in the tourism, healthcare, and e-commerce industries! They’ll all tell you the same thing —  online spaces can benefit hugely from access to real-time data and online visual aids such as maps.

While it’s true that the tools exist to make the process of creating an online map an easy one, it still takes a great amount of creativity, research, and optimization. Thankfully, many of the tools available also include a large number of features that can help with these aspects of online map creation.

However, the choice of which tool to use can be difficult to make when there are so many choices. To help with this decision, we put together a list of the best 21 online mapping tools available for you to use.

21 of the Best Online Mapping Tools

1)   MapSVG

This feature-rich WordPress mapping plugin is designed to enable users to create dynamic and responsive maps for their WordPress sites. One of the best selling points of this plug-in is the ability it gives the user to convert SVG files directly into an interactive map. It also has the more usual features and a huge range of customization options such as interface graphics, Google Maps, choropleth maps, image maps, floorplans, and much more.

The big draw of MapSVG is its vast array of features that allow users to create interactive maps easily and quickly. Interactive maps are a common request for many online projects. If the website is based on WordPress already, then this is the plugin to choose.

It provides almost 200 geo-calibrated and uncalibrated vector maps for a huge range of countries and areas. This variety is hard to find in any other online mapping tool. It will also provide support for map directories, search options, filters, custom fields, choropleth maps, and much more.

Some of the best features on MapSVG include:

  •  The ability to import JPEG/PNG images and edit them
  •  Filtering options such as by distance or location
  •  Interactive map markers
  •  Choropleth maps

2)   Google Maps API

With undoubtedly the best location data on the web, this mapping tool makes use of some of the most accurate data available. Google Maps API includes a huge range of APIs for various mapping purposes.

Google Maps already powers more location-based services on the internet than many realize. This is partly thanks to the sheer number of APIs available. For example:

  • Google Maps JavaScript API
  •  Google Static Maps API
  •  Google Maps embed API
  •  Google Maps Android API v2
  •  Google Maps SDK for iOS

3)   Mapbox

This fantastic geo-visualization platform offers many helpful tools to create engaging web and mobile interactive maps. It gives the user full control and great customization options. It also has a number of advanced features such as integrated satellite imagery, directions, and geocoding.

Mapbox allows users to utilize Vector Maps which enables real-time data to be used directly in the online map. In addition to this, it also offers a great Smart Directions API, which allows for live directions to be integrated directly into your map. This means that your map can automatically generate directions for anyone who needs them. This is a great benefit for those setting up delivery services online.

4)   OpenLayers

Originally developed by MetaCarter as an open-source equivalent to Google Maps, OpenLayers has been available since June 2006.

It uses a great JavaScript API to build great dynamic online maps in a similar way to the Google Maps API. The fast-paced development process of this tool, coupled with its open-source nature, means that there is a vast array of features making it suitable for the needs of almost anyone looking to build an online map.

5)   Zeemaps

Here is another great mapping software that has a huge amount of flexibility and customization. Zeemaps takes the data that the user inputs and creates a great map. It then turns over the customization to the user allowing them to change everything from icons, color, regions, multimedia, custom fields, and much more. The best part is that it allows all of this without the user needing any prior web design knowledge.

The design is based on a three-tiered access system. These are viewer, member, and admin. This makes it a great choice for the presentation of group data analysis projects.

Zeemaps also has some great unique features such as spreadsheets importing. The software takes the raw spreadsheet and renders the data as part of the base layer of the interactive map. This is a feature that is often a difficult and fiddly process in many other map creation tools. However, Zeemaps makes it an easy process that anyone can pick up.

6)   CARTO

Formerly known as CartoDB, this mapping software is one of the best out there for creating custom maps. The genius of CARTO is that it brings all these professional and complex tools into software that is easy to pick up for those without much web design experience. Carto even utilizes drag-and-drop tools.

Users can import data directly into the software in a huge array of formats such as CSV, KML, and Excel tables. It also uses data from much more common sources such as Google and OpenStreetMap. With this range of data, this tool allows the user to create great dynamic interactive online maps.

7)   Animaps

This brilliant map creation tool allows users to create informative maps in the style of animated videos. It utilizes the “My Maps” feature of Google Maps in a way that makes the map creation process easy for anyone. Once the map is created, it has options to easily insert markers, paths, and points of interest. The customization options in this tool make it a huge asset.

8)   ArcGIS Online

This popular and reliable mapping software enables the development of dynamic and fully interactive online maps. As a cloud-based system, it makes the job of map creation a fluid and creative process.

9)   My Maps

This offshoot of Google Maps is a great tool to help create easy and dynamic maps either on a computer or an Android device. This tool is free to use for anyone with a Google account and makes use of the brand’s vast resources and simple, clean design.

Its integration with Google allows for easy collaboration and map sharing. There are some trade-offs to direct Google integration, however. The maps that are created in My Maps are designed to only be used online and do not download as easily as image files.

10)   QGIS 3

This brilliant and unique map design software is open source and has all the benefits that come with it. Now on their third version, QGIS 3 allows the user to dynamically and simply create maps in 3D.

11)   MultiPlottr

This handy software allows the user to easily plot pushpins for PowerPoint visuals. Simply copy and paste your addresses, click “plot”, and you’re done! This fast and brilliantly designed software allows the user to create maps which will either be hugely detailed, or quick and specific.

12)   Click2Map

Click2Map is fantastic map design software that delivers advanced online mapping tools with an easy-to-use interface. Add your own custom images, markers, icons, text, and videos. Create your own custom data fields as well and import your own address databases. This allows for auto-repositioning of markers in realtime based on a vast library of icons.

13)   Snazzy Maps

This online map solution is not technically a map builder. However, it uses Google Maps API to make any map on your site look great and work perfectly. It includes several design templates, which is important for any web designer that wants to create a professional-looking map.

If you want to use Snazzy Maps but you also want to use a more advanced mapping tool, you can try MapSVG. MapSVG already has a Snazzy Maps integration that you can use.

14)   GRASS GIS

Standing for Geographic Resources Analysis Support System, GRASS GIS was originally developed by the US Army Corps of engineers to help with land management and environmental planning. Since its beginning, it has evolved and developed into free GISsoftware.

It includes over 350 vector manipulation tools. This software is mainly an option for analysis and image processing of digital terrain.

15)   Mapme

This custom map creator offers all the basic tools you need to create your own interactive maps. One of its key features is its ability to embed the maps that you create onto external websites as well as your own. Mapme is particularly designed for industries such as real estate, travel, and government. This is because you can quickly share information and locations with potential clients and users, without any additional coding or designing.

16)   D3.js library

This brilliant JavaScript library provides a powerful data visualization tool. This allows the user to create interactive and dynamic data visualizations for any web platform.

17)   Tableau Public

Out of all 21 options listed here, this is perhaps the most challenging piece of software to learn for a beginner. However, the rewards behind learning the software are great, as it boasts the most flexibility of any similar tool.

Once the map is created all that is required is for the correct address and geographical information to be plugged in, and users can quickly customize their maps to correlate with this relevant information. For example, create shaded zone maps, flow maps, or dot plots.

18)   MapTiler

This mapping tool includes some fascinating features. One of these is its ability to process images and convert them into custom maps that can be embedded on any online platform. It offers a host of useful features such as geo-referencing, inbuilt support for multiple map layers, offline customization of maps, full platform integration, and much more.

19)   Leaflet Javascript library

This software is great for creating mobile-friendly custom maps. While it doesn’t have the most features out of any of the options on this list, it does offer the basics that are often enough for most users.

However, Leaflet has the potential to be expanded upon by the user with a vast array of plugins that are easy to add on top of the basic functionality. Leaflet is also one of the only options here that was designed entirely with mobile support at the forefront of its design philosophy.

This is a mapping tool that is easy to pick up for any user and has a simple source code that is widely available and opensource. Due to this, it offers potential through a huge array of features without the complexity of some of the other options on this list.

20)    Scribble Maps

Scribble Maps is a great piece of software that will allow anyone to easily create interactive maps for their online presence. Users can embed maps in a document or print them off.

While Scribble Maps can be augmented with more tools for more technically proficient users, it is primarily designed as a basic map creation interface that can be used even by beginners in web design.

21)    mapGIS

This fantastic map creation tool is a great option for those looking to make static maps, such as satellite, street, or hybrid maps. This software provides the user with map-drawing tools that enable them to mark and label all the information that will be necessary on a map. It is also set up to allow embedding on multiple sites on a variety of platforms.

Which Online Mapping Tool Will You Choose?

Location-based services are becoming more and more important in the modern marketplace. This is increasingly true for the digital domain of businesses. Services that were once entirely real-world based are now moving online.

This will only become truer as time goes on, especially in a post-pandemic world. Because of this, it will become increasingly important for online businesses and brands to create their own interactive maps.

These types of mapping tools are gradually being used by more businesses and organizations for multiple reasons. These reasons extend beyond doing business in the traditional sense and now incorporate such activities as locating business partners and identifying networks of similar retailers in specific geographical areas.

Not to mention those businesses who increasingly find new customer bases online thanks to the increasing reach that this type of platform offers. These are just more reasons why even the smallest of businesses should become familiar with the techniques behind online map creation.

As we’ve seen in this list of the best online mapping tools there is a huge range of choices for those looking to create their own dynamic interactive maps for their online platforms. While it may seem daunting to select which one to use, you should first consider exactly what you need from your online map.

Each of these options offers something slightly different as well as basic tools. When you consider exactly what you need, we have no doubt that you will find the map creation tool that’s best for you. We hope this comprehensive list will help make that decision easier!

If you liked this article about online mapping tools, you should also check out this article about free mapping software.

We also wrote about a few related subjects like indoor mapping, Mapbox vs Google Maps, Mapbox alternatives, WordPress store locator plugins, OpenLayers vs Leaflet, and Mapbox vs Leaflet.

A bit obvious by now, but we really like maps so we wrote even more about subjects like the blank map of Italy, Africa, Australia, and a few others, about websites with maps using interactive maps, and SVG animation examples.

Cool, interesting, and maybe funny maps of our world

Infographic maps of the world are endlessly engaging. Mainly, their popularity comes from how easily they present information using graphics and creative imagery. The rise of funny maps is a testament to this.

Want to find out the most popular last names in Europe? Or the most beloved booze across the continent? Maybe you want to know where all the billionaires live? Or which countries are the happiest and which are the most corrupt?

We’ve made a list of the 140 most interesting, coolest, funniest maps of the world, to help answer all those burning questions that you never knew needed answering!

140 Unique and Maybe Funny Maps of the World

1) Countries Not Using the Metric System

The first of these somehow funny maps is mainly about the US.

Did you know there are only 2 countries other than the US that do not use the metric system? Do you know what they are?

Burma and Liberia are 2 of only 3 countries in the entire world that do not use the metric system. See the details of each on this fascinating map!

2) The Most Famous Brand From Each State In The US

This brilliant and unique map will show you exactly what state popular American businesses came from.

3) The World According to Ancient Greeks

Greeks gave us so much, from scientific practice to theatre. But this map shows all the national stereotypes that the Greeks invented too!

4) Countries Britain Has Invaded

Britain – once the superpower of the world – has a long history of colonialism. This map shows how nearly 90% of the world has been invaded by Britain at some point in history.

5) Red Hair Map of Europe

One of the cool maps from this article shows the distribution of redheads throughout Europe on this great map.

6) Meth Labs per State

The US has some of the highest usages of crystal meth in the world. See the concentration of meth labs throughout the country with this map.

7) How Europeans See Themselves

This interesting map shows how Europeans view themselves. The Dutch? Stoned. The Greeks? Poor.

8) Europe’s Most Popular Last Names

There are some fascinating stories behind where the most popular surnames in Europe originated. The English name ‘Smith’, for instance, came from the Old English word for ‘one who works in metal’. The Austrian name ‘Gruber’ means ‘miner’.

9) Most Popular Sports in the World

This is one of the interesting maps that might change how you view the world. See which sport is most favored in different areas of the globe. And no, Americans, baseball and American football aren’t that popular outside the US.

10) Favorite TV Shows

In this map, each state is labeled with whichever TV show is the most popular. Great for fans of the small screen!

11) Breast Sizes Relating to Countries

See who has the largest breasts around the world.

12) Dogs vs Cats

Opinion is divided over which animal truly makes the greatest pet. See which one is the most popular by individual state in this map.

13) Alcohol Consumption Around the World

According to this map, the heaviest drinkers are the Irish, Russians, French, and Germans. Surprised? Maybe not. But there are some major surprises in this fascinating map.

For example – Belarus is actually the highest consumer of all, with an average of 17.5 liters of alcohol drank per person every year.

14) Political World Map as Pangea 200-300 Million Years Ago

The Earth has not always looked as it looks now. It was once a huge, single landmass. This unique map displays an overlay of the current political world over a map of the ancient Earth, to see where we would fit in the world of millennia gone by!

15) USA According To Europeans

This might be one of the funny maps we have in this article… according to Europeans. The stereotypes of the US as seen by Europeans – makes for an entertaining read.

16) Drink of Choice Around the World

According to this, Americans and Australians love beer, while Asia, Russia, and the Caribbean love spirits. Who knew?

17) Highest Earning Export Per Country

Businesspeople will find this map especially interesting. Track which exports are the highest earning by country in this handy map.

18) Who Spends the Most on Booze

You might be surprised by the answer to this – but then again maybe not (Ireland).

19) Countries With Red Color on Their Flag

You’ll be amazed at just how many countries use red in their official flag designs.

20) Countries With Blue Color on Their Flags

This map is similar to the previous, but with blue instead of red. Just as amazing!

21) Rivers Flowing Into the Mississippi River

Everyone knows the Mississippi River is mighty, but this map shows clearly just how powerful and huge it really is. Track all the rivers that feed it in this unique graphic map.

22) The Penis Size Worldwide

Need we say more?

23) Coffee Consumption Around the World

Coffee is one of the most popular tradeable goods in the world. They say machines run on oil, and people run on coffee. See here just how true that really is.

24) Historic and Present Distribution of Lions

Lions once ruled over Africa. See in this map where they were most prevalent through history, and how their population densities have changed over time.

25) Predominant U.S. Ancestry

It’s surprising where the majority of US citizens can trace their ancestry back to. Who would have guessed there were so many descendants of Germans?

26) Beer Names in Different European Languages

Let’s get back to funny maps. Europe loves beer, so it’s no surprise that the Europeans have so many different names for it.

27) How Many Hours Americans Need to Work to Pay Their Mortgage

This is one of the interesting maps in the article that makes you put things into perspective. This useful map shows how long Americans need to work in order to pay off their mortgage. It displays the information by state and takes the averages of each of these into account.

28) Freedom of Press

A free press is vital to a free society. See where in the world the press is most free – and where a journalist can be jailed for reporting the truth.

29) The Highest-Paid Job in Every State

See if you’re in the right career for you and your dreams of wealth on this map!

30) Most Consumed Alcoholic Beverage by Country

Beer seems to be the most common, except in strict religious countries where alcohol is restricted.

31) The World’s Billionaires

Billionaires have seemingly unlimited resources – for that reason they’re able to keep to themselves. There are more than most realize – 585 in the US alone! See where they mostly congregate on this map.

32) A World Map that Inverts Land and Sea

See the world in a different way with this creative map.

33) Longest Waterway

The longest waterway is 20,000 miles long. See it here!

34) Where Tourists Spend the Most Money

This map can be handy in helping you find a destination that is a little off-the-beaten-track. Typical destinations like France or Spain spend tens of billions on tourism, whereas somewhere like Cyprus spends a lot less. This is a good indication of where might be less busy.

35) Worldwide Driving Orientation

See visually which side of the road drivers use in different parts of the world.

36) The Best (and Worst) Places for Millennials to Make a Living

Millennials are the first generation in decades to earn less than the generation before them. See here which areas pay the most to help fight that trend!

37) Prevalence of Obesity

Obesity is an ongoing health crisis in many countries around the world. See which are the most afflicted with this interesting map.

38) Least and Most Peaceful Countries in the World

Some areas of the world are more war-torn than others. See which is which here.

39) Map Of Most Attractive Citizens in Europe

Europe is known for its beautiful people. See where they all are here!

40) Biggest Companies per Country

See which company dominates in each country with this fascinating map.

41) Hazardous Wastes by Country

It seems as though Russia struggles the most with toxic waste. Use this map to see which areas of the world also have this problem.

42) United States According to Autocomplete

And back again to one of the funny maps. Google autocomplete is the source of many funny anecdotes. See what is most commonly searched by location on this map!

43) Most Popular Messaging App in Every Country

Everyone has their own personal favorite messaging app. See which are the most commonly used here!

44) Total Fertility Rate Map

See the fertility rate of different areas.

45) Civilian Gun Ownership

Who’s packing the highest number of weapons? It’s no surprise it’s the US! Americans own nearly half of all civilian-owned guns in the world. See what the figures are in different parts of the globe.

46) Map of the World in Proportion to Population

See the world differently here with the map that translates population density into geographical data.

47) The Most Energy Used in the U.S.

Cities use the most energy, but see how that looks across the world.

48) Different Alphabets Around the World

Every culture has its own version of the alphabet. See how they compare with this interesting map.

49) The Wealthiest Nations

Japan, Iceland, and Australia are all prospering from various specific industries. See how the world compares.

50) World’s Population Concentrated in One City

This is a unique look at the world’s population and how it would look in one city. It really puts things into perspective!

51) World Religions

More than 2.2 billion people worldwide describe themselves as Christians. Islam has around 1.8 billion followers. See a more detailed look on this fascinating map.

52) Map of the Most Popular Surnames in the United States

You’ll be surprised which surnames crop up the most in the US!

53) The Most Corrupt Nations

It may give a fairly bleak outlook of the world, but according to this map more than two-thirds of countries around the world score below 50 on the scale of 0 – 100 in terms of how corrupt they are. Denmark is winning, apparently being viewed as the least corrupt!

54) Lightning Intensity Map

See which parts of the world are struck by lightning the most. This map gives you a fascinating look at lightning patterns across the globe.

55) IQs in Europe

The European Union is home to the highest amount of smart people in the world. At the top of the list is Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

56) Map of the Earth With Mercator Projection Using a Different Centerpoint

This shows the Earth in a very different way to what we’re used to! Well worth a look.

57) Europe’s Most Populous Cities

For most countries, their most populous cities are their capital. But this is not true for three. For example, in Turkey, the most populous city is not the capital Ankara, but Istanbul.

58) Time Zones in Antarctica

Antarctica is massive – so massive that it spans multiple time zones! See more on this brilliant map.

59) U.S. Confederate States

See how the country looked in 1861 before the Civil War. It looks like a very different place to how it looks these days.

60) If US Cities Had Kept Their Original Names

You might be surprised to learn what these well-known US cities used to be called!

61) U.S. Gender Pay Gap

In some states, women make just 70% of what men make! Even the better states are still falling short.

62) The Most Photographed Places In The World

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Europe is one of the most photographed places in the world!

63) Federal Aid Granted to U.S. States

All sorts of disasters can lead to a state receiving federal aid. See which ones receive it most here!

64) U.S. Nuclear Reactors

There are 98 nuclear reactors powering millions of homes across the states! According to this map, the east coast is a particular hotspot.

65) How Many Beers Will Minimum Wage Get You In Europe?

See how far your money goes across Europe!

66) The World’s Happiest People

You may be surprised (or not!) to see which places are the happiest in the world. Scandinavia, Australia, and Canada take the prize!

67) More People Live Inside This Circle Than Outside Of It

You will most likely never complain about overcrowding again after seeing this.

68) U.S. Minimum Wage

See which states raised their minimum wage in 2019. In some areas, the wage was raised to $15.69 per hour!

69) Metal Bands Per 100,000 People

Metalheads of the world unite!

70) The Best Cities for Working Mothers in the U.S.

This comprehensive map factors in a huge range of data points, such as benefits, neighborhood safety, school rankings, medical care, and more. See which areas of the US are best for working mothers!

71) Google Autocomplete Results: Europe

See what Europeans love to search for!

72) Cartoon Map of Europe, 1914

See how Germany in 1914 may have seen the threats surrounding them with this cartoonish map!

73) Google Autocomplete Results: USA

This time, see what Americans love to search for! The similarities with Europe may shock you…

74) The U.S. Opioid Crisis

This crisis is rapidly growing in the US. See how this epidemic is spread across the nation in this harrowing map.

75) Google Autocomplete Results: Asia

See what those in Asia love to search for, and how it compares to the rest of the world!

76) The World’s Lactose Intolerance

We really feel for those that cannot enjoy the wonders of cheese.

77) Countries Ranked By Emotional Tendencies

See who has the hottest heads or the coolest tempers in the world!

78) 2016 Presidential Election Votes

See how the share of votes was spread across the country during the most contentious election of recent years. Red is Trump, while blue is Clinton.

79) People In The EU, Aged 25-34, Who Still Live With Their Parents

For many of this age, living with their parents is still the only financial option.

80) Worldwide Tipping

Tipping amounts can vary by location for numerous reasons. Some countries pay higher wages, making tipping less common.

81) Where To Be Born Index

See where the best place to be born in the world is!

82) U.S. Refugees

See how many refugees are admitted into the US. The conflict in Syria has devastated the country, leading many to try and find a better life elsewhere. The UN estimates that around 13.5 million Syrians became refugees in 2017 alone.

83) The World Divided Into Regions With A GDP of 1 Trillion Dollars

See all mthe rich countries in one place!

84) World Map, 1595

The world was so different back then that it may as well have been an alien planet! This mapdates back to 1595 when King Philip II of Spain ruled over a huge part of the world.

The quote at the bottom translates to, “For what human affairs can seem important to a man who keeps all eternity before his eyes and knows the vastness of the universe?”

85) 2% of Australia’s Population Lives In This Region

Huge areas of this vast country are uninhabitable. See where people live with this map!

86) World Map, 1700

The world was vastly different then. The Mughal Empire was in full bloom, and the Qing empire was at its height. See more on this map!

87) Highest-Paid U.S. Public Employees By State

This great map shows who earns the most in the public sector. Apparently, football coaches get great pay!

88) Educational Backgrounds of World Leaders

See where our leaders were educated!

89) How The World Would Look If Mapping Conventions Were Flipped Upside-Down

There’s no up or down in space. Because of this, it’s just a tradition for us to place the northern hemisphere at the top of a map. See what the world looks like with this reversed!

90) Most-Popular Type Of Alcoholic Beverage

See which alcohol is favored, and where!

91) Cold War Map, 1962

See how each side of the Cold War looked laid out on a map of the world.

92) The World Divided Into Seven Regions, Each with a Population of One Billion

See how the world would look if the population was spread out evenly!

93) Water Consumption Around the World

The amount of water needed to keep the world moving is truly staggering. See this visually on this great map.

94) Greatest And Lowest Racial Tolerance By Country

Different parts of the world respond differently to foreign visitors. Areas marked in red are maybe best avoided!

95) Birthright Citizenship Around the World

This interesting map shows birthright citizenship data by area!

96) Grapes Yielded by Country

Every area produces a different kind of grape – and therefore a different flavor of wine!

97) Cigarettes Smoked Per Person

If you’re traveling and you smoke, it’s good to know where you can smoke and where you can’t. This map can help with that!

98) Monarchies in the World

See a map of the monarchies of the world!

99) Flags Around the World

Can you identify a country just by its flag? Test yourself with this map!

100) Where People Feel The Most And Least Loved

A map of love! Or maybe the lack of love?

101) What Antarctica Looks Like Beneath the Ice

Antarctica is a frozen land, but there is more than just ice there! Beneath the freeze lies mountains, lakes, and maybe even frozen forests!

102) Europe vs. the USA: Sunshine Duration In Hours Per Year

See what locations get the most sun at different times!

103) European Hand-Washing Routines

Handwashing is more important than ever before. You may be concerned with the numbers of people in Italy who don’t wash their hands. Just as well – the food is so good!

104) The Most Popular Countries In The World To Visit

See which countries are favored most by travelers.

105) The Most-Listened-To Artist In Every U.S. State

According to this map, Jay-Z and Drake are the most popular in the US.

106) How Much Americans Need to Retire By 35

According to this map, if you want to retire by the age of 35, you will need $1.5 million! In California, this becomes $2.37 million!

107) Craft Breweries in the U.S.

The western US has seen a huge increase in craft breweries in recent years. See more details on this great map!

108) Europe During Medieval Times

Charlemagne ruled most of Europe until his death in 814. See the political situation of Europe throughout the medieval period with this riveting map!

109) Viking Invasions

Around the same time, Vikings invaded much of Europe from the north.

110) Eisenhower’s Interstate System

President Eisenhower created the US Interstate System in 1956, involving more than 46,000 miles of roads, and costing $129 million! See this on a fascinating map here.

111) Student Loan Debt in America

There is around $1.5 trillion of student debt in the US. This is increasing exponentially as the years go by.

112) The U.S.’ Google Searches of European Countries

Many Americans apparently want to learn about World War One and the European Union. But when it comes to Googling Norway, the most popular search is about the penguin that was knighted by the country!

113) America’s State Flags

Can you name each state by its flag?

114)  Trans-African Highway Network Map

Plan your drive around Africa with this detailed map of the African highway network, stretching through multiple African countries.

115) Europe’s High-Speed Trains

Want to get around Europe? This comprehensive train network is your best bet!

116) Languages Spoken in China

Such a vast country stretching across 3.7 million square miles with almost 1.4 billion people could never speak just one language!

117)  Formula One Race Countries

See which countries hosted Grand Prix races in 2019!

118) The World’s Democracy

Multiple factors were taken into account to judge how democratic each country is in the making of this fascinating map!

119) The Roman Empire at Its Peak

The Romans ruled over most of Europe, northern Africa, and parts of the Middle East by the year 117 AD. However, by 476 AD the Empire had collapsed.

120) American Territories Acquired By Presidents

The US seized huge amounts of land when it became a nation. See where here!

121) How to Say ‘Thank You’ in Europe

Keep this handy for your next trip so you know how to express your gratitude!

122) Jeans Colors in U.S. States

Everyone has their preference – what’s yours?

123) Where Fictional Characters Are From in the U.S.

Which character pops up twice on this fun map?

124) Map of Every European City

I think we can all see a bit of truth on this map!

125) Where Girls Are Less Educated Than Boys

Certain countries make it hard or even impossible for girls to go to school. According to UNESCO, 15 million girls will never go to school. See where on this map.

126) Where Parrots Live

See which countries have the most parrots! (Colombia wins with 1,878!)

127) North America’s Forests

There are 300 billion trees in the US alone!

128) How Long It Takes to Earn $1 in Asia

According to this map, it can take more than an hour to make one dollar in many countries such as Yemen, India, and Vietnam. It can take even longer in others!

129) Bike Lanes in Europe

There are more bikes than people in the Netherlands– 1.3 per human!

130) The Byzantine Empire

This once great empire surrounded the Mediterranean Sea and ruled from 330-1204 and 1261-1453. Once considered “New Rome”, this empire was a superpower until overtaken by the Turks and the Ottoman Empire.

131) World Map of Last Executions (and the Methods)

The only country in Europe still with a death penalty in place is Belarus!

132) Map of Colonization, 1885

The UK comes out on top of all colonial powers here.

133) Major World Powers, 1945

Up through 1945, the UK continued to be the dominating force, particularly in Africa.

134) The World’s Oil Resources

The US and Russia are two giants in oil production.

135) The World’s Gold

Certain areas are blessed with high gold deposits. See where on this map and get digging!

136) How Often Europeans Speak English

It’s no surprise that the UK speaks the most English in Europe – of course!

137) Each State’s Most Impactful Invention

Each state is known for something. What’s yours known for?

138) Map of Speed Limits

Germany has no speed limits!

139) Landlocked Countries

On this map, green countries are landlocked. Purple ones are doubly landlocked!

140) Wikipedia Contributors Around the World

Africa has the fewest number of Wikipedia writers out there. It’s no surprise, considering just a quarter of Africans have access to the internet!

If you liked this article about funny maps, you should also check out this article with map illustration examples.

We also wrote about a few related subjects like the map elementsmap vector, what is a vector map, interactive maps, the choropleth map and how to make one, thematic map examples, statistical maps, and all the types of maps out there.

A bit obvious by now, but we really like maps so we wrote even more about subjects like metro maps, fantasy maps, and even the US electoral map.

I take it you like maps as well so make sure to check out MapSVG, a great WordPress maps plugin you should check out.

The Most Interesting Metro (Subway) Maps From Around the World

Every city, in every country on the globe, has its own type of metro map design. Each one shows the routes that make up the vital arteries of a city. Each is different, and each displays a fascinating variety of information that makes them unique to that particular city. Metro maps can differ for reasons as diverse as local culture, typography, or simply just because of geography.

These metro maps help us explore these differences and help us to explore the city, too. Those interested in graphic design can also learn about way finding graphics while studying these maps.

These maps are all unique and often are so well designed they can be classified as works of art. Before we look at some of the most fascinating metro maps from around the world, let’s look a little closer at what makes a great subway map.

Learn below more about metro maps in this article created by our team at MapSVG.

The Science of a Great Subway Map

In 1972, Massimo Vignelli designed what is perhaps the most famous version of the New York City subway map. Its modernist design focused on clarity and ease of use over realism and geographical precision.

It displayed lines as running either vertically or horizontally and clearly defined the otherwise cluttered areas of city routes. Central Park was square, for example. After intense public pressure, however, the maps were quickly redesigned to a more precise, if less clear style.

Map designers have a difficult job. Transit maps must be clear and easy to understand at a glance. They also cannot rely on language, as tourists make up a huge percentage of the users. Also, most travelers don’t have time to work out and absorb a map so they can use it.

For this reason, the debate on what type of map design is best has raged on for decades. Is a more abstract but easier to read map preferable to a geographically accurate one? There is seemingly no obvious answer. But each city around the world has its own answer to this question. From this comes a multitude of interesting map designs that tell us much about not just the routes of the cities, but the attitudes of the cities themselves.

23 of the Most Interesting Subway Maps

1.  Paris, France

This densely packed network covers only 40 square miles with 132 miles of tracks and 245 stations. This map is vital for navigating the complicated Paris Metro network.

2.  London, UK

This is perhaps the most famous and recognizable subway map in the world. Harry Beck designed the London Tube Map and was a forerunner in the use of modernist design principles in public information displays. While it is geographically inaccurate, this map takes one of the oldest subway systems in the world and makes it simple to navigate.

3.  Tokyo, Japan

As one of the most punctual subway systems in the world, the Tokyo metro is easy to navigate even with the language barrier. While the design seems complex at first, the punctuality of the trains keeps the process simple.

4.  Berlin, Germany

Berlin follows London’s lead in its use of a geographically inaccurate subway map. Researchers from MIT discovered that sharper turns and lines are easier to follow.

5.  Rome, Italy

The subway in Rome is the oldest of its kind in Italy. Its 73 stations span over 37.3 miles, and many thousands rely on it every day.

6.  Mexico City, Mexico

This subway is an example of when geographic accuracy can work well. This is because the Mexico City subway is much smaller than the other examples here. This enables it to use a much more intricate map design without losing clarity.

7.  Madrid, Spain

This large and sprawling subway system is typical of other capital cities across Europe and the world. It follows the modernist design principles of London’s map and makes great use of a soft color palette, thin lines, and white spaces to keep the map uncluttered and visually clear.

8.  Brussels, Belgium

This metro map uses two languages – French and Flemish. As these are both common languages in Belgium, it makes the map simple for speakers of either language.

9.  Rio de Janieiro, Brazil

This huge subway network carries more than one million passengers daily. It was expanded ahead of the Olympics and can now carry even more. Its map reflects this usage and keeps to a simple design.

10. Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok has a uniquely beautiful metro map. It resembles a plaid shirt, with its soft colors and transparent rivers and streets which keep the underground locations relative to the aboveground geography.

11. Melbourne, Australia

While the map is still in the concept phase of its redesign, it is clear that a clean, modern design will most likely be used. The lines all extend separately from a central meeting point.

12. Boston, USA

Home to Tremont Street Subway – the oldest underground railway tunnel in North America having opened in 1897 – Boston uses a mixture of modernist design and geographical accuracy. The clean, straight lines are overlaid on a transparent map of the geography of the area, including waterfronts.

13. Montreal, Canada

The Montreal subway has just four lines running through its small network. This makes reading the map simple, especially with its clean design. The black background makes the colorful lines pop.

14. New York, USA

Many artists have taken on the task of designing and redesigning the famous NYC transit map. Most famously, Massimo Vignelli created a simple, modern map that was based on logical clarity rather than geographical accuracy. The complexity of the New York subway network means that this is almost a necessity.

15. Glasgow, Scotland

This unique map is as simple as it gets. Designed in a simple oval shape, this map benefits from being based on a very small subway network. Glasgow’s subway is one of the oldest in the world, having opened in 1896.

16. Amsterdam, Netherlands

A great example of a subway map complementing the feel of the city. The Amsterdam subway map uses a green and blue geometric design to complement the topography of the city. It balances nature and human-made design in a way that is characteristic of the city.

17. Chicago, USA

The “L” – elevated transit system – of Chicago is not a subway, but an overhead rail system. Nevertheless, it serves the same purpose and utilizes a map very similar to many subway systems, with its modernist design and simple lines.

18. Washington D.C., USA

This vibrant and purposeful subway map uses colors and icons that pop out at the viewer to indicate transfers, stations, and points of interest. A wonderful design that combines a multitude of design ideas into one.

19. Sydney, Australia

In Sydney, the design of the subway map is famous for resembling a bird flying into the Pacific. Modernist design sensibilities are on show as the graphics reflect the coastal nature of the city.

20. San Francisco, USA

This map is another example of an interesting combination of modernist design and geographical accuracy. It maintains a simplicity without being disconnected from the geography of San Francisco. It’s even able to depict extra information such as nearby mountains and bodies of water that help to maintain orientation.

21. Lisbon, Portugal

The subway map of Lisbon employs a more fluid, creative approach to the design. This is very much in keeping with the culture of the city itself. The combination of icons and imagery along the path of the subway add a storytelling element to the design of the map.

22. Stuttgart, Germany

Uniquely, Stuttgart’s subway map does not use a bird’s eye view as most other subway maps tend to do. However, its straight lines make navigating between stops simple.

23. Moscow, Russia

Taking inspiration from the classic London Underground map, the Moscow subway map is immediately eye-catching. Its circular lines and simple design make navigating the city a simple process.

24. Seoul, South Korea

25. Frankfurt, Germany

Metro Maps – Unique to Every City

As we’ve seen in this list, metro maps tend to be unique to the city they made for. While there are often similarities in design philosophy, it is perhaps inevitable that the individual culture of an area will influence the design of a subway map.

The most crucial aspect of any subway map is to be easily readable in as short a time as possible. Commuters, travelers, and tourists rarely have the time to work out how to use and read a subway map. Therefore, it is vital that they are easy to read and if possible beautiful to look at.

Hopefully, this list of the 23 most interesting metro maps will give you an insight into the design process of these important assets.

If you liked this article about funny maps, you should also check out this article with map illustration examples.

We also wrote about a few related subjects like the map elementsmap vector, what is a vector map, interactive maps, the choropleth map and how to make one, thematic map examples, statistical maps, and all the types of maps out there.

A bit obvious by now, but we really like maps so we wrote even more about subjects like metro maps, fantasy maps, and even the US electoral map.

I take it you like maps as well so make sure to check out MapSVG, a great WordPress maps plugin you should check out.