8 Options for Making Digital Maps

In yesterday’s post about English Heritage’s Map of Myth, Legend, and Folklore I included a mention of using StoryMap JS to create interactive maps. That prompted a response from Cindy Rudy who suggested the idea of using Thinglink or Google Earth to make similar maps of myths, legends, and folklore. That was my inspiration for this run-down of eight options for making digital maps.

Scribble Maps
Scribble Maps is a free service for making multimedia maps in your web browser on your laptop or tablet. You can use Scribble Maps without creating an account on the site. You can create a map by simply going to the site and clicking “create a map.” Scribble Maps gives you a variety of base layer maps on which you can draw, highlight, and place multimedia markers. Watch my video for an overview of how easy it is to use Scribble Maps.

NatGeo MapMaker Interactive

National Geographic’s MapMaker Interactive is another digital mapping tool that students can use without an email address or any kind of on-site registration. Just like on Scribble Maps students can choose from a variety of base layer maps to which they can add placemarkers that include videos and images. MapMaker Interactive also provides students with a selection of datasets that they can have displayed on their maps. View my video below to see an overview of how to use MapMaker Interactive.


Thinglink is a tool for adding interactive pinmarks to images and videos. You could use Thinglink to upload an image of a map and then add pinmarks to it. Those pinmarks can include text, videos, links to audio recordings, or images. A short overview of how to do that is included in the video below.

StoryMap JS
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, StoryMap JS is a free tool that you can use to create map-based stories. This is accomplished by matching slides to locations on a map. In the following video I demonstrate how to use StoryMap JS.

ESRI Story Maps
ESRI Story Maps is a free tool that you can use to create a variety of map-based stories. The basic ESRI Story Map lets you combine pictures and locations to playback as a series of slides. The learning curve is a bit steeper than the other tools in this list, but the finished product is quite slick. Here’s a good example of an ESRI Story Map.

Google My Maps
My Maps is a free Google service for creating interactive maps that are similar in style to Google Maps. My Maps lets you add placemarkers that contain pictures and videos. Here’s a set of videos detailing every part of using Google’s My Maps.

Google Earth – Desktop Version
The desktop version of Google Earth provides one of the classic ways to create a multimedia map. Students can add pictures, text, and videos to the placemarkers in their Google Earth tours. And students can use the built-in recording tools to make tours that viewers can watch on their own. Here’s a short overview of how to make a Google Earth tour.

VR Tour Creator
Google’s VR Tour Creator lets anyone make a virtual reality tour that can be played back in your web browser and or in the Google Expeditions app. Don’t limit use of VR Tour Creator to geography lessons. You can have students use it to make virtual reality book tours. Here’s an introduction to using VR Tour Creator. And here’s how you can use your VR Tour Creator tours in Google Expeditions.


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!