Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Dear StepMap User,

We thank your for another exciting year… and while it’s not over yet it slowly comes to an end. From the 24th of December to the 2nd of January we will “close our doors” – meaning that you won’t be able to reach us by phone. We do check emails over the holidays occasionally but unless it is an emergency or urgent matter you will not hear from us until 2nd January 2017. Once again we would like to say thank you to all our users. 2016 has been a pretty interesting year, with many ups and downs. We have some big news for you in 2017 but at this point we don’t want to spoil the surprise. Rest assured that we are working hard to make StepMap even better for you in the new year – all your feedback and suggestions and questions were welcome and actually go into our plans for new features of StepMap. Our overall goal and philosophy will always remain to provide a tool that’s easy to use and doesn’t require technical or graphical expert skills. Sometimes that’s challenging because we (and you) obviously also want to have more features and functionality. So while we do strive to hit that perfect balance between “new stuff” and “keep it simple” we understand that we can’t make it perfect for all. However, we hope that you enjoyed StepMap so far. Join us on our journey into our 9th year for 2017. And please, keep the feedback coming, we actually do read all (!) emails.

If you feel like creating one more Map before the holidays – here you go: www.stepmap.com

Or, if you always wanted to create a world Map with your visited countries etc., try this option: www.map-my-world.com

Merry Christmas (or as we say in Germany “Frohe Weihnachten” – now you try saying that…) and a Happy New Year 2017!

Ben, Veit and Ole


Create your personal World-Travel-Map for free!

Dear StepMap-Users,

You all know how easy it is to create a personalized Map with StepMap but we took it one step further and made it even easier. We have developed an exciting new Tool that allows you to create your own World-Travel-Map. You don’t need to sign up – simply go to http://travelmap.stepmap.com and create your Map for free.

You can then share your Map with friends via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Or you can embed your Map on your website or blog. Also available is the option to download the Map in high resolution as an image file. That way you can also print it and use it in a photo book or a poster or presentation. The high resolution download normally costs US$ 4.99 but the first 50 users who create their Map and use the voucher XMAS2015 can download  it for free. So be quick :).

Oh… and because it is Christmas soon I will top that by saying whoever creates a Map and shares it on their Facebook or Twitter page will receive high resolution version of their Map for free. Simply email me at ole@stepmap.com once you have created and shared your Map.

Now, get started and create your own World-Travel-Map at http://travelmap.stepmap.com and show the world where you have travelled to (and where you still want to travel to).

Here’s my personal World-Travel-Map (which I will update soon after visiting more countries hopefully!). Click on it to enlarge.


Scalable Symbols and Icons

Dear StepMap User,

As from today you can add scalable symbols and icons to your Maps. That means you can change their size and colour and you can rotate them. The new feature can be found in Step 3 under the “Add Scalable Symbols and Icons” button. The old symbols and icons are fixed (meaning you can’t change their size or colour). The new icons and new option allows you to modify them.


The new scalable symbols and icons menu looks like this:


Once you click the button a new menu opens which loks like this:


From there you simply choose the desired category and icon – clicking on it will make it appear in the middle of the Map from where you can move it around, change the size and colour and also lets you rotate it. The following video demonstrates how it’s done. (Note: Click the “full screen” option for a bigger video).



StepMap wishes you a merry Christmas!

We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year 2014. There are a few more days left but as always the past year flew by too fast. As most of you probably know we are a small team from Berlin, Germany. Back in 2009 we launched the German version of StepMap. The Englisch one was launched not too long ago, in January 2013. So really, within a short span it has grown to a substantial size, almost overtaking the German site in terms of “Maps created per day”. We have been overwhelmed (in a positive way) with your feedback. Please continue writing to us – be it with questions, suggestions or ideas on how to improve the Map tool. We really read every single email and take notes of all ideas. Since we do have quite a lot of users from France and Canada we decided to launch a French version of StepMap. It went online today – here it is: www.stepmap.fr is now online. Bonjour!

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy, exciting and great new year 2014.

Merry Christmas – Frohe Weihnachten – Joyeux Noël
Your StepMap-Team



From left to right: Ole, Veit, Sebastian, Uwe (thanks for the great time!) and Ben

How to create a template for all your Maps

Creating a template has two advantages:

  • You save time when creating new Maps
  • You will have a uniform looking design for all your Maps

To create a template you simply need to create a Map like any other Map – only difference being that you don’t use specific locations, regions or titles but generic placeholders and a general design. To create a template the easiest way would be to adjust all the design and graphic options to your liking (Step 1 and 2 of the tool) and also to add some city name placeholders (Step 3 of the tool). You then save that Map. Afterwards, you copy and paste the link of that Map into “My Profile -> My Templates“. Basically, that’s it. When you create a new Map you will find an option in Step 1 of the tool to load your template and then create a new Map based on that template.

So here’s an example of a Map (that I have created like any other Map) where certain settings are active:


The settings for this Map are:

  • Step 1: Topography 1 is active, colour for land and water are active (light green and light blue)
  • Step 2: Border lines are set to black and thing size 1)
  • Step 3: Four placeholders added for city (big and small), ocean name and country name (each with thier own formatting in terms of color and size)

Now I have copied and pasted the link of that Map to “My Profile -> My Templates” which looks like this:


Now, within the “My Templates” menu you copy and paste the link of your previously made Map as follows:


When creating a new Map you can now choose that template in Step 1 of the Map editor – it looks as follow:


You can then simply create a specific Map (specific itinerary or any other content/date that you want to visualize) based on the chosen template e.g. something like the following Map. As you can see the basic settings for the colours and the placeholders are those from the chosen template (compare to first screenshot above) which have been replaced with sepcific names and places.


Of course, it’s up to you what you decide to put into your template and what the overall design looks like. It can be a lot of sepcific settings, colours and placeholders – or just a simple adjustment. Either way, it will save you a lot of time in the long run if you plan to create many Maps with certain specific design characteristics.


Your new Profile Page for all your Map needs

Dear StepMap User,

As of today your new StepMap profile page will have all your Mapping needs in one place, starting – of course – with creating your own Map but also creating templates, uploading your own icons, checking out the latest features, searching your Map archive and many more options. When you login to your account your new profile screen looks like this:


The most important options are: Create a new Map (well, pretty obvious…), My Maps (your archive of all previously created Maps), My Templates (if you want to setup a permanent base design) and My Symbols & Icons (to upload allyour own images and add them to your Map. We also highly recommend the Video Tutorial. It will give you a good understanding of the most important features of the Map tool.

How to create a Map Key or Map Legend

Dear StepMap User,

Quite often we are asked if and how one can create a Map Key (Map Legend) when using our Map Editor. It’s actually quite easy once you know how it’s done. So here we go.

In Step 3 (where you can add locations, titles, lines and symbols) you start by adding things to the Map, e.g. a city or a symbol or some text. So you would start with a simple Map like this (see below) where you add three locations with three different colour markers (icons).


Then you simply add three more markers (icons) to the Map and move them to one side of the Map (see below). Those you simply name e.g. Capital, Major City, Small Town. Of course, you can replace the cities with anything you want to display on the Map and of course you can use anything you like for the actual Map Key. The basic idea is that you use the same symbols and colours for the same group of elements.



Alternatively, you can use the same symbol for all elements on the Map (see below) but use different colours for the actual text.


It’s a little bit more tricky now. You click anywhere in the Map and write a single letter (e.g. “L” in the screenshot below). For that letter you choose “Text only” and the use the same font colour as the background colour. Then you click next to the green square marker and write (e.g. “Major City”). Remember to choose a black font and transparent background then (or anything that makes sense other than same colour for font and background).


One becomes two: Step 1 split up

Dear StepMap User,

We have decided to split up Step 1 into two Steps. When we launched StepMap almost 5 years ago Step 1 didn’t have that many features (you couldn’t even zoom in or out). Over time more options have been added so that now there was simply too much to be crammed into the Step 1 right navigation panel. So from now on Step 1 is split up into 1 and 2. It doesn’t make creating Maps more complicated or more time consuming, it makes it simpler.

The new Step 1 now looks like this:


So in Step 1 you can: Zoom in and out, change the Map display (flat, topography 1 & 2), change the color of land and water, crop a country, colorize countries and add national parks. You can also upload your very onw Map image.

The new Step 2 looks like this:


So in Step 2 you can: Add an Overview-Map (with different sizes and zoom levels), add a scale (kilometers or miles), modify additional display options (e.g. borders, lakes, rivers etc.) and add lattitudes and longitudes.

The rest of the Steps remain the same. So in the new Step 3 you will add locations, lines and markers. In Step 4 you can make the Map interactive (adding information to locations) and in Step 5 you simply save the Map.

Upload your own Map (or any image)

We often get the question “Can I upload my own Map?“. Quite often by students or teachers but also by others who already have a Map and simply want to add some information to it (or make it interactive). Think of historical Maps… or fictional Maps… or any Map that isn’t based on today’s geographical standards. Also, you can basically upload any image meaning it doesn’t have to be a Map but can be any image on your computer. It’s probably easiest if you just try it to test it.

The new feature is available in Step 1 in the right navigationl panel all the way to the bottom. It looks like this:


After clicking on the link you will  see the following screen where you can choose from 2 upload options (image from hard drive or link from website):


Here’s a sample Map, in this case a historical Map of Constantinople (today’s Istanbul). You can also click on the infobox within the Map to see additional information. Link to sample Map: http://www.stepmap.com/map/historical-map-constantinople-1321472


New Option: Over 4200 National Parks for your Maps

Dear StepMap User,

It has been a lot (a LOT!) of work but we finally made it. Starting today, you can add National Parks to your Maps. You will find the new feature in Step 1 of the Map Editor (just underneath “Colorize individual countries”). The new feature is called “Colorize National Parks” and works quite similar to coloring in countries. All you have to do is zoom in on a Map area and then pick any National Park from the drop down menu. Then, click the check box for “Coloring” (and choose a color) to display the Park on the Map. Rinse and repeat for as many Parks as you like or add them all by using the “All Parks in Map Region” option.

Let’s start with the typical Map. In Step 1 you zoom in on a certain area – in this case South Africa (click to enlarge).


See the new menu (marked red) above? That’s where you pick the Parks from.

The following screenshot shows the same Map Region – but now with the Kruger National Park. Of course, you can add any Park and choose any color for it.


Another option is the “Add all Parks in Map Region“. Please note that due to the massive number of Parks (over 4200) we had to limit the “Add All” option to a certain zoom level. So on a World Map scale you can’t select the “Add all Parks in Map Region” because it would simply crash the system (plus it would look odd and rather pointless). See below the option “Add All” for South Africa.


We hope you enjoy the new feature. It will add more depth and detail to your Maps.