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).



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.

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.


Scale: Kilometers or Miles?

Quick update: When you activate the Scale in Step 1 of the Map Editor you can now choose between Kilometers and Miles. You will find the option under “Additional Display Options“. So everyone who’s a fan of the Metric System can use Kilometers while users from the United States have the option to switch to Miles.


Free Scale and Size for the Overview Map

Starting today you can modify the “Overview Map” in terms of size and zoom level. As you know, you can add a “Map within the Map (Overview Map)” within Step 1 of the editor. Previously, you could enable or disable the Overview Map but not make any changes in regard to size and zoom level. Below you find a Map with and without an Overview Map (standard design).

Main Map without the Overview Map:


Main Map with the Overview Map


You will note that the Overview Map gives you orientation in regard to the area of the Main Map. If you look at the very first Map you might wonder what coastline you’re looking at (not everyone is well traveled and realizes right away that it’s the Atlantic Coast of Brasil). The “Overview Map” (second screenshot) helps the viewer in that regard.

Now, within the navigation of Step 1 (right hand side) you will find the new option and settings as follows:


As you can see you can change the Size and the Zoom Level (currently “medium” and “6“).

Now, when those settings are changed you will note that the “Overview Map” will also change. The follwing shows an “Overview Map” size “large” and zoom level “9“.


So, depending on the topic an content of the Main Map you might want an Overview Map (or not) and if so, you might want to adjust the size and zoom level. It really depends on your personal taste and information you want to display. Remember, the Overview Map can be moved around in Step 2 of the editor.

Latitudes and Longitudes and additional Circles of Latitude

We are happy to offer you a new feature: Latitudes and Longitudes and additional Circles of Latitude can now be added and customized in Step 1 of the Map Editor. So when you create a new Map you can now show each of those layers individually or as a group. Each layer can then be customized in regard to size and color. Here’s a screenshot showing the new option (it’s in Step 1 in the right navigation panel all the way to the bottom):


And here’s a sample Map of Africa where some of the Circles of Latitude layers are activated. As you can see they have different colors, opacity and sizes, too. You can adjust them individually by using the color and size options. (Click to enlarge).


Enjoy the new feature! 😉