ArcWatch: Your e-Magazine for GIS News, Views, and Insights

June 2010

Learn to Create and Share Online Maps in Minutes Using Esri's Make a Map Application

By Ray Carnes, Esri Technical Marketing

Online maps have become increasingly popular, appearing everywhere on the Web. They can be used to help people understand where something is as well as what it is like there. Now, Esri has made it easy to add a map to your Web site, blog, or favorite social networking site using the Make a Map application. In just a few minutes, you can create embedded HTML code to include a personalized, interactive map that visitors to your site can use to pan, zoom, and even click on to get demographic information.

You can choose from seven demographic maps or hide the demographic data to show just a locator map with your own point of interest marked. Visit the site.

Step 1: Enter the location you want shown on your map and click the Locate button. You can enter a full street address (1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C.), a ZIP Code (90210), a city name (New York City), a famous landmark (Lincoln Memorial), or even a famous building (Sears Tower).

Entering the location for your map
Entering the Location for Your Map

Step 2: Choose the demographics layer you'd like to see on the map from the drop-down menu, or check the Hide U.S. demographics box if you want to make just a locator map. When you show a demographics layer, you can also check the Click map for specific demographic data box if you want the map to show information about the population and demographics layer selected when people you share the map with click it.

Selecting the data to show on your map
Selecting the Data to Show on Your Map

Step 3: Now you get to choose the size of the map. Enter the width and height in pixels and click Resize to redraw the map. You can also resize the map by dragging the handle that is in the bottom right-hand corner of the map and looks like this: handle icon. Decide if you want a scale bar—so people you share the map with can measure things on it—and check or uncheck the box to include or remove it.

Resizing your map
Resizing Your Map

Step 4: You have two options for sharing your map. Use Option A if you want to embed the HTML on your Web site or MySpace page. Use Option B if you want to share your map via e-mail, Facebook, Digg, or Twitter.

Option A—If you want the map on your Web site, just copy and paste the HTML code from the box. If you haven't embedded HTML code in your Web site before, you might benefit from searching the Web for help. Some Web sites to visit include,, and

Sharing via Option A
Sharing via Option A: HTML Code That You Can Embed in Your Own Web Site

Option B—If you want the map to pop up in a separate window, you can click Share a link. Add a title and caption for your map and decide if you want to add your name and e-mail as a link. Click Preview Map to see the window that will pop up containing your map, then click Share to generate the URL. Click one of the four icons next to the link to send it to your e-mail or Facebook, Digg, or Twitter page.

Sharing via Option B
Sharing via Option B: A Link You Can Post via E-mail, Facebook, Digg, or Twitter

Customizing Your Pop-up Map
Customizing Your Pop-up Map and Generating the Link to Use

Make a Map Applications

Esri will continue to develop Make a Map and has already used the concept to let people make maps of their own place history to examine the links between health and the environment.

People have long suspected that the environment impacts personal health. Smog, lead, radiation, pesticides, and hazardous waste are all well-known environmental health concerns. We also know that each of these factors varies as you move around the country. Oregon is known for a pristine coastline and Los Angeles for gridlock. For those of us who visit and live in different areas of the United States, an eye-opening use of Make a Map comes in the form of the Explore Your Place History application.

Other Ideas for Using Make a Map

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