A Free Interactive Map Maker for Students

A Free Interactive Map Maker for Students – ZeeMaps

Let students collaborate to create interactive maps that can be shared online.  ZeeMaps is a free, online map maker that allows multiple students to add unlimited markers to maps.  It’s a great tool for reinforcing geography knowledge and increasing information literacy.

The map below shows an example of students collaboratively displaying the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on a rural community.
ZeeMaps in Education Example

There are many ways that this tool could be used in the classroom.  I’ve posted some simplified directions below; they are based on the example above, but should provide enough guidance to help you design your own lesson.

Teacher Directions

Getting Started

  1. After creating a new account or signing in, click “Create a Map” to get started.
  2. Give your map a title, description, and starting location.  You can always skip this or edit it later.
  3. Click “Create” to bring up your new map.

    ZeeMaps - Getting StartedHighlight Regions

  4. I further defined the map before giving it to students.  I added an outline of the county boundary in the case of this assignment.  After clicking “Counties” I selected the state, then county and the boundary was highlighted on the map.ZeeMaps - Highlight Regions

    Edit Settings

  5. Click “Map.”
  6. Click “Settings.”ZeeMaps - Settings
  7. Click the “Map Security” tab in the left menu.
  8. Add your preferred password under “Admin.”
  9. Add a student password under “Member.” This will allow students to annotate your class map without needing to create an account. It also protects your map from being edited by anyone who comes across the link. Note: If you leave a key empty, anyone who can view your map will be given that level of access.  I typically leave viewer blank because our maps are public.
  10. I originally left this option disabled so that students wouldn’t modify the work of others, but this doesn’t allow them to go back and edit or delete entries that they wish to modify.
  11. Save your changes.
  12. Return to the map.ZeeMaps - Edit Settings

    Share Your Map With Students

    Now that you have set some editing restrictions, it’s time to share your map with students.

  13. Click “Print or Share” on the top menu bar.
  14. Select “Share Link/URL”
  15. Copy the bottom link.  This is the link that allows students to edit the map.ZeeMaps - Share

Student Directions

For this assignment, students were required to add markers to the map.

Here are the simplified directions for students based on the needs of this particular project.

  1. Click “Additions” at the top of the screen.
  2. Select “Add Maker – Simple.”ZeeMaps Student Directions
  3. Under “Entry Name” type your topic and example number (i.e. Economy 1, or Economy 2, etc).
  4. Click “Map Select a Location,” then click the location on the map where you want to add your marker. Alternately, you can enter an address in the text-box (if known).
  5. Explain your potential impact under “Description.”
  6. Find an image that is representative of your example and save it to your drive or desktop.  Beside “Photo” click “Choose File” and add the appropriate image.
  7. Beside “Marker” select the color assigned to your topic.
  8. Click “Submit” and repeat this process for the other two examples.ZeeMaps - Add a Marker

    Publish Your Students’ Map

You can share the map for viewing by copying the top URL in step 15 above, but I find embedding the map to have a greater impact.  Embedding your class maps on your website, blog, or LMS is a great way to motivate students and/or share with parents.


To embed your map:

  1. Click “Print or Share.”
  2. Select “Publish in Website.”
  3. Customize the appearance of your map.
  4. Copy the embed code and add it to your site.ZeeMaps - Embed

How will you use ZeeMaps in your classroom?
Share your ideas in the comments below.

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