20 Registration-free online map tools for the classroom

Last year, I did a project with my students that integrated a discussion on the impact of tourism on the environment and the students did a map presentation using Zeemaps showing places people could visit that were more environmentally friendly. There are a number of ways to use maps in discussions, presentations, reports, and blogs, so I have done a summary of 20 map sites that could be used in the classroom:


: Find precise location data, sunrise and sunset times, height, contours, and distances all without registration.


MapMaker International from National Geographic

: Overlay a number of different themes from water, land, and climate to population, political, and economic systems. Draw on the map and place a variety of different markers as well as use a measuring tool in kilometres or miles. Save as an XML or PNG file.



: Add markers to a Google map, mark points of interest, and draw lines. Password protect or openly share your map with others without registration.



: Create and download a custom vector map. Add places and political, topographic, and seafloor layers.


Marine Geoscience Data Systems Custom Maps and Grids

: Make high-resolution topography maps of land and seabeds that you can download for free.


National Atlas Map Maker

: Create, save, and print US based maps using a number of layers including geographic, political, and historical.



: Overlay historical maps over current satellite views of a number of places around the world.


Flash Earth

: View Bing and Yahoo maps on one site. Zoom and rotate.


Map Generator

: Create a simple Google map with one marker and text that you can share or embed without needing to register.



: Add a data overlay to a map based on US data such as age, income, and population. Embed or share a custom URL with comments.


Aardvark Map

: Create custom Google maps that can be embedded or shared without registration. Add multiple points or add custom overlay sets.


Scribble Maps

: Draw on a Google Map and add markers, images, and text as well. Save as an image, get a link, or embed. Even add a custom style to your map.



: Create a custom Google map with markers, images, movies, and more. Share your custom map for free.



: Create vector, shape based, or custom maps based on your own data. Change projection types and export as an image.



: Created using data from users, OpenStreetMap is an alternative to Google maps where users can download images or data.



: Draw lines, scribble, and add markers with comments on a Google map with out registration. Share the link or embed in your blog or website.


Dual Maps

: Combine Google maps, Streetview, and Bing maps as one map. Add Wikipedia and Panoramio layers as well. Embed on your website or blog.



: Show a map with all the places you have visited in the world. Embed the map on your website or blog.


Roadtrip America

: Create a road trip route with markers of things to do and see along the way. You are unable to save or print the map without registering, but you can always create a screenshot of the map to download.


How have you used maps in your classroom? Have you used any of these sites? How well did they work for you? You can comment below, send me a tweet at @nathanghall, or send me an email using the contact form on this website. Thanks!

Create a map-based game with UMapper


I came across UMapper a while back, but didn’t realize that you can create a map-based game without even registering! Here is how it works:

  1. Go to UMapper and click on ‘Start Mapping’.
  2. Give the game a title and a description. Choose a map type (this can be changed later) and click on ‘Templates’ to list your options.
  3. Click on ‘GeoDart Game’ and then click on ‘Submit’.
  4. A map will load and you will be able to zoom in or out using the controls provided. On the right-hand side, click on an object such as the marker tool.
  5. Find a spot you would like to add and click on it using the marker tool. A marker will appear with a tool set beside it. You can make this tool set disappear by moving your mouse and reappear by hovering over the marker again.
  6. Bring up the tool set by hovering over the marker. Click on ‘Info Window Content’ and a dialog box will appear. In the top box, type in your first question or statement related to that spot such as ‘The capital of Canada’ or ‘Where is the capital of Canada?’ and click on ‘submit’.
  7. Keep adding markers until you are finished. Once you are done, click on ‘Save’ and then click on ‘Exit Editor’.
  8. The game will appear. To start playing, click on ‘Play’.
  9. A time bar will appear at the top with the first question. Click on the spot where you think the answer is and it will give you a score. After a quick pause, the next question will appear. This continues until the game is over.
  10. Below the game map, there is a shareable URL to invite others to play.
I think this could be really great for teaching geography in the English classroom. Students have to be quick in locating the places, but they will get faster with more practice.

Have you used UMapper before? How well did it work for you? Please add your comments below, send me a Tweet at @nathanghall, or email me using the contact form on this webpage. Thanks! 

Zeemaps: Build Your Own Interactive Maps

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Zeemaps is a service that allows users to add markers with pictures, video, text, and more to a map (the service uses Google Maps, but isn’t affiliated with Google). You can make as many maps as you want. Once you are done creating a map, you can embed it in your website or email it to someone. You can even make a wiki map for collaborating on ideas.

I have used Zeemaps a number of times in my English class to build maps based on a theme such as environmental holidays. Students add accommodation options, restaurants, sites to visit, and anything else that applies to the situation. I then have them post or email me the link and I open the maps on the interactive whiteboard. Students then present their maps to their classmates and then I have the students comment on or add to the maps after they present.

The reason I like this so much is that it doesn’t require any registration or personal information and is completely free. Students have really enjoyed it.

Have you used an interactive map in your classroom? How did you use it?