How to Make a Map

Maps are great for telling your story. Use this guide to help you make a stunning map with SparkMap! The Map Room is the place to interact with thousands of mapped data layers. Search and load information from a broad library of data sets, explore the maps, and share with others.

★ Useful for all users

To learn how to create a map, follow the video tutorial above, or the walkthrough below.


From the homepage, hover over “Get Started” and click on “Map Room” to begin creating your map.

Once in the Map Room, type in a keyword (Figure 1). If you need more information about a data layer click the “i” button on the right. Select the data you would like to add by clicking the associated checkbox. Then select in the bottom right hand corner.

Try the following keywords: Food, Poverty, Hospital, Housing, School, Family

Figure 1

Another way to explore all the data is by clicking the “browse by Topic” or “Browse by Source” buttons.

Explore your options and click the check box next to one or more indicators you would like to map, then click in the bottom right corner (Figure 2).

Figure 2

Zoom into your community using the plus or minus options on the left, or by entering a location in the search bar on the right (Figure 3).

Figure 3

Display data at various geographic levels (if the data provides this) by selecting from the data geography dropdown (Figure 4).

Figure 4

One way to easily display multiple data layers on a map is by sliding the transparency on one layer too 100% (fully transparent) and clicking the “Label” checkbox. This will show that data layer’s information as text instead of a colored polygon (Figure 5).

Figure 5

Add reference layers (like highways and place boundaries) to your map by selecting “All Layers” on the top right corner of the legend – click the “Map” checkbox on any desired reference layers to show them (Figure 6).

Figure 6

Share your map on social media or email by copying the link provided – this will share a dynamic map that other can manipulate or add to. Export your work into an image file or PDF document to add to a grant or PowerPoint presentation (Figure 7).

Figure 7

Please email us at with any questions.