Infographics

What You Need to Know About Map Infographics

CopyPress

Published: May 23, 2018 (Updated: September 16, 2022)

One of the best things about infographic content is the endless possibilities for where and how to use them in marketing. When you understand how location-based data affect your brand and your customers, you can add map infographics to your content strategy. Today, we’re learning all about these types of infographics and how they work to bring new business and more attention to your brand:

What Are Map Infographics?

map infographics about market share by continent

Image via Venngage

A map infographic is a visual representation of location-based information. Some of the most common types of map infographics include information like:

  • Geographic data
  • Demographics about your audience
  • Location-based statistics or survey results
  • Area-specific company or industry data
  • Travel or tour recommendations

Using map infographics may be more obvious for some brands or industries than for others. But any company can create and use a map infographic in its marketing materials, as long as the data tells a story your audience finds valuable, and the information relates to your brand.

Why Should You Use Map Infographics?

Map infographics are a great way to share location-based information in a way that’s easy for people to understand. Geography is sometimes a difficult concept for people to visualize without a map to look at. They understand places relative to other locations, especially if they’ve never heard of the place you’re discussing.

For example, if your brand was opening a new location in a town, you might tell the audience in your marketing materials that the store is located next to the local gas station. This extra information helps people visualize the store location even if they don’t know exactly where it’s situated. But for more complex location-based data, you may need to include even more information to help it make sense in the audience’s mind. The combination of geographic visuals and text captions in a map infographic work together to do this.

Are Interactive or Static Maps Better?

You can make your map infographics static, like photographs. What you see is what you get. But map infographics can also be interactive, meaning they’re clickable or require action from the audience to show more information. You could use either type when creating your map infographic, so which is the right choice? The decision depends on your audience preference, the channels on which you plan to share the infographic, and the information you include. Here are a few questions to ask your team when deciding whether to use an interactive or static map for your infographic:

Does Your Audience Like Interactive Content?

If you already use other types of interactive content in your marketing campaigns, how does your audience respond to them? Do they participate in quizzes and polls? Do they watch videos or play mini-games? If your audience didn’t engage with interactive content you created in the past, they likely won’t use all the available features of an interactive infographic. Creating one could be a waste of your time, so it would be better to use a static infographic. But if your other interactive content is popular with your audience, creating an interactive map could be valuable to them.

Where Do You Plan To Share the Map?

If you plan to share your infographic on channels like your website, an app, or even certain types of email communications, you could use either static or interactive maps. But if you plan to use your infographic on social media, in display ads, or especially within print marketing materials, a static infographic is the best choice. If the channel where you share the infographic isn’t set up to handle dynamic content, it’s a waste of your time to create an interactive map.

Who’s Creating the Infographic?

The skills of your team members may also influence what type of infographic you choose. Interactive infographics take graphic design, writing, and programming knowledge and skills to make them work. Static infographics don’t require the coding element. Depending on which team members you have for the project, you may be unable to create an interactive map.

How Much Time Do You Have To Create the Map?

Developing interactive infographics takes longer than creating static ones because of the programming elements. Interactive maps have more elements that change depending on how the audience interacts with them. That may mean focusing on things like transitions or adding different images and text in multiple places to make the design truly interactive. You also have to test and tweak the design on each platform to make sure it appears correctly when people resize the screen or use different devices, which takes time.

Which Design Better Shares the Information?

The data itself may help you decide which design is best for your map. Do you have a lot of information to share that may become cluttered on a static sheet? If so, an interactive map may be the better choice. This type of infographic only shows certain information based on how the audience engages with it. This method allows you to show and hide certain information at certain times so that the viewer isn’t flooded with too much data at once.

If you don’t have an overabundance of data to share, a static infographic may work just fine. Don’t try to invent new information or over-stretch what you have just to make it fit into an interactive format.

Where Do You Find Data for Map Infographics?

The most common place to find data for your map infographics is through company data. Look for studies, research, or survey results that have a local theme. This may include, for example, poll data from your audience at a certain store location or your shipping statistics across the country. Government agencies, industry thought leaders, and news outlets may provide information about location-based data for your industry or for a topic related to your products or services. For example, if your company sells snow-blowers, news outlets may share stories about the number of people who still shovel snow in specific states.

No matter where you find your infographic data, make sure it’s credible, trustworthy, and factually accurate. When you use questionable data, or information without proof, you could lose your audience’s trust. That could lead to a loss of conversion and sales, or even bad reviews that damage your brand reputation.

Related: 10 Sources For Infographic Data (and 4 To Avoid)

How To Create a Map Infographic

Use these steps to create a map infographic for your content marketing campaign:

1. Collect and Analyze Data

The first step in creating a map infographic is to collect the data you want to share with your audience. This may come from a study your company did or any of the other sources we discussed above. After collection, you have to analyze the data and discover what kind of story it tells.

The analysis helps shape the design of your map and the story you plan to tell. For example, if you’re creating a map of the number of sales at your locations across the state of Pennsylvania and you find that there are more in the western part of the state, that may influence how you design the map.

2. Choose Your Symbols

All maps use symbols and keys to represent locations, geographic features, and regions. For example, you may use a vector of a mountain to represent a mountain range. After you’ve collected and analyzed your data and know what information you plan to show on your map, you can pick how to represent each data grouping within the infographic. When getting creative with your symbols, remember there are some traditional map conventions people expect to understand information. We discuss more of these conventions below in the tips section.

3. Select Your Design

Choose how you want to design your map. You may ask your graphic designers to create a mockup or a wireframe to get an idea of where you can position the information within the map. Focus on things like choosing the color palette, the scale, and how you plan to lay out the information to share data. Choose a design that isn’t too cluttered. This is also the time when you choose whether an interactive or a static infographic works best.

4. Add the Labels

Make sure to label all the important information on your map. This may include city and state names, street names, or store locations. You don’t have to label every element that appears on your map if it’s not relevant to the data story you’re telling. You can omit labels if they don’t provide additional context.

5. Add Additional Details

Aside from the map itself and the textual blubs, there are other elements you can dd to make your map more complete. First, naming your infographic is a good idea. This helps with SEO and exposure online and provides clarity for your audience. Viewers can look at the title and understand the data story they’ll find within from the beginning. Adding a legend also helps your audience understand what each symbol on your map means.

Finally, adding a scale or scale bar to your map helps the audience understand how your visual representation relates to the same elements in the real world. You may also include a bibliography or source list with source names, URLs, and dates to back up the claims you make in your infographic.

4 Tips for Creating Location-Based Infographics

Keep these tips in mind when creating map infographics for your brand:

1. Keep Your Map Elements in Scale

Real-world sizes and representations look different when you take objects from 3D to 2D. Even in interactive infographics, you likely won’t be using 3D models to represent your geographic data. That means you have to remember the art of scaling elements of your maps when adding them to an infographic. The scale for each map is different depending on what information you’re showing.

For example, if you’re showing a map of the earth, the scale is different than showing a map of the state of Rhode Island or of a single city. Most design programs can help you create a scale and keep your map elements within it to accurately represent any real-world place in the design.

Getting an accurate scale is most important for map infographics that encourage travel or give directions, but it’s valuable with any map. Setting things to the wrong scale may influence how people interpret the data. They could walk away with the wrong idea about certain information if you don’t make your map to scale.

2. Know Your Map Conventions

While every map is a little different, there are some map conventions that are universal. For example, places that appear higher up on the page of a map are more northern in relation to places that appear lower on the page. Other map conventions to consider when creating your infographics include:

  • The use of lines to represent borders, trails, rivers, or roads
  • The symbols used to represent different types of places
  • The colors and shading used to represent data like density
  • Sharing the scale for a map promoting travel or directions

While you do have some freedom to change conventions to suit your business and the data in your maps, your audience is already conditioned to look at maps a certain way. Don’t change too many traditional conventions just for fun or to make your map unique. The goal of an infographic is always to provide clarity, and valuable information. If your audience can’t understand the map, you’re not providing either.

3. Use Color To Your Advantage

Like other visual content, map infographics make use of color to convey information. Keep in mind traditional map color conventions and considerations like:

  • Blue represents water
  • Green and brown represent land masses
  • Red and blue represent different political parties
  • Certain states or cities may have color schemes associated with them, like the city of Pittsburgh adopting black and gold as its colors
  • Certain colors may have different connotations in different cultures

Color shading is another way to share your data. Deeper and darker colors often show depth or higher concentrations of data values in certain areas. If your color choices don’t directly affect how you represent data on the map, you may consider using a palette themed around your brand colors.

Related: How To Choose Colors for Your Next Design Project

4. Stick To One Map at a Time

It’s best practice to use just one map per infographic, especially for static infographics. Too many maps could get confusing for your audience. They may not know or understand how the captions and other text relate to the data story if you have more than one map. You have a little more freedom with interactive maps, especially if some of your information opens up in new windows or light boxes. But even then, it’s important to try to keep your information on just one map.

Make Your Best Maps with CopyPress

CopyPress clients never have to worry about creating their own map infographics. Those who work with us for their other content marketing needs have access to our infographic and custom design services. Whether you need help writing caption content, designing your map, or coming up with a distribution plan, CopyPress helps with it all.

To discover what we can do for you, fill out our contact form and tell us more about your infographic project and your brand goals. We’ll get in touch and set up a time to chat and work toward making your content marketing goals a reality.

CopyPress

Read More About Infographics