How to Create Interactive State and County Maps For a Website

How to Create Interactive State and County Maps For a Website

Posted by sultan in how to 18 Jul 2015

There are many potential applications for an interactive US map. Many government websites use United States maps of counties to show census data (e.g. highest-income counties), geography of recession, employment gains or losses by county, map of bank failures, election results etc. Business websites use interactive maps to show branch offices, sales figures by states, driving directions, traveling route maps, or as store locator, property finder, to improve the easiness of website navigation.

With an interactive U.S. map showing all states and counties, visitors can firstly click on a state (e.g. New York, Florida) from the map, see a map with counties within that state. Visitors can then simply roll the mouse cursor over a county on the map and the information about that county will show in a pop up box instantly, with text, images and hyperlinks. Then the visitor can click the links in the tool tip to get further information or redirected to a corresponding page.

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As you might be aware, there are more than 3000 counties or county-equivalent administrative units in the United States of America. There are on average 62 counties per state. The state with the state with the highest number is Texas, and the lowest number of counties is Delaware. It would take you an enormous amount of time and effort if you try to create a US map with all counties by drawing from scratch using a drawing software such as Photoshop or PowerPoint.

You can save your time by buying map templates for the US, including map templates for all the US counties. If you need to use the map in your Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Excel files, then all you need is a vector map graphic file. In order to be able to set color for each different county, you need to ensure the map graphic file you purchase contains multiple layers, so that each layer can have its own color and attribute settings.

If you need to use the US county map online with interactive functions, you can consider using Google maps or an interactive map making software.

Google Maps is most people’s first idea of mapping software. Google Maps provides an online solution to pinpoint locations on the map by simply typing in an address or using latitude and longitude coordinates. However, Google Maps does not provide an easy solution if you need to set counties in different color, or display information upon mouse roll over on a state or county.

In addition, Google Maps uses JavaScript extensively. Your user’s browser must have Javascript enabled to view the map correctly, and any customization requires an in depth understanding of Google Map API. This makes Google Map an overkill and not suitable to use for website navigation and information retrieval base on state or county.

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To create an interactive US map with all counties, another option is to use an interactive map building software. Most interactive mapping software come with ready made US map templates, including county maps for every state. You can set the county’s color, mouse over text, hyperlink, and also edit the text and image for roll over tooltip. You can create national, regional, state, and county maps with clickable areas, and can be easily embed to web page without any Javascript or API coding.

In addition to U.S. county maps, many interactive mapping software also contains maps of the countries of the world, including Europe, China, Asia, Africa, Australia and other maps. Most importantly, you can import your own graphic or illustrations instead of country map templates, so to convert any static images into an interactive, clickable map.

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