Where to find the best online interactive maps

With a wide range of ways to create online maps, many more news organizations are using these tools to create interesting and unique online maps. Some media companies like the ones featured below are consistently producing good maps that are both visually engaging and educate readers.


The Toronto Star’s online iteration produces maps using a combination of the Google Maps API and layers, tools that anyone can pick up and learn. What makes the Star exceptional is its chosen subject matter and the simplicity in which complex data is presented. These unique maps visualize a wide range of topics, including obesity, murder, and of course, chlamydia.

Stamen Design

Stamen Design, a technology and design studio based in San Francisco, has produced some of the most visually arresting yet informative maps of anyone outside of the traditional journalism sphere. The company has a long list of clients and an impressive body of work, including Oakland Crimespotting and San Francisco Crimespotting two incredibly detailed, Flash-based interactive maps, and its latest offering the California Stimulus Map, a searchable, visual index of economic recovery funds.

The Wall Street Journal

The Journal has covered a number of news subjects using interactive maps, including regional violence in Afghanistan. The paper, however, sets itself apart from other online maps by making raw data available immediately below its maps. The sortable tables of data can be found alongside projects like “Failed Banks,” “Pressure on the Presses,” an examination of declining newspaper circulation, and “Stimulus Spending by State.”

The New York Times

The work of the New York Times has been featured a gajillion times on this blog for good reason — its interactive online journalism is in a league of its own. The Times staff has produced a lot of outstanding maps over the years, including its recent work on immigration, local homicides and water pollution.

Las Vegas Sun

The attributes all of the aforementioned content producers have in common is a unique approach to existing mapping technology and the ability to visualize information in a way that is clear and understandable to the viewer. The Las Vegas Sun is all this and more, creating a wide variety of maps including a searchable database/Google Map mashup of local crimes, a clever mashup of restaurants open at any given time, an interactive visualization of flight delays around the country and a Flash-animated map of the history of the Las Vegas strip and beyond.

There are some incredible online maps featured here, but there are a great many more that are not. Seen a great online interactive map lately? Share it in the comments!

Also on 10,000 Words:

5 Ways to create a Google Map in minutes
10 Mind-blowing maps (and 3 ways to create them)
5 Online tools for getting more out of maps
5 Interactive maps that connect communities