14 Inspiring Examples of Interactive Maps in Web Design
Adding interactive elements to your website is an effective way of ensuring users become actively involved with your content. Instead of letting them lurk around and passively discover information about your business, interactivity will help you capture their attention and increase user engagement.
Of all interactive elements, interactive maps, in particular, have become increasingly popular in web design. The reason for that lies in their multifaceted potential. Companies use them for more than merely showing their location. They can be turned into 3D games or educational projects as well as used for creating immersive tours of exciting locations around the world and much more.
Depending on the purpose of a project, interactive maps often contain 360° imagery as well as engaging audio and visual elements. They are rich with useful links that enable users to quickly zoom in on the locations of their interest but also discover more about a brand. That way, interactive maps become a precious tool for illustrating a company’s ideas and bringing them closer to the user.
In this roundup, we will share a list of some of the most inspiring examples of immersive and interactive maps we have seen on the web. You will discover numerous imaginative ways you can incorporate maps into your site and learn how they can help make your content more memorable and appealing. The projects we will delve into include:
Chartogne-Taillet is a brand of French champagne. As soon as you enter the site, you will see an interactive map that looks as if hand-drawn on paper, with vineyards, houses, and trees illustrated on it. Soft, classical music plays in the background while you explore the French countryside by dragging your mouse across the map. To discover more details about a specific vineyard in the Montagne de Reims region, just click its name on the map and a beautiful animation effect will zoom in on that area. You will find yourself in the midst of a beautiful watercolor illustration of a vineyard. As you start to scroll down the page, the watercolors turn into champagne bubbles and scatter across the screen in a stunning effect, revealing the featured story. You can also find the names of all vineyards listed at the bottom of the screen. When you click on the names in the list, you are immediately transferred to the selected vineyard on the map. The hidden menu is placed in the top left corner of the screen, ensuring an unobstructed view of the map at all times. There’s also a “Map” button in the upper right corner of the page – if you click on it, you will get a look at the entire region from high up above.
Marseille 2021 is a website that introduces us to the city of Marseille using a 3D map that renders in real-time, as you move through it. There are tiny circles on all sides of the screen containing numbers and arrows pointing in different directions. Important buildings and historic sights are marked on the map. When you hover on those places, you will see their name. And if you want to learn more about the selected spot, click on it. You will be transported to the place of your choice where you can enjoy a fullscreen 360° view. At the bottom of the screen, is an “All Places” button that reveals a list of interactive links, each leading to a featured location on the map.
The goal of the Who Cares? project is to raise awareness about endangered animal species in the African savanna. It is designed as a game in which you need to find 10 animals that are classified as either vulnerable, in danger, or critically endangered. To locate them, you have to move your mouse over the illustrated map, i.e. a virtual village placed in a savanna. And when you do find them, you can take their picture with a single mouse click. A pop-up window will then appear on the screen, revealing more details about the pictured species. While you drag your mouse over the map, you will also stumble upon some of the inhabitants of the virtual village going about their day, which helps make the game all the more immersive. The visuals and accompanying audio effects make up for an engaging map and a website that educates us on some heartbreaking facts about the animal kingdom.
Kode is a sports club that will be opened in 2022 in New Cairo. The website gives you a virtual tour of the entire complex and shows you what you can expect when everything’s ready. The entire site is like a vibrant, colorful game. You explore the map by moving a virtual character through a 3D view of the club. The site even has a settings menu, that, among other things, lets you customize the look of your character. There are staff members scattered around the map, and you can talk to them to discover more about the facilities. Moreover, you can also collect cards that reveal some values promoted by the club, play games, unlock achievements, and more. You can either move your avatar from one area of the club to the next or click on the map preview at the bottom of the screen and jump to a specific facility or court. There are links that help you keep track of your achievements, discover more about the club, as well as become their member.
Marussia Beverages produces and distributes wines and spirits. The website introduces you to all of the network’s subsidiaries located on several continents. The site’s background contains a map of the word. And while you can’t interact with it directly, parts of it do come in and out of view as you move the mouse over them, providing a sense of exploration. When you scroll down, you’ll see a list of the company’s subsidiaries. Click on any of them, and the map will zoom in on that specific area of the world and display more information about the distributor in question.
BitSummit Gaiden is a Japan’s festival that celebrates indie games. The website’ design is simple, with a minimal color scheme. Most elements are colored in blue and yellow hues with occasional splashes of pink. In fact, the site itself looks like an intro to some retro game. It consists of an interactive map of several islands, each representing a certain type of game with popular Japanese superheroes and monsters. There are games with kaiju, samurai, riders, rangers, and robots. The depicted characters are animated, so you witness a kaiju shooting damaging rays from its eyes at a nearby building or a samurai swirling his shining sword around. As you click on any of these characters or islands, you will see a list of games that belong to the selected category. In the water surrounding the islands, you will find some important links, such as the one to the BitSummit’s shop (it’s placed on a ship that’s under attack by an octopus), Nintendo’s and PlayStation’s websites, and several others.
The Witcher is a fantasy show on Netflix. Its plot is complex, with episodes often jumping from one time period to the next. To ensure viewers can keep up with the intricate plot, Netflix has created an interactive Medieval-like map of the land where the show’s action occurs. As you move across the map, you will notice that the various kingdoms and areas depicted on it are clickable, allowing you to discover more about those places and characters related to them. There is also a timeline placed at the bottom of the screen, helping you understand the chronological order of significant events. And if you are interested in something in particular regarding the series, you can use the search option.
Statskog is a Norweigan company in charge of managing state forests and mountain real estate. Statskogmillionen is their initiative to donate one million Norweigan kroner each year to support various projects throughout the country, all of which are featured on the interactive topographic map on their website. You can explore these projects by year using the timeline on the left side of the site, or you can choose to have them displayed all at once. Besides the map, you can select the “List” view and browse through projects on a horizontally scrolling page. In the map view, the projects are showcased as luminous dots dispersed all over Norway. On click, each dot reveals the name of the project it represents and the amount of money raised for it. If you click on its name, you will be taken to a dedicated project page with more useful information.
House at Khlebny is a luxurious building located in one of Moscow’s prestigious neighborhoods. The website is rich with watercolor illustrations, large photos, and elegant typography. The “Location” page is particularly interesting because it includes a watercolor map of the area, with museums, kindergartens, and restaurants marked on it. When you click on each highlighted place, a sidebar will slide in on the left side of the screen, containing an image of the selected spot and a short description of it. That way, anyone who might be thinking of buying an apartment in the House at Khlebny can understand if the neighborhood suits their needs. The style in which the map was designed matches the rest of the site, creating a visually cohesive unit.
Browsing the website created for the 2019 edition of the Digital Marketing Conference is an unforgettable creative adventure. The site represents a dark digital universe with you in the middle. Interactive links encircle you, inviting you to discover more about the conference. Thanks to the 360° view, you can move the mouse and look in any direction you like. If you look down, you will see the map of Moscow from the bird’s eye view. All buildings are displayed as outlined, sharp objects, but there is a large, red dot in front of the Conference hall, so you can’t miss it. You can see the nearest metro station and parking lot as well. There is also a highlighted route showing you the easiest way to reach the hall from the metro station. For a fully immersive experience, you can explore the site in VR.
Un Printemps Suspendu is a project that takes you on an Alpine adventure combining real-time 3D interactive elements with accompanying audio and video material. It consists of six episodes, each dedicated to one of the Alps’ iconic summits. Every one of the featured summits is showcased on a revolving 3D map. There is also music in the background. When you hold your mouse button and move the cursor around the map, the song starts to play in an extremely slowed-down tempo. As you release the mouse button, the beat returns to normal. Upon pressing the “View episode” button, you are taken on a tour of the summit. The tour combines the 3D map view with engaging video material of the skiers climbing the Alps and the challenges they faced on the road. With a double mouse click, you can move to the next chapter of the story. Once each episode ends, you can roam the area freely, zoom in and out and drag the cursor in any direction you please.
Hidden Worlds of the National Parks
Hidden Worlds of the National Parks is a remarkable project developed by Google Arts & Culture. The website takes you on a virtual tour through the wonderous world of America’s national parks – Bryce Canyon, Dry Tortugas, Kenai Fjords, Hawaii Volcanoes, and Carlsbad Caverns. And while Google Maps are not interactive per se (you can see where each park is located on a featured map), what happens on the website depends solely on your actions and choices. Each tour starts with an introductory video of the park and your ranger guide explaining the history of the place. You can then join the ranger on several fun activities, such as swimming through the coral reef, climbing into the Crevasse, visiting volcanic cliffs, marveling at the Hercules and Big Dipper constellations, and many other educational endeavors. The 360° visuals, exciting stories, and activities you can engage in using only your mouse allow you to discover nature’s beauty in an immersive and unique way.
Google Street View Treks: Petra takes you on an interactive adventure through Jordan’s historic city. The journey consists of several stops. You can visit them all one by one or open a map and select a particular site you’d like to jump to. The 360° imagery enables you to explore Petra in great detail while interactive hotspots provide you with some useful facts about the city of the ancient Nabataeans. Sound effects play a big part in making this journey seem more realistic. For example, you can hear footsteps moving across the gravel path as well as the Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan’s voice as she narrates the story about the rose-red city.
Bastille: Eye of the Stormers is a project the English indie pop band Bastille created in collaboration with Spotify to accompany the release of their album “Wild World”. It consists of an interactive 3D map of the Earth, i.e. the Wild World, showing the cities where the band’s music is being streamed the most. The more streams in a city, the brighter the “storm” above it on the map is. You can move the cursor all over the world and click on the city that interests you the most to see which five Bastille songs are the most popular. On the left-hand side of the screen, there is a list of cities with the biggest number of streams. You can click on them and the map will take you straight to the selected place.
Interactive maps can be beneficial for all types of businesses, from popular TV shows and liquor companies to streaming platforms, nature-related projects, and many others. They are an unquestionably important tool that, if used wisely, can be a highly valuable asset for your brand.
If you are thinking of adding them to your website, it is important to think about your audience and how they could benefit from an interactive map. Consider what kind of information could be interesting to them, what would you like them to know, and then work on the content you could add to the map and how to best present it to your customers.
Interactivity allows for a lot of creative experimenting, letting you turn your maps into engaging exploration games or exciting educational adventures. You have room to incorporate video and audio materials into them, which allows you to create fully immersive and unforgettable user experiences. As for the appearance of interactive maps, you can go with any style you like, be it a 3D, illustrated, painted, or pixelated interactive map. Play with colors and font combinations, make your maps as simple or as complex as you need them to be, just make sure they are intuitive and easy to use.