How to Create a UFO Sightings Map with Extended Label Pins

Creating a UFO Sightings Map: A Step-by-Step Guide

Have you ever gazed skyward and pondered our solitude in the universe? Indeed, reports of UFO sightings span across America, and with ZeeMaps’ latest feature, you now have the power to depict these enigmatic occurrences with unprecedented clarity. The days of being constrained to three-character map pin labels are behind us. Let’s embark on a journey to craft a detailed UFO sightings map featuring extended pin labels.

Step 1: Assemble Your UFO Sightings Data

Your adventure starts with gathering data. Collect incidents of UFO sightings, carefully recording their locations and specifics. For instance, notable examples include:

  • Texas Lights: July 2021 brought bright, unexplained lights to Dallas.
  • Nevada Desert Encounter: A low-flying, silver object made its presence known near Area 51 in August 2019.
  • Seattle Sphere: May 2019 witnessed a shimmering sphere in Seattle.

Ensure that each sighting bears a unique identifier to act as its map label.

Step 2: Create Your Map

Commence by creating a new map on ZeeMaps, importing your catalog of UFO sightings. Verify that one of your data fields encapsulates the complete descriptions or identifiers for labeling.

UFO Sighting Map

Step 3: Apply the Labels

Once you’ve uploaded your data, proceed to label your pins:

Begin by navigating to Map -> Settings.

Subsequently, select the Markers Display tab.

Then, use the dropdown menu in the “Label markers using field” section to select the data field with your UFO sighting identifiers.

Finally, hit Save Changes.

Step 4: Customize Your Map Display

With your pins now labeled, furthermore, you might consider enhancing their display:

  • In the Marker Icons settings, opt for larger pins to make your extended labels clearly visible.
  • Optionally, Choose File to upload an image file to replace markers for an added visual touch to your map.
UFO Sighting Map Icons

Step 5: Explore and Share Your UFO Sightings Map

At last, your map is now ready for exploration. Hence, we can delve into the patterns of sightings across the nation. Moreover, circulate your map among fellow UFO enthusiasts and contribute to our collective quest for understanding.

Conclusion: Embracing the Unknown

After all, your UFO sightings map is more than a collection of pins; it’s a tool for the curious, the believers, and the skeptics. Consequently, ZeeMaps’ new feature turns your quest for the truth to now vividly pinned to the canvas of America’s landscape, each label a testament to the enduring mystery of the skies.

Finally, remember, the truth is out there, and now it’s mapped out, too.

Use Our Spreadsheets to Create Your Own Map

Download our UFO Sightigs spreadsheets below to create your own map. It’s easy!

1: Create your map

2: Share on social

3: Tag ZeeMaps! #ZeeMaps #WeMapYourLists

UK Post Codes Districts – ZeeMaps

UK Post Codes are designated by two alphanumeric codes. The first one or two letters indicate a postcode area, followed by one or two digits signifying a district within that area. Following this is a space and then a number denoting a sector within the district, and finally two letters which are allocated to streets or sides of a street. While originally designed for mail sorting and delivery, UK Post Codes, as postal codes around the world, have become important geographical boundaries for varying kinds of analysis, e.g., where to put a new store. The reason is that the population within the same post code district or area usually share characteristics like income, education, family structure and so forth.

Due to the rich demographic utility of post code district and areas, having the ability to highlight post code districts or post code areas in different colors on a map can be important aid in performing analysis like which areas have a concentration of certain value, e.g., car dealers.

ZeeMaps has supported the highlighting of UK Post Code areas for a while, and recently we’ve added the capability to highlight UK Post Code districts as well. This will allow our users to perform finer grained analysis with post codes.

You can highlight UK Post Code districts or areas in ZeeMaps in one of two ways:

  1. Use the Additions -> Highlight Post codes -> menu item on your map
  2. Upload a spreadsheet with UK Post Code districts.

Highlight Post Code districts a few at a time

To highlight a few post code districts at a time, use the Additions -> Highlight Post Codes menu item on the map.

Adding UK post codes using highlight postcode areas

Next, choose the UK tab at the top. Then, enter the Post Code or Area that you wish to have added to the map. We added CR0 for Croydon. Also, see that as you start typing the Post Code that a drop-down list will appear to assist in your selection.

UK Post Code Drop down list example

Notice, you are able to add more than one at a time. Finally, choose the boundary and fill color, along with opacity. Last, click Submit.

Highlight Post Code – Croydon Example Output

UK Post Codes through Spreadsheet Upload

If you have a large number of Post Code districts to highlight, then highlighting them one at a time can become tedious. Instead, you can use our spreadsheet upload to highlight the post code area.

One such example is Heat Maps – a common map type used to represent the magnitude of a phenomenon as color in two dimensions. In other words, it highlights the hot spots, or data clusters.

For this example we used the UK Post Codes Districts spreadsheet, attached below. In the first column of the spreadsheet, we specify the post code area or district, in the second column we have a numeric value, e.g., the number of car dealers in the given post code district. We add a third column that specifies a color based on the value in the second column. For details on how to do this easily, please see our post on the Excel IF Function. Color value is based on the number of dealers (column B). Therefore, red represents higher numbers while green represents the lowest.

UK Post Codes Excel example

Upload the data

To upload the data, we added the UK Post Codes spreadsheet to our map via Additions > Upload (Copy – Paste) Spreadsheet.

UK Post Codes Upload Data Prompt
Upload Data Prompt

To begin, we selected UK Post Code District from the drop-down.

Upload data example

Next, we chose United Kingdom as Default country.

Finally, notice our selections – Dealers selected for Name, Color selected for Category, and Post Code selected for Post Code. These are default selections. Last, click Submit.

View our example map below.

UK Postal Areas Map

The process for creating the UK Postal Areas Map is the same as above, except we are mapping postal areas instead of post codes.

View our example map below.

Use Our Spreadsheets to Create Your Own Map

Download our UK Post Codes or UK Postal Areas spreadsheets below to create your own map. It’s easy!

1: Create your map

2: Share on social

3: Tag ZeeMaps! #ZeeMaps #WeMapYourLists

Online Map Secure Sharing with ZeeMaps

ZeeMaps online map sharing options range from secure personalized sharing to publishing a map on a website. This article describes methods to securely share one or more online maps.

Methods to Securely Share Online Maps

There are two ways to securely share online maps:

1. Share a map with specific users.

2. Share a link and an access key for the map.

Share Online Map with specific Users

To share an online map with specified users, use the Print or Share -> Share with… menu item on your map.

Sharing a Map with Specified Users

In the resulting dialog, if needed, restrict the pin color to a single color. For the color restriction, make sure the map is marked Private (see below).

Restrict pins color to share

Enter the email addresses of the other users in the appropriate sections, depending on whether you want to grant the users Admin, Member or Viewer access.

An online map shared with another user is listed in the Shared tab of the My Maps page. For the other user, the map is listed in the Accessible tab of the My Maps page.

If you need to share multiple maps at once, use the Share with map operation in your My Maps page.

Share Online Map with a link and key

When you share a map with a link, the map access keys (see below) define viewers’ privileges. If you have locked the map with access keys, then a user can unlock the map with a key to gain access. For Private maps, an access key dialog will appear when the user first loads the map.

For Public online maps, the user should click on the Map Access link on the top right of the map.

FeatureShare with emailShare with link and key
SecurityOnly signed-in users see the mapKeys can be easily broadcast
Restrict ShareShare pins of only one colorNo restrictions
ZeeMaps Methods for Map Sharing o

Each method of sharing has its benefits. If you are crowdsourcing locations on an map, then sharing a map link with keys is the best solution. Each person can add their location on the map without signing in with ZeeMaps. When you have a private online map of sensitive information, e.g., customer locations, then sharing with specific users works better. Sharing with another user also allows you to restrict the map to only one pin color.

When sharing online maps, secure your maps properly to prevent unauthorized access. We describe key elements of maps security below.

Online Map Security

ZeeMaps provides a HIPAA compliant infrastructure for mapping.

Online maps are Private or Public. Private maps allows access to only authorized users. Public maps are viewable by anyone. The viewing details depend on the access control settings.

Access Control

Each online map has three access levels: Admin, Member and Viewer:

Admin: similar to map owner. A user with Admin privileges can add, delete or modify map settings and markers. With Admin access users can download data from the map.

Member: has limited access to the map. Member access cannot make changes to map settings. Members cannot change highlighted areas on the map. Members can add pins on the map. Depending on a map setting, Members can edit or delete pins.

Viewer: is the lowest privilege. Viewers can only see the map. Viewers cannot change the map.

Define Map Security

Get to the Map Settings page using the Map -> Map Settings menu.

Map Settings menu
Map Settings Menu item

On the Settings page, use the Map Security tab to set the online map as Private or Public. Define the access keys.

Define Map Security

World Map Picture – Image Overlays on Maps

You can now add image overlays on your maps with ZeeMaps – think of the possibilities of world map pictures! This can be helpful, e.g., if you want to display a detailed campus map. Or, perhaps you have another image you would like to see referenced in your map. Follow the instructions below to get started.

How to Add Image Overlays (World Map Pictures)

To add an image overlay, use the Additions -> Add Image Overlay menu item on your map.

world map picture - add image overlay

Once you click on the menu item, a dialog on the map will give you four steps to follow to add your image overlay.

First, drag-and-drop the image that you want to add to the map. The picture you place on your map can be of anything! In the image below, we placed a mandala as an example.

Next, for Step 2 you will need to adjust the size and position of the image. You can re-position the image manually by using the handles on the rectangular boundary on the image. For Step 3 you will select an opacity. The smaller in number the opacity, the more transparent your image becomes.

world map picture opacity

The final Step 4 is to simply click Save.

Using a GeoTiff or Georeferened Image

If your image is a GeoTiff image, ZeeMaps will determine the coordinates of your image automatically and correctly position the image or picture on your world map. For a good overview of the various formats for storing geographical information, please see The Ultimate List of GIS Formats and Geospatial File Extensions.

Otherwise, you will have to manually adjust the size and position of your image, as shown in Step 2 above. Please note, images must be less than 10MB. To learn more about GeoTiff images, check out this site:

After you have added your GeoTiff, try adjusting the opacity as shown above.

Delete Image Overlay

Should you want to delete an image overlay, it is straightforward to do. From your map, navigate to the Deletions tab in the top menu. Then, click Delete Image Overlays. A dialog will give instructions on what to do next to delete the image or picture from your world map.

You will select the image overlays you wish to remove. Then, a red box will appear around the image as shown below.

To remove, hit ‘Done.’ However, if you wish to abort, simply select ‘Cancel’.

Create Your Own World Map Picture

1: Create your map

2: Share on social

3: Tag ZeeMaps #ZeeMaps #WeMapYourLists

We cannot wait to see what you create!

Map Type Tool – Change Map Style

You can now change the Map Type Style in ZeeMaps. A map’s style defines the colors used for showing different features on the map. For example, we are all used to seeing forests shown in green, and land masses shown in some variant of light yellow or white. In addition, the style defines what labels to show on the map for cities, roads and highways. The labels, fonts and spacing are critical for giving a pleasing look to maps.

Defining a map style that is consistent and easy on the eye is a very difficult job. The British Cartographic Society defines cartography as ‘the art, science and technology of mapmaking. Cartographers over the centuries have developed rules to create beautiful maps. With the transition from paper to digital maps, the discipline has an even wider scope. So as new technology evolves, the discipline of cartography evolves alongside it.

Most users of Google Maps are familiar with the standard map style type shown below. With this new addition to ZeeMaps, the possibilities are limitless! Follow the steps below to change the look and feel of your map by changing its style to one of our offered options, or create your own unique style.

Standard Map Style in ZeeMaps

Select a New Map Style

To change your map style, use the menu item ‘Map’ and then the option ‘Style.’

Menu item to change the Map Style in ZeeMaps

The resulting styling dialog offers seven choices of styles that you can pick. The first of these is the Standard Google Maps style type. The next five are pre-defined styles by Google’s cartographers that provide consistent look and feel with different color schemes, label fonts, spacing, etc. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Silver provides a minimalistic white and grey style that has no additional colors. Use this style as a background to make your map points and highlighted areas more prominent.
  • Retro is a mix of muted earth tones. Moreover, map colors such as orange, red, and bright yellow would look especially well with this style. As the name retro signifies, this style was quite popular with paper maps.
  • Dark uses a mix of dark grey and black. Additionally, any bright color map point or highlight will pop against this background.
  • Night is a mix of blues and greens, with a beige font. Therefore, any bright greens, oranges or yellows will look great on this base map.
  • Aubergine is a beautiful shade of eggplant purple with a light blue font. Moreover, bright greens, yellows, oranges or pinks are a fantastic choice for map markers and highlights.

In case none of these work for your requirements, you can design your own using the ‘Custom’ option. Read on to find out how.

Create a Custom Map Type Style

Use the following steps to create your own map style using Google Styles.

First, click the ‘Custom’ selection from ‘Style your map.’ Then, text will appear as shown below. Second, click the Style Editor link.

Create a Custom map style

The Style Editor link will take you to the following page. Here is the direct link:

Then, make sure that you click on the link that says: ‘No thanks, take me to the old style wizard.’

From there you can choose from fewer to more roads, landmarks and labels. Additionally, you can select between the different map type styles, and then start customizing the option.

Additionally, you can choose the ‘More Options’ link at the bottom to choose from more customizations, as shown below.

Custom Map Type
Choose colors, fonts for labels, etc. for your custom map style

A range of options will appear and you can select from a variety of custom features. Once you have customized your map style type, you will need to click the ‘Finish’ button.

Then, a dialog will ask you to either copy the JSON style file, or use a link for a static map. Make sure you click on the ‘Copy JSON’ link. This will copy the style to your computer’s clipboard.

Copy the custom style in your clipboard to paste in ZeeMaps

Then, you will go back to your map, and paste the copied text into the prompt text box, shown in the custom dialog above.

Congratulations, you have now created your own map type style! We would love to see what you come up with. Please share your maps on social media and tag us using the hashtag #ZeeMaps – we can’t wait to see your creations!