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!

Measure Distance & Google Maps Routing

ZeeMaps allows you to measure the distance and Google Maps routing between two points:

  1. You can connect two pins with a straight line or route, and show the distance in Kilometers or Miles.
  2. Click on a pin to get its information bubble, then click on Directions (From Here or To Here). This allows you to specify the start or end destination by entering an address or selecting a location on the map. Then, a directions request to Google Maps gives you turn-by-turn directions including the distance and duration.

We’ve added a Distance Ruler to ZeeMaps that allows you to quickly get the distance between any two locations on the map. The resulting distance is specified both for a straight line distance and a route distance.

Use the menu item View -> Distance Ruler on your map to get the distance ruler.

Then, from the prompt, click on the ‘Start’ button in the ruler to start measuring.

measure distance google maps prompt image

Click anywhere on the map and drag your mouse to the destination. You receive the distance between those two points.

The image shows the distance between two points in our Monsters of America Map

For another set of two points, click anywhere else on the map and repeat the drag to the next location.

Once you click on the Start button:

The map stops responding to normal clicks and drags for zooming and panning.

To temporarily re-enable these features while you are measuring distances, e.g., to re-position the map, you can hit the ‘Pause’ button on the distance ruler.

Measure Distance with Google Maps Routing

Click on your map pin. Then choose from Directions From Here or To Here.

For more info on the Jersey Devil, check out this article: Jersey Devil – Fact or Fiction?

This allows you to specify the start or destination, by entering an address or selecting a location on the map.

Then, a directions request to Google Maps will give you turn-by-turn directions including the distance and duration.

Measure Distance with Google Maps Routing

Try out our new tool and let us know how it works out for you!

Pinned Circles on the Map

With its combination of highlighting geometric regions and pins on a map, ZeeMaps provides a powerful tool to analyze service areas or sales territories. Now a new feature – pinned circles on the map – allows for increased capabilities.

Sometimes, users want to convey the service area around a service provider by showing a radius circle around a marker. For example, if Jim works within 10 miles of his Lexington office, there will be a circle 10 miles around his map marker. Then, if Mary works 25 miles from her office, there will be a corresponding 25-mile circle around her marker on the map.

As shown above, such maps tend to get cluttered very quickly as circles start overlapping, and cluttering can often render the map useless.

Pinned Circles – New ZeeMap Feature

We’ve added a feature called “Pinned Circles” that allows you to put circles around map markers. However, unlike regular circles they only show when the corresponding map marker is clicked upon. Then, as with information bubble windows, only one circle will be showing on the map at a given time. This greatly reduces the clutter and allows you to quickly see the service area for each service provider individually.

 Pinned Circle example map

To add pinned circles to your map follow the instructions for uploading circles on a map, but this time choose “Pinned Circles” for the Marker Type option.

choosing pinned circles in upload data

You may need to refresh the page to see your changes take effect. Now you should be able to click on the map pins and see the circle based on the radius provided.

To change a radius entry, click on the map pin then click the pop-up name (here it is Jim). From there, you will choose the details page and enter the new radius. Click Submit and Close.

change radius for map pinned circles

Try Our Example Map for Yourself!

Use our pinned circles example data below or try using your own dataset