As part of an internal "learn at work month" program, myself and a colleague have volunteered to do a presentation: "The Wonderful World of Web Maps".

To this end, we're now looking for examples of wonderful, weird, functional, beautiful, and just plain awesome web maps that are out there. Any online map that is either interactive or dynamically updates itself would qualify.

Part of this question is already answered with the What Makes a Map Beautiful? question which has some-web maps as does What Makes a Map be classed as Badly Designed? but we're more interested in a diverse range of maps rather than just the beautiful and bad.

I've done a little searching and come up with a couple (that just happen to have a transport theme) like:

The Live Ship Map

Flight Tracker (Heathrow Airport)

What other web-maps are out there that might warrant demonstrating or could use wider exposure?


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I did the same thing at work some weeks ago, showed a lot of Norwegian ones, but these are relevant anywhee i guess:



  • haven't seen OSM data look this good! – vinayan Apr 11 '12 at 4:59
  • The Stamen one is interesting though doesn't work in IE (our corporate browser of choice :-( ). The GIS Cloud one is very useful as it relates to some of our other projects so I'll definitely look into it more. Thanks! – GIS-Jonathan Apr 13 '12 at 10:30
  • Another one (that I forgot), is maps3d.svc.nokia.com/webgl/index.html (will not work in IE though) – atlefren Apr 15 '12 at 21:22

In the category plain awesome I vote for this one that I discovered just today (thanks @celenius for introducing me to it):


Tip: note the tiny ship shuttling back and forth.


National Geographic have produced an interactive map where you are the cartographer.

It is designed for children but have a play and you will find there is some good content all in one place and very easy to use!

You can add your own theme base map (10 background maps).In addition you can switch on and off many themes such as climates zones, earthquake, volcano layers to create nice visuals for you map. Earthquakes/Volcano activity is feed live by and rss feeds from USGS.

You can customise by:

Adding Markers (click and drag on the the map from the legend) Change Markers sizes (3 defaults)

Add Polygons with simple controls (line thickness/opacity)

Add labels/annotation with the font button with many web colours.

Importantly you can save as and XML or PNG files.

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I like this interactive map that shows how the numbering works for zip codes (5 digit postal codes) in the US.

  • That's quite awesome. I wonder if there's one that does that for the UK's postcodes (they are broken down similarly). – GIS-Jonathan Apr 13 '12 at 10:23

Google's animated wind map is an amazing accomplishment in the world of web mapping. Although this is not an interactive map, it is constantly updated with publicly available wind speed data.

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http://mapserv.utah.gov/cacheviewer shows off a few basemaps our agency has made that I think are beautiful maps.

  • The first one does have a few quirks but is an interesting way of conveying it. The basemaps one does show off some lovely basemaps but unfortunately doesn't work in IE (corporate browser). I also think you might improve it by allowing the user to specify the basemap from a list rather than making them cycle through them. Thanks for sharing! – GIS-Jonathan Apr 13 '12 at 10:35
  • if you click on the name it turns into a list. i guess i'll have to look into the ie error. what version? #sidetrack – Steve Apr 16 '12 at 18:34
  • IE 7. You may also want to add some <noscript> tags to them. I see the list now but it's not intuitive/obvious. Maybe a little arrow pointing right (or up) which when clicked pops out a list. – GIS-Jonathan Apr 17 '12 at 8:58
  • I really like the broadband map! – atlefren Apr 17 '12 at 11:29

When I need to relax and just look at a simple animated yet beautiful map I click on the EarthWindMap, with Temp overlay looks even better! (I know it's an old question but beautiful maps are always a current topic)


I like webgl Rich Internet Applications like Cesiumjs and Terriajs. you can check out my site http://mapsdata.world

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