10 Web Mapping Sites To Practice Your GIS Literacy (And Have Fun Doing It)

There are many reasons why using web mapping sites can be fun and beneficial. Kids and teenagers can be inspired by GIS and how to use it by just using cool 3D globes, real-time satellite data, or visualizations.

Additionally, web mapping sites can also be used to create custom maps and share them with others. This can be a great way to learn more about different areas of the world and to show others what you know about GIS. Finally, web mapping sites can be a lot of fun to use simply because they are interactive and allow you to explore different areas of the world in a new and exciting way. Here are my 10 favorite web mapping sites, which I love to demonstrate in front of GIS newbies to show off how cool my job is 🙂

1. My favorite virtual globe – radio.garden

Radio Garden lets you listen to thousands of live radio stations from around the world. Radio connects people and cultures by bringing distant voices close. According to their website, Radio Garden started out in 2016 as an exhibition project commissioned by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in the context of the research project Transnational Radio Encounters. It was created, designed and developed by Studio Puckey & Moniker.

You can download a free classroom activity with this globe here >>>

2. The innovative address solution What3Words

A platform that was created, because their founders realized that street addresses aren’t accurate enough to specify precise locations, such as building entrances, and don’t exist for parks and many rural areas.

You can download a free lesson and play around with the website here >>>

3. The easiest way to create a simple map online – Mapchart.net

MapChart.net is a website where you can create custom maps and charts. It is not GIS, but its simplicity can be useful for teaching many geographical topics. Follow the steps I described in this Tiktok video and try it out.

@pixel_maps This is the easiest way to create a map – without GIS, layers, or complex software. Just add categories, choose labels and colors and here you go.#maps #geography #edutoktech #edutok #pixelmaps #geographyteacher #mapping #mapdesign #cartography #cartographytiktok #tiktokteachers #geographers #tiktokgeographers #teachersoftiktok #learntok #mapping ♬ Swan Lake, Op. 20, Act II: No. 10, Scene. Moderato – André Previn & London Symphony Orchestra

4. The media gallery of Copernicus’ website

The Copernicus Programme is a European Union initiative that aims to provide accurate, timely, and easily accessible information about the environment and Earth’s climate.

Its satellites observe the Earth every day and in the section of their website called Image of the day they upload some interesting events captured from space or analysis with their data.

5. Visualization of all roads within any city

This website renders every single road in any city at once. Just write a name and play with the result – it’s something that my students love. Also, showing this website on my Tiktok channel made more than 100K views for a short period of time.

6. Google Timelapse

Google Timelapse is a global, zoomable video that lets you see how the Earth has changed since 1984. It is based on the data from NASA and USGS’s Landsat program and contains also images from the EU Copernicus program. It is available at Google Earth (web) as a layer (click here) or as a standalone website at https://earthengine.google.com/timelapse/. Check Dubai, the Amazon basin, Chinese coast…

Here is a simple activity with instructions on how to find this layer in Google Earth:

Navigate to earth.google.com/
Click Voyager – it’s on the left side.

7. Real-time lightnings

Another nifty tool for weather geeks like me is this real-time map of lightning strikes. If you hear thunder – check it out! It’s fun to use the map and see where Zeus drops his madness.

@pixel_maps I Love this website with real-time data 🌍⚡#mapsoftiktok #fyp #mapping #map #maps #geography #cartographytiktok #europe #european #weather #weatherreport #weatherchallenge #climatechange @pixel_maps @pixel_maps ♬ Stayin Alive – Bee Gees

8. Isochrone map – how far can you go by train in 5h?

This map shows you how far you can travel from each station in Europe in less than 5 hours. It is inspired by the great Direkt Bahn Guru. The data is based off of this site, which sources it from the Deutsche Bahn.

An isochrone map depicts the area accessible from a point within a certain time threshold. An isochrone (iso = equal, chrone = time) is defined as “a line drawn on a map connecting points at which something occurs or arrives at the same time”.In hydrology, urban planning or transportation studies, isochrone maps are used to depict areas of equal travel time.

9. Learn about contours by using contours.axismaps

A contour map is a map that shows the relief (or elevation) of a particular area. The lines on the map represent “contours” or lines of equal elevation. They are often used in mapping and geography lessons worldwide and this website allows you to play with the numbers, colors or check how different relief forms look like visualized by contours.

10. Copernicus Sentinel-5P Tropospheric Nitrogen Dioxide

This web map shows you the tropospheric NO₂ concentrations averaged over 14 days. It uses data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite and gives an overview over the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide across the globe – using a 14-day moving average. Short-lived pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, are indicators of changes in economic slowdowns and are comparable to changes in emissions. The 14-day average eliminates some effects which are caused by short term weather changes and cloud cover. The average gives an overview over the whole time period and therefore reflects trends better than shorter time periods.

If you’re interested in learning about GIS and how to use it effectively, web mapping sites are a great place to start. Here I’ve listed some of my favorites. Do you have any suggestions for other cool geo websites? Let me know in the comments!