Scribble Maps is a company that allows everyone from hobbyists, students, governments and military officials to draw, create, embed, and share maps easily. The basic service is completely free and allows users to create custom maps, widgets, and images. They can then share their custom maps with friends or publish them to a website/blog.
Users can add custom images/overlays to their maps, place text, place markers, draw shapes, and draw great circle lines. They can also use distance and area calculators, create maps on WordPress, create map images, PDFs, a variety of other files, and send maps to friends.
The advanced tool gives users more control over their map data. Pro allows users to publish without advertisements and gain security and privacy for their maps. The API lets users integrate Scribble Maps directly into any mobile, web, or desktop application. If help is needed regarding map authoring, annotation, or sophisticated interactivity the API can help users understand the features of Sribble Maps even better.
The American Geographical Society reached out to Scribble for further information on their background and vision and Jonathan Wagner was kind enough to provide us with the following insights:
“When we started Scribble Maps we had very little expectations for its success. I knew nothing about mapping technology and I didn’t even know what GIS was. I think this ultimately gave me an edge because I built a service that was very user experience oriented and was not tainted by the existing tools on the market. The ignorance also had another benefit which was we became highly receptive to our users. To date we have implemented something in the ball park of 150-200+ user suggestions. I wish I could take credit for some of the small simple innovations in Scribble Maps that makes it easier to map but in reality they all came from our users telling us what sucked. This is sometimes difficult because people can be passionate and I feel one of the strengths we have is being able to be receptive to feedback even when they come at the back of, “This service is the worst service I have ever used.”
We have been pretty strongly rewarded for our patience however. In this space we are #1 in a lot of different categories and when most of our competitors are losing traffic, we are gaining them in droves. Listening to our users have also made them incredibly loyal. We are still not massive by any means but we are rapidly approaching the point where our only competitors will be Google, ESRI, etc..
One of the biggest projects we have right now is upgrading our pro product, this has been a large undertaking. Other projects we have on the go are in education and crowd sourcing. We have another project called http://www.mapyourlist.com that we are going to be improving as well with more analytical functions. Something we are really interested in doing as well is allowing maps created in Scribble Maps to be made to order in print, this is something that a lot of people are very skeptical of but we are pretty confident in it. We think it would be supper cool to allow people to get wall maps of their Scribble Maps.
Our primary objective is not just to allow people to make maps but to give them easy to use tools that allow them to creatively demonstrate their geographic ideas. It’s incredibly difficult but I feel like we are on the right track.”
By: Christopher Ewell, AGS on July 23, 2015