7 Beautiful jQuery Plugins to Manipulate World Maps

Why bother investing time and energy into things like drawing your own World maps, when you can use the advantages of web technology like JavaScript, CSS and in this case; jQuery. It’s more time efficient, and it certainly is more effective.

Imagine having to manipulate the map yourself, every time there is the need to create a change to your project. It certainly used to be this way, at the very early stages of the web. But as the evolution happens, we’re able to work with platforms like Google Maps, and custom built plugins to make it all easier.

I highly recommend to take a look at my earlier post about JavaScript tools for building charts and graphs, as I believe these two can go together really well, when it comes to displaying some data to your customers, or visitors.

With that in mind, there are going to be several categories you’ll see in this post, and some of the plugins will be strictly for displaying Google Maps only, while others will give you more space to play with on your own.

1. ClassyMap

ClassyMap jQuery plugin Class.PM
ClassyMap’s is a plugin that gives you the ability to embed Google Maps in your site using just HTML5 code. It’s lightweight, and gives you the ability to specify plenty of your location data to have the most accurate data available at any given time.

This is the perfect plugin to use for a portfolio or a business page.

2. WhatsNearby

WhatsNearby an useful plugin
This is a plugin built to list and show nearby places around a certain position using Google Maps. I suppose that this is best to be used by websites that offer local listing, and business listings, as it makes it easy to manipulate the surrounding areas.

The snapshot was taken from the demo page, but the URL above is going to redirect you straight to GitHub.

3. Maplace.Js

Maplace.js A small Google Maps Javascript plugin for jQuery
Maplace.js helps you to embed Google Maps into your website, quickly create markers and controls menu for the locations on map. It requires jQuery and Google Maps API v3 so you need to have both in your page. This can be considering to be used on more advanced websites, as it gives you all of the features that the above two plugins do, but with a couple of more extras.

4. Mapael

jQuery Mapael
I love Mapael, and it’s the perfect plugin to use on educational websites, research papers and much, much more. There is so much versatility and customization going on. You can assign colors to countries based on the data you’re trying to manipulate, as well as make each country as an item itself, for displaying more information about it.

Great plugin, and there are plenty of samples to prove it.

5. CSS Maps

Europe CSS jQuery clickable map by Winston Wolf
I’m blown away by the functionality of this plugin, unfortunately, for each continent there is a separate page, so don’t feel like only Europe is being included in the list. You can easily download all of the files for each appropriate country and/or continent, and modify to your own needs using PhotoShop.

Some of the stuff is not exactly free.

6. Kartograph

Kartograph is a simple and lightweight framework for building interactive map applications without Google Maps or any other mapping service. It was created with the needs of designers and data journalists in mind.

I think you will really enjoy the flexibility and stylish design features of this plugin. With the JavaScript version, you get to build and run interactive maps across all of the web browsers, while the Python version can be used to build SVG versions.

7. jHERE

jHERE Maps Made Easy
This is an API to be used for sophisticated projects and research, as it enables several functions that could become useful for those exact jobs. You can mark custom places, or you can generate heatmaps, whatever it is that you need to work with at any given time.

jQuery Maps Plugins You Might Also Like

It turns out that the variety for these plugins is nearly endless, and there are plenty more resources available for those who need something original and creative.

I will not be adding anymore pictures or descriptions beyond this point, but take a look at the following links to see what else is out there, I know that a large proportion of the community depends on these tools.

jQuery RWD Image Maps
jQuery Map Marker Plugin
jQuery Geo
jQuery GPS

quite a list, I know. I think most of the names give away for what each of those plugins can be used for. If there are any more to add, you’re more than welcome to leave a comment.

Manipulating World Maps With jQuery

I didn’t expect to stumble upon this many resources at once, but it seems that there is a lot of options and styles to choose from. I’m a Web 2.0 guy, so style is pretty important to me; but so is the functionality, which we can see plenty of in this roundup.

cover by phauxington