Introducing custom map uploads

Today we’re introducing a new feature: you can now upload your own map files in Datawrapper to create Choropleth and Symbol maps. So now you can create a map like this:

We already have over 600 high quality maps that you can use right now and our map creator Anna is working hard to further expand our collection. You can always get in touch with us at [email protected] if you would like a specific map to be added to the list. If we think the map would be a useful addition, we will try to add it as quickly as possible.

However you might want to visualize data on a map which is highly tailored to your needs, for example to show your regional administrative areas which are not available as a map in our collection. This is a perfect case for the new custom map upload feature. You can create your map, upload it and use it to visualize your data.

Preparing your map

Before uploading your map, you (evidently) need a map file. You can use applications such as Mapshaper or QGIS to create and export the map. Some experience with these applications will come in handy.

To upload the map, it needs to be in TopoJSON or GeoJSON format. There are some further requirements, for example the file size may not exceed 2MB and the map should use the WGS-84 Coordinate System[1]. Please read the Academy article for detailed information on how to create a map and ensure that it works well as an upload.

Uploading a custom map

To upload, first choose a map type and then select your map file by clicking on the “Upload Map” button. Once uploaded, the map will appear in the preview and you can proceed to fill it with data in the next step, then refine it and finally publish it in the same way as you would with one of our built-in maps.

Custom upload

You might be asking yourself: will the uploaded map be automatically added to the public list of Datawrapper maps? The answer is: No. If you upload your own map file, only you will be able to use it. The next time you want to create a map using the same map file, you can upload the TopoJSON or GeoJSON again.


Map files are difficult to parse because geographical data can be structured in many different ways. We try to account for all possibilities, but there is a chance that your map might not get rendered 100% correctly. Please refer to the Academy article if you are experiencing problems when preparing and uploading your map. Also write to us at [email protected] or in the comments below if you have any comments or feedback – we’d love to hear what you think of this feature!

We hope that this feature will let you create exactly the maps you’ll need. Your imagination is your limit. Here’s a map we created of the neighborhood around the Datawrapper office:

Try out the custom map upload here and happy mapping!


  1. WGS-84 is a Geographic Coordinate System (a system which defines real world location points on a 3 dimensional digital surface) that uses longitude and latitude units of decimal degrees. WGS-84 is the current standard specification of GeoJSON format.

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