I'm creating alternate history and I need to plot my modifications on actual maps.

I'm looking for an online tool (website) where you can add drawings on a base map with precision, zoom it in and out like you can on e.g. Google Maps and save it. (I don't want to work with maps as downloaded images because it would have to be very large files, that's why I'm looking an advice for an online tool.)

I mean something like e.g. Google My Maps, GmapGIS, Scribblemaps etc. but all these have some limitations so I’d appreciate knowing about other options.

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    $\begingroup$ Hello, Martin L, and welcome to Worldbuilding. This question is interesting but extremely opinion-based. Perhaps you could edit to clarify exactly what would make one tool better than another? Please visit our help center and take the tour to learn more about the site. Have a nice day! $\endgroup$
    – Gryphon
    Jul 1, 2018 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ Agree with Gryphon. It would help reduce the "opinion based" complaint if you spelled out some parameters that you will require of the tool. What are your specific needs? (I won't have an answer, but as asked, you're bound to get "I like XYZ because..." answers that will not likely help you or anyone who reads your question in the future. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Jul 1, 2018 at 18:11
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    $\begingroup$ "Best tool" for drawing on "Some map service" is way too opinion based (best being completely subjective) - For example, I personally use Photoshop to do ANY and ALL art related stuff because it's basically limitless. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Jul 1, 2018 at 18:18
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    $\begingroup$ Click here for additional clarification from HDE 226868. You need to edit your question to remove the word "best" and explain what limitations the other software have that you're trying to avoid and/or what features are missing that you need. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 3, 2018 at 0:16

2 Answers 2


For me this is simple, print the area you're interested in and hand draw your "corrections", scan it if you need an electronic copy for some reason. I really do believe that hand drawn maps are always the best option as a starting point.

If you really must use a computer for the whole process, then the only way I know of to over draw on an existing map is to sample the area you need from Google Maps, or wherever, as an image file and then use your choice of image editing software, like MS Paint, Corel, Photoshop, etc... there is a very long list available these days. Depending on the complexity and level of detail you'll want different software to make life easier Paint is very simple for simple things and very time consuming for fine details but I've used it to digitize hand drawn maps with some success in the past. I prefer a card backed master map and tracing paper to copy sections that I want to work on or hand out if it's for an RPG though.



ArcGIS, produced by ESRI, is perhaps the only tool I use for map markup and analysis. It’s possibly overkill for you because it’s insanely powerful, but I find that I just don’t use many of the tools if I don’t need them. It does have a bit of a learning curve but once I picked up the hang of it I never wanted to go back.

I don’t have a ton of experience with the free version, but it looks like it still has all the functionality you need. The Desktop version is retired but still downloadable, and there are iOS and Android designs still undergoing development.

  • $\begingroup$ I thought about some of the GIS software I used in remote sensing but I like you thought it was overkill. I mean don't get me wrong it will work I just think it's fly meets elephant gun time. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Jul 1, 2018 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Ash Yeah, especially just for drawing on maps. However, the drawing tools are pretty intuitive and decently implemented, plus I've had some inspiring moments where I realized I could add layers to a map that I hadn't even thought about. Up to the asker, I guess! $\endgroup$
    – Dubukay
    Jul 1, 2018 at 14:29

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