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Map Maker

Map Maker
Map Maker Demo
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Create an interactive map in minutes

1. file download icon Download Download StatPlanet Map Maker and extract the files to your computer.
2. folder open icon Open In the folder 'World_Map', open StatPlanet_data_editor. Make sure macros are enabled. Press the 'Clear data' button to remove the example data.
3. database import icon Import Press the Import data button and select a file containing data you wish to import. You can also add data manually using any spreadsheet software.
4. save icon Save Press the 'Save data' button. This saves the data to the file data.csv.
5. world icon View Click on StatPlanet.exe Flash Icon to view the results.
6. publishing icon Publish Copy the contents of the folder 'Web' to your website to publish it online.

See also:

Loading shapesfiles (SHP) in StatPlanet
Designing your own maps using Adobe Flash
Examples of interactive maps created with StatPlanet

For a shorter video, see Create an interactive map in 60 seconds

Contents of

Publish your data visualizations online:

To publish StatPlanet Map Maker online, all you need to do is to upload the contents of the folder Web to the website (web-server). This folder contains the following files:

Enable macros in Excel:

When you open StatPlanet_Data_Editor.xls you will normally get a message asking you whether you wish to enable macros. The message depends on the version of Excel.

If you do not receive this message, the macro security level in Excel is set to high. Follow the instructions below to change the security level to a lower setting.

See also these Excel help pages for Excel 2007 or Excel 2003.

User Guide - Table of Contents

* Download the full StatPlanet User Guide (PDF)


A: Importing data

Using the included StatPlanet Data Editor, it is possible to import data automatically (see also adding data manually). The Data Editor is Excel-based, so data can be imported from many different file formats (including CSV, TXT, XLS, XLSX, DBF and HTML).

The Data Editor automatically recognizes the structure of the data in the file being imported. It also recognizes the vast majority of the many possible variations of country names. The import should therefore go smoothly in most cases without having to make any changes to the data file.

The Data Editor uses the names in the Excel sheet ‘Import names’ and looks for corresponding names and statistics in the data file (in the world map version, this sheet contains country names, but it can also contain for example region names or district names, depending on the map used). The Data Editor automatically restructures the data in the format that is accepted by StatPlanet.

A criterion for the import to be successful is that any country name only appears once in the data file being imported. Also note that StatPlanet sees a "dot" as the decimal separator.

Importing HTML or PDF files

Headers not recognized

Headers (or variables) in the data file which are not recognized are displayed once the import is complete. For example, if in your data file the country ‘Afghanistan’ is indicated with the abbreviation ‘Afg', this abbreviation will not be recognized by the data editor. To fix the problem, go to the Excel sheet Import names' and add ‘Afg’ in an empty cell below the corresponding country - ‘Afghanistan'. You can use the same approach for other headers in your data set so that the import macro can correctly identify them. Then, run the import macro again to import the data correctly.

Note that the import macro removes spaces in country names and converts special characters (e.g. "é") into regular characters (e.g. "e") during the import. This allows for a wider range of country name spellings to be detected. Whether country names use upper or lowercase does not matter. The data import macro recognizes English and French country name spellings and a number of variations of these spellings. Automatic data importing has been successfully tested with many different sources of data with different data structures and country name variations, including the CIA Factbook, Ethnologue, IMF, ITU, Nation Master, OECD, UBS, UIS, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNSTATS, WHO and the World Bank.

The Data Editor is registered as an open source project on SourceForge and any contributions or improvements you make to the software are very welcome.

B: Troubleshooting

The following issues can cause the import to fail:

  1. Spelling of country names: If the spelling of any of the country names cannot be identified, the data for these countries will not be imported. See the text above to solve this problem.

  2. Merged cells: Most commonly the merged cells are 'headers' For example, two columns or rows of data may have the same header (e.g. "Life Expectancy"). To fix this problem, split the merged cells (Right click -> Format Cells -> uncheck the box 'Merge cells'). One of the two cells will now be empty, leaving one of the columns (or rows) without a header. To fix this, copy and paste the header into the empty cell as shown below.

    Life Expectancy
    Life Expectancy
    Life Expectancy

  3. Country names appear more than once: If country names appear more than once in your data file, the import macro will only import the data associated with the first one. The easiest way to fix this problem is to create separate files for each list of country names, and import them one by one.

  4. No year indicated in the data file, or cannot be detected:
    All indicators are arranged according to year. You need to add the year to your data set as the header of a row or column (depending on how your data is structured). Alternatively, you can import the data and add the year afterwards. The data needs to be structured as follows (see for example the structure of the sample data in StatPlanet_data_editor.xls):

C: Decimal point

StatPlanet reads a "dot" as decimal separator (for example 0.75), and a "comma" as a thousands separator (for example 1,000). This Wikipedia article on decimal points explains the notational system used in different countries.

D: General settings and customizations

General settings for customizing StatPlanet can be found in the Excel sheet ‘Settings’. After making any changes to the settings, press the button Save Setting. You can try out most of the different options ‘live’ in StatPlanet through the general options panel and the map legend options panel. See below for customizing StatPlanet at an indicator or category level (for example, specify different map colors for different indicators).

E: Customizations and metadata at category & indicator level

With max / min values hidden

With max / min values shown

> 70

70 - max value







< 55

min value – 55




















F: Country specific information and/or links

G: Adding data for other map areas or regions

StatPlanet Map Maker comes with a map template for importing your own map. This requires Adobe Flash CS3 or later. For more information, see importing your own map into StatPlanet.

See below if you wish to add a few territories using the included world map.

Adding territories (or other categories of data) to the world map version:

You can include new territories (or other data categories, such as averages) in the world map version of StatPlanet Map Maker, which will appear in the 'graph window'. This can be done as follows:

  1. Open StatPlanet_data_editor.xls and in the worksheet "Import" go all the way to the last country at the end of row 2.
  2. In the empty cells in row 2, add the names of your new data types (for example “Sub-Saharan Africa”).
  3. Press the button Save data. The names of your new data types have now been added.

You may also wish to download StatPlanet Graph Maker to visualize other kinds of data.

H: Custom ‘zoom-to’ map regions
You can add, remove or change the region names in the worksheet ‘Map regions’. For example, in a world map a custom region could be Africa. Clicking on Africa from StatPlanet’s region selection drop-down menu would zoom into the African continent and display map and graph data only for African countries.
Map regions have the following elements:

I: Adding data directly (with or without Excel)
You can edit the data files data.csv and settings.csv directly without using the Excel-based Data Editor. These two files can be edited using any spreadsheet software.

The data needs to be saved as a CSV ('comma separated values') file.

J: Language and translation
To change the language, see the Excel sheet 'settings' in the StatPlanet Data Editor. To modify a translation or add a new language translation, see the Excel sheet ‘Text-Translations’. StatPlanet is available in the following languages: