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How to make a map in 'Minecraft' to keep track of your location and world

  • You can make a map in “Minecraft” by combining a compass with eight pages of paper.
  • If you hold a map as you travel, it’ll track your location and record information about the land around you.
  • Once you’ve made a map in “Minecraft,” you can craft banners to mark off special points in the world.

“Minecraft” worlds are massive, and it’s easy to get lost if you stray too far from your base. To keep yourself on track, you could erect beacons, use torches — or simply draw a map.

You can craft, trade for, or find maps throughout your “Minecraft” world. These maps will help you figure out where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re headed to. And once you’ve got a map, you can even add your own custom markers, which is great for noting your land’s most interesting features.

Here’s how to get your hands on a map in “Minecraft,” and then use it.

How to make or find a map in ‘Minecraft’

There are three ways to get a map in “Minecraft:” make one, trade for one, or find one in a chest.

Crafting a map

To make a map in Minecraft, you’ll need one compass and eight pieces of paper. Both the paper and compass can be crafted with raw materials that you’ll dig and scavenge for within your world.

Important: If you’re playing “Minecraft: Bedrock Edition,” you can also combine nine pieces of paper for a basic map that will still draw the land around you, but won’t track your location.

“Bedrock Edition” will also let you start a new game with a map already equipped. Just toggle on “Starting Map” in the World Preferences menu before creating the world.

Firstly, paper. Paper is crafted from sugar cane, one of the most common resources around. Sugar cane grows near water in both swamp and desert biomes. Placing three pieces of sugar cane in a row on your crafting table will give you three pieces of paper. This means that you’ll need at least nine pieces of sugar cane for your map.

Crafting pieces of sugar cane together will give you paper.

Secondly, a compass. You can make one of these with four iron ingots and one piece of redstone dust. You can find iron ore and redstone dust easily when mining, especially as you get nearer to the bottom of the world. You’ll need an iron pickaxe or better to mine redstone.

Both iron and redstone can be found in underground caves.

Note: Redstone ore often spawns near lava, so be careful when mining.

Once you have at least one piece of redstone dust and four iron ore blocks, smelt the ore into four iron ingots with a furnace. Then at a crafting table, place the four ingots in four spaces adjacent to the center block, where you’ll place the redstone dust.

Place ingots in each of the cardinal directions, and some redstone dust in the center.

Once you have your materials, you can finally make a map. Place the compass in the center slot of the 3×3 crafting table area, and insert a paper in each of the other nine slots.

You now have an empty map, ready to be filled out.

An empty map looks like a yellowed sheet of paper.

Finding a map

“Craft” is obviously in the game’s name for a reason — most everything you use in-game can be crafted.

But you can also try your luck at acquiring an empty map in one of your world’s treasure chests. Treasure chests in sunken shipwrecks have about an eight percent chance of holding a map; the chest in a stronghold’s library has about a 11 percent chance; and the cartographer’s chest in a village has an almost 50 percent chance.

That said, if you’ve managed to find a cartographer, you can also talk to them to buy a map for seven or eight emeralds.

You can place a cartography table in the path of an unemployed villager to create a cartographer, if you can’t find one already in the village.

How to use a map in ‘Minecraft’

Now you have an “empty map,” which isn’t particularly helpful. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix.

Simply equip and “use” the map to instantly draw a picture of everything around you. The game will also now assign a number to the map so it won’t be called empty anymore.

As you walk around with the map up, more and more of your surroundings will be filled in. You can track yourself with the tiny white marker.

A filled out map of a village.

Of course, your “Minecraft” world is bigger than what’s shown on the map. Once you leave its range, either make a new map to keep tracking yourself, or zoom your original map out.

You can zoom out your map by combining it with eight more pieces of paper at a crafting table, or only one more piece of paper at a cartography table. This can be done up to four times, and each zoom level doubles the map’s current range.

Upgrade your maps to see more of the landscape.
Emma Witman/Insider

Marking a location on your map using a banner

Your map will be even more valuable once you’ve added custom location markers. Markers will show up on your map as colored dots, which is great if you need to make note of a specific location.

To place a marker, you’ll need to first make a banner. Banners can be crafted by placing six pieces of wool (they need to be the same color) in the top two rows, and one stick in the bottom-middle slot of your crafting table. You’ll also want to name the banner using an anvil, which will cost an experience point.

Make and name a banner.

Once you have your banner, travel to the spot you want to mark and place the banner down. Then, holding the map, use it on the banner.

If you did it right, you’ll see a dot show up on your map, with the same color and location as the banner you placed.

Other than the markers you add yourself, you won’t see too many other icons on the map. As noted, you’re indicated with a pointed white dot. Other players will be shown with this same white dot.

Your banners will appear on the map with their given names.