How to make a map in 'Minecraft' to keep track of your location and world
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  • Post published:22/04/2021
  • Post last modified:22/04/2021
  • 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.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

“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. 

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.
Emma Witman/Insider

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.
Emma Witman/Business Insider

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.
Emma Witman/Insider

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.
Emma Witman/Insider

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.
Emma Witman/Insider

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.
Emma Witman/Insider

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

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