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NPMap Builder (referred to as Builder in this documentation), is an online mapping tool used to build and deploy custom web maps. Using Builder, you can add and style custom data and then save, export and share your map.

There are several advantages to using Builder to create your web maps. Maps created with Builder follow the NPS graphic identity guidelines for visual media (black bar, Arrowhead, fonts, and color palettes), are responsive (they have optimal viewing performance on any device), and are accessible (keyboard navigation, focus indicators, and more!).

In this document, we'll take a closer look at Builder's interface and components.

Learning Goals:


From the NPS network, visit, which directs you to Builder's landing page. The first thing you will want to do is sign in.

Click "Sign in" on the top right-hand corner of the page's navigation bar. When prompted, enter the same credentials you use on your NPS computer.

Builder Landing Page

Once signed in, you will be redirected back to your customized Builder dashboard. Any maps that you've created with Builder will be listed under "Your Maps". You can use your dashboard to create a new map, sort through maps you've already built, and edit or view each of them.

Builder Dashboard


Start Building

To start building a map, click on "Start Building" from your dashboard. This will load the map building interface.

Map Title

Map Description

Both a title and description are required for your map. If you decide you want to change the title and description, you can do so at any time during the map building process.

Acknowledge Button



There are four main components to Builder's interface: the navigation header, the settings header, the map preview, and the building tools. Each one is described below in more detail.

Builder's Mapping Interface

Navigation Header

You can navigate back to your Builder dashboard by clicking on the "NPMap Builder" logo on the left-hand side of the navigation header. The steps listed on the right-hand side of the header are quick links that can be used to jump back-and-forth through the three steps of the map building process.

Navigation Header

Settings Header

The settings header displays the title and description of your map, and also contains a set of tools (the buttons on the right-hand side), that can be used at any time.

Settings Header

To change the title and/or description of your map, click on the text for either one to modify. Clicking will display the full title/description in an editable popup. Once you've modified the title and/or description, click the accept button to close the popup. You can also cancel the modifications at any time by clicking the "X" button.

Settings Header change title

The following tools are available on the right-hand side of the settings header, from left to right:

Settings Header Tools

Map Preview

The map portion of Builder acts as a live preview. As you make changes to your map with Builder, the map preview updates to reflect these changes. What you see in the map preview is exactly what the map will look like when embedded into an web page or map template. You can interact with the map like you would any other web map.

Builder Map Preview

Map Building Tools

The controls available on the left-hand panel, are the ones used to customize your map. Using this panel, you will be guided through the three steps necessary to build your map:

After one step is complete, you can either proceed to the next step or go back a step using the previous button in the panel. You can also use the quick links in the navigation header to jump between steps.

Map Building controls

Set Center & Zoom

The first step in Builder is to set the center and zoom of your map. By doing so, you are telling Builder which portion of the map you want to display on initial load and how far in and out the map should be allowed to zoom.

Set Center and Zoom

You should set the properties described above to best suit your data and the story you want your map to tell. If you choose not to set any center or zoom properties, your map will default to an initial zoom of 4 (~1:36M), be zoomable to zoom 19 (~1:1K), and be centered on the contiguous United States.

Add & Customize Data

The second step in creating your map with Builder is to customize the way your map looks and add overlays.

Edit Basemaps

With the "Edit Basemaps" option, you can change the default basemap (Park Tiles), select which basemaps you want available in your map, or choose to completely turn off the basemap. All of the basemaps available in Builder are ones that are licensed for use by the NPS.

Edit Basemaps

Once you have made your basemap choices hit "Save" to view the changes on your map.

Add an Existing Overlay

With this option, you can choose which hosted overlay type you would like to add, give it a name and any associated metadata, and link to the overlay's URL. It is important to remember that any overlay added to your map must be hosted.

The fields described below, vary depending on which overlay type is selected. To learn more about what overlay types Builder supports and their capabilities, see the Supported Overlay Types documentation.

Add an Existing Overlay

Fields for all overlay types:

Fields that appear depending on overlay type:

After clicking "Add to Map", your overlay will be added to the map with default symbology and the tools used to customize the overlay will be added to the left hand "Add & Customize Data" panel.

Overlay added to map

The tools available to customize your overlay, from left to right, are:

Customize overlay

Overlays can also be reordered. To reorder overlays in your map, simply grab one overlay and drag it above or below another overlay in the list.

Create a Dataset

This option is under development and will be released soon.

Tools & Behavior

Using the options under "Tools & Behavior", you can make decisions about how users will interact with your map and add capabilities like geocoding, printing, and measuring.

Tools and Behavior


The placement of each tool on your web map is based on both familiar web standards and graphic guidelines for web map components developed at NPMap to fit in seamlessly with NPS' graphic identity.












Behaviors define the way users are able to interact with your map.





Save & Export Map

After you've finished building your map with your custom data, styling, interactivity, tools and behaviors, the next step is to save and export your map.

From the "Tools & Behavior" panel, click on "Save & Export Map". At this point, Builder is saving your final map to your personal dashboard as well as assigning your map a unique id that can be used during the export process. Once the map is saved, the "Export Your Map" window is activated.

Save and Export Map

Using Builder, there are a few different ways to export your map:

In this tutorial we went over the basics of Builder including how to access your personal dashboard, how to start building, an overview of the interface and its components, as well as how to export your map.