Tools for Making Your Map Look Its Best

Tools for making your map look its best

We stress this one rule of cartography:

When you are making a map, it is made to be seen by others. A map is made to be displayed. The key to making an effective, legible map is neatness.


The Right Tools for a Beautiful Map

  • The best tools for student mapmakers are colored pencils and graphite pencils with very sharp points for labeling.
  • It is important to have a good eraser. You may make a mistake, or spell a name worng, or want to change the position of a label.
  •  A good pencil sharpener is helpful too.
  • A mechanical pencil is useful for labeling areas that are small.


  • Avoid using ballpoint pens and markers that cannot be erased.
  • Avoid using crayons — colored pencils allow finer detail and shading.