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Map (Item).png
Empty MapMap







Yes (64)

First appearances

See History

Data values
dec: 358 hex: 166 bin: 101100110
dec: 395 hex: 18B bin: 110001011

The Map is an item used to view explored terrain.

While held in the player's hand, a map will gradually draw itself as the player explores the world.[1] When the item is later selected, the player can see the area explored so far. In the Xbox 360 and PS3 Edition, the Player spawns with a map in their inventory upon creating a new world.

Each map is 128×128 total pixels. Depending on the scale of the map, a single pixel can represent many scales of areas, starting with an initial ratio of 1 pixel:1 block. Increasing the scale of the map can be achieved by crafting a wider map by surrounding an existing map with paper on a crafting table.

Since Infdev, Minecraft worlds have essentially unlimited area to explore. One map could not possibly cover an entire world. However, as the Xbox 360 and PS3 Editions only generate worlds covering 862 by 862 blocks, one map displays the entirety of the world. Different maps are aligned to a grid, making arrays of maps much easier to accomplish.

A completely explored map.
A map in the Nether
A diagram showing how maps zoom out.
Notice how the larger maps have borders made of half and quarter small maps.
From 1.8, zoomed maps are aligned to this grid exactly.


Ingredients Crafting recipe Description

Paper +

Paper Paper Paper Grid layout Arrow (small).png Empty Map
Paper Compass Paper
Paper Paper Paper

When you first create a map, it is blank. Hold the empty map and press use item to transform the empty map into a map item which gradually begins filling with information.

Zoom out[edit]

Ingredients Crafting recipe Description

Paper +

Paper Paper Paper Grid layout Arrow (small).png Map
Paper Map Paper
Paper Paper Paper

The output will be a zoomed-out version of the input map.
Please note: shift-clicking to retrieve a zoomed-out map will cause the eight extra sheets of paper to be consumed, but the map will be unchanged. The data from the old map will not be carried over to the new one. This is Minecraft Bug MC-87.

The zoom functions from the time you center the map (zoom level 0) to the largest size (zoom level 4).

Zoom step 0 Zoom step 1 Zoom step 2 Zoom step 3 Zoom step 4
1 map pixel represents 1 block 2×2 blocks 4×4 blocks 8×8 blocks 16×16 blocks
(1×1 chunk)
Map covers an area of 128×128 blocks 256×256 blocks 512×512 blocks 1024×1024 blocks 2048×2048 blocks
8×8 chunks 16×16 chunks 32×32 chunks 64×64 chunks 128×128 chunks
The total amount of paper needed to craft is 8 sheets 16 sheets 24 sheets 32 sheets 40 sheets

Maps before 1.8 zoom outward by expanding on the center of the level 0 map, equally in all directions. The center point X,Z coordinate will thus be the closest multiple of 128. This means to make a map wall using level 3 maps you need to create the maps at center points the map width apart. For traditional level 3 maps that is multiples of 1024 blocks apart. If this is not done maps could overlap, rather than align properly. A good recipe for a map wall is to generate level 3 maps at multiples of 1024.

Maps after 1.8 are always aligned to a grid at all zoom levels. That means zooming out any map in a specific area covered by that map will always have the same center, regardless of where the map was originally centered. As such maps will be aligned by map width (1024 blocks for a level 3 maps) minus 64. As such a level 3 map generated at spawn will cover X and Z coordinates from -64 to 960. All maps generated in this area will zoom out to the same coordinates, guaranteeing that they are always 'aligned' on a map wall.

Many players dislike this change as it means their base will not be 'near center' in a zoomed out map. However when exploring the world while mapping it, you can create the next map immediately on entering that new maps area. Previous to 1.8, you would need to make your way 'without a map' to the center point before you can create and zoom out the map, and then have to backtrack to fill in the area you just covered.


Ingredients Crafting recipe Description

Map +
Empty Map

Empty MapEmpty MapEmpty MapEmpty MapEmpty Map

Empty MapEmpty MapEmpty MapEmpty Map

Empty MapEmpty MapEmpty Map
Grid layout Arrow (small).png Map2Map3Map4Map5Map6Map7Map8Map9
Map Empty Map

Empty MapEmpty Map

Empty MapEmpty MapEmpty MapEmpty MapEmpty MapEmpty MapEmpty Map

Empty MapEmpty MapEmpty MapEmpty MapEmpty MapEmpty Map

Empty Map
Grid layout Shapeless.png

The output will have the same name and the same map center as the input map. Cloned maps are stackable.

The parts of the world that have already been explored and mapped will be copied, and newly explored areas will appear on both instances. In Creative Mode, cloned maps can be obtained by pick blocking on the map displayed on item frames (make sure the map is out of your inventory when using pick block, or else that map will just be moved into your active hotbar slot).


Each map is created with two parameters:

  • A map type, which can either be Overworld, Nether, or End, according to which realm it was created (first activated) in. If a map of any type is viewed in another realm, it shows whatever information had already been collected but it does not show the position/direction pointer, and moving about does not update it.
  • A center, which is where the empty map was transformed into a map (by holding it and pressing use item). The map center is fixed at the central point of the 8×8 block of chunks you are standing in when you activate it. However, in 1.8, the map center is based based off a fixed grid, explained elsewhere.

A map's parameters are fixed [2] when the map is created, meaning the map does not remain centered on the player. When the player leaves the map, the player pointer will transform into a white dot. Note that this sphere is not shown if the player is too far from the map's center: the radius is 320 blocks per level of zoom. This dot indicates on what side of the map you are. When placing a map into an item frame, the map will display with a green pointer shown at the location of the item frame. This is to help the player see where they are in relation to the area that the map is showing.

Crafting a map creates an empty map. The map will be drawn for the first time when it is held and used (with use item). To record the world on a map, that specific map item must be held in the player's hands while the player moves about the world. The world will be recorded as it is at exploration time, meaning that if the world is modified a player must revisit the area while holding the map in order to update the map's view. The player must look down to view a map. This avoids obstructing the player's view in front of them, but their view downward is still blocked, and this can be hazardous.

While maps in the Nether work, all that will be shown is a red and gray pattern. The only useful function is finding where you are in relation to where you made the map (the center), or have placed framed maps (green pointers). Additionally, the direction indicator rapidly spins and is not a good indicator of direction. Remembering that maps are north at the top and that the L corner of nether blocks points west is more reliable. As long as the map was created near a portal, that map's center will always be that portal. Maps are only somewhat useful for knowing which parts of The Nether you have explored, especially since you may be re-visiting the same map area at a different height. (This also applies in the Overworld, but is more important in the Nether due to the latter's form.)

Maps made in the End show the same red and gray pattern as the Nether. The direction indicator does work properly, however.

Map display[edit]

Each pixel of a map corresponds to a variably-sized area of the world, and is always aligned to X and Z coordinates that are multiples of 8. Generally, the color of a map pixel matches the color of the most common opaque block in the corresponding area, as seen from the sky. 'Minority blocks' in the target area have no effect on the color of the pixel, thus small features tend to be undetectable on zoomed-out maps.

Maps will also show ground up to about 15 blocks below the surface of the water in oceans as slightly lighter blue,so you can see where the ground rises. This is not true with land above water.

Maps are 128×128 pixels in size, giving coverage varying from 128×128 to 2048×2048 blocks (8×8 to 128×128 chunks) depending on their zoom factor.

Some relevant distances: 128 blocks (8 chunks) is the update radius from a player in the overworld. However, it is half this (64 blocks) in the End and the Nether. Also, 1024 blocks is the minimum Overworld distance from a Nether Portal, at which you can build another portal and expect to reach a new location in the Nether. This is the distance across a 1:8 (or old) map, and also from a 1:16 map's center to its edge.


Maps are mostly used to give the player a sense of direction when lost. In SSP it can also be used to re-locate mineral deposits. In SMP, the maps have a strong social aspect, as players are able to view others' maps and explorations by giving one another different maps. Maps are also an essential tool in PvP Servers, as to know where you and your enemies are located.

Maps also show elevation. Higher elevations in the world mean lighter colors on the map.

The map will record the surface even as you move through a cave, making it useful for determining if there are hazards (water, sand, lava) above you when you're digging a tunnel to the surface.

A player can make a large piece of pixel art facing upwards, center and map on it, and placed that map in a item frame to create custom picture.

See also: Tutorials/Mapping


Note: This video is outdated, it shows maps prior to update 1.4.2. Maps now operate differently.


1.6 Added maps.
On April 27, 2011, Notch unveiled screenshots of the map.[2]
1.6.6 The ability to auto-craft using shift-click was disabled.
1.8 Auto craft restored. Map cloning was therefore unavailable for a period of time.
1.8.1 The map will work both while walking and flying.
3 new symbols were added to the mapicons.png in minecraft.jar/misc.
Official release
1.0.0 Beta 1.9-pre5 Prior to this update, the Minecraft sun rose in the North, which threw off many players and led to a common misconception that Minecraft maps/worlds were oriented with East at the top. The sun now rises in the east and sets in the west, making navigation much more intuitive.
Before the change in sun position, it was commonly said that Minecraft maps/worlds are oriented with East at the top; sunrise, by definition, occurs at the East, which means it is certainly true that the maps were oriented "East" since the Sun rose from the top (North). However, Jeb asserted (and Notch agreed) that the Sun rose in the north.[3][4] Most mods and map-making tools, however, used the terms East and North consistent with their actual definitions (e.g. a Cartograph-generated map with North at the top is rotated 90 degrees from the in-game map).
1.4.2 12w34a Crafting a map now creates an empty map. The map will be drawn for the first time when it is held and right clicked, and will be centered near the location of the player when clicked (not as before where it was centered on the location it was crafted.)
Previously, in order to map a new area, the map had to be crafted in that area (rather than carrying a previously-crafted map to the new area). The point where a map is crafted becomes its permanent center, and could never be changed.
The pointer no longer disappears when leaving the map, but will transform into a white dot, indicating on what side of the map the player is located.
Notch said that he would try to make maps place-able on walls.[5] This feature was added with the addition of the item frame, making it possible to place maps on the wall. When placing a map into a item frame, the map will be shown and a green pointer will be placed at the location of the item frame.
Maps now align to a grid, making it easier to create adjacent maps.
Maps can be zoomed out (but not zoomed in)
Maps can be cloned and scaled.
12w34b Maps now have a zoom level, which was fixed at 1:8 prior to snapshot 12w34a,[2] but now starts at 1:1 and can be increased up to 1:16 by re-crafting an existing map.
Maps are no longer numbered on the top-left corner and is labeled through the tooltip.
12w36a New maps are crafted at a scale factor of 1:1. A zoomed in map can be zoomed out by re-crafting it with another 8 sheets of paper on a crafting table. Each time this is done, the scale increases - 1:1, 1:2, 1:4, 1:8, 1:16 with a map scale of 1:16 being the current maximum.
1.7.2 Increased map size when placed on a wall using the item frame.
Added more colors for different blocks.[6]
1.8 Zoomed maps now conform to an expanded grid based on their zoom level.
1.8.1 1.8.1-pre1 Changed some colors to more accurately represent their respective block.
Console Edition
TU1 Added maps.
TU20 Added empty maps


Issues relating to "Map" are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.


  • Use of the F1 key can allow the player to hold a map without blocking their view at all.
  • When edited into the player's inventory, the map's name (unless damage value was correctly specified) is always "map_x", where x is the number of the map. The first one will be map_0.
  • Maps, despite being made of paper, can be used in the rain and underwater.
  • Maps are currently the most heavily detailed object in Minecraft, having several times more pixels than a large painting as a map displayed in an item frame has 64×64 pixels, a texture resolution matched only by signs.
  • There can be no more than 65536 (216) unique maps per world.[7] If there are too many maps, when trying to craft one it will relay the message "Can't craft map: too many maps".[8]
    • The highest possible Map-ID is 32767
  • A map created using /give can be any map by using the data parameter to specify the map number desired. If no data value is supplied it will default to Map_0. If Map_0 has not ever been crafted, it will be centered on the original spawn point (not moved with beds).
    • If the damage value is larger than the numbers of maps created then it will give you a 1:8 map in that area (which used to be the default map in previous updates). E.g. /give [player] minecraft:filled_map 1 100 <dataTag> assuming that you have not already exceeded 100 maps it will give you a default map.
  • The map item currently only maps the surface, but Notch said that having "cave maps is an interesting idea".[9]
  • The maps are stored separately as their own data (.dat) file as map_x.dat with (x) being the map number, see map item format for more info. By manipulating this number, players can organize their maps to suit them, or if they accidentally create a map in the same location, they can delete their extra map so as to save the number they make.
  • Certain programs can be used to make customized maps with images or text on them instead of actual maps, many people use these in adventure maps to show pictures or to tell a story.
  • Unlike compasses brought into The Nether or The End, the direction indicator of the map crafted in the Nether randomly spins in slow motion.
  • In the future, there might be a way to allow maps to support more colors and texture pack customizations.[10]
  • Strangely, the newer Blank Map's texture is one pixel lower than the original map's texture.
  • Although a fourth color variant for every block was added in 1.7, as of 1.7.2 these are not used in default game-generated maps and can only be found in custom maps.
  • Since all copies of a map are links to the same file, copying an unfinished map will keep it synchronized with the copy as you fill it in. Thus, a copy stored in a chest can act as a remote backup.


See also[edit]


  1. a b c