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. 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.
When you first create a map, it is blank. On the first right-click, an empty map becomes a map item and gradually begins filling with information.
To craft a map from scratch, the player needs nine sugar cane (every three pieces of sugar cane makes three sheets of paper), four iron ore, fuel to smelt that ore, a piece of Redstone (requires an iron pickaxe or better) and access to a crafting table and furnace.
 Zoom out
The output will be a zoomed-out version of the input map.
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
|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 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. You will obtain as many cloned maps as empty maps, up to a maximum of 9. 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 right clicking it]. The map center is fixed at the central point of the 8×8 block of chunks you are standing in when you right-click it.
A map's parameters are fixed  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 right clicked. 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. Use of the F1 key can allow the player to hold a map without blocking their view at all, which is useful for exploring.
While maps in the Nether work, it has a ceiling, and all that will be shown is red and gray. 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 a similar red and gray pattern, despite the lack of a (visible) ceiling. The direction indicator does work properly, however.
 Map display
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 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: 10 chunks is the usual update radius from a player; servers can be configured to raise this up to 15, but regardless, step 3 zoom covers the entire range from its map origin. 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.
See also: Tutorials/Mapping
- Note: This video shows maps prior to update 1.4.2. The new maps operate slightly differently.
|On April 27, 2011, Notch unveiled screenshots of the map.|
|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.|
|1.9pre5||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. 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. 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, 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 pieces 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||Increased map size when placed on a wall using the item frame.|
|Added more colors for different blocks.|
- 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.
- There can be no more than 65536 (216) unique maps per world. If there are too many maps, when trying to craft one it will relay the message "Can't craft map: too many maps".
- A map created using the "give" command 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).
- The map item currently only maps the surface, but Notch said that having "cave maps is an interesting idea".
- 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 customised 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.
- Strangely, the newer Blank Map's texture is one pixel lower than the original map's texture.
- In the Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition and PS3 Edition, when players create a world, they begin with a map in their inventory.
- When using the /give command if the damage value is larger than the numbers of maps created than it will give you the default 1:8 map which would is the default map (in that area) in previous updates. E.g. /give [Player] 358 1 100. Assuming that you have not already exceeded 100 maps it will give you a default map.
- The highest possible Map-ID is 32767
Issues relating to "Map" are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.
A map mapping the Sky Dimension. Only works in SMP
Maps can be placed into item frames so they can be viewed together.