Note that development of Mapmaker has now ceased in favour of the online Freemap software. However, Mapmaker remains available as it may well be of interest to you, but you might also want to check the Freemap site.

Also note that for copyright reasons, if you are using grid references within Mapmaker, they must be GPS derived and not taken from an Ordnance Survey map.

Welcome to the home page of Mapmaker , a program to easily construct simple maps of the countryside for the purpose of illustrating walks (and indeed cycle rides for that matter), particularly descriptions ended for online publication.


  • Integration of grid references for easy construction of accurate maps, plus the ability to overlay grid lines to make the construction even easier;
  • Variable map resolution, size and background colour;
  • Automatic distance measuring and route illustration;
  • Different, and alterable, coloured pens for footpaths, bridleways, roads, rivers, walk routes, railways and annotations;
  • A range of built-in icons for common features, such as houses, farms, churches, the all-important pub, peaks, ponds, stations, car parks and more, plus the ability to load in your own custom icons;
  • Annotation with horizontal, vertical or sloping text;
  • Height shading;
  • Images can be saved in either the now-standard PNG format, the BMP format for manipulation by other programs, or Mapmaker’s own format for later use;

An example of a map constructed by Mapmaker: the countryside northwest of Fernhurst, West Sussex. Roads are in black; footpaths in green and bridleways in brown. Resolution is 10 pixel points per 0.1km.


Linux (and other Unix)

Mapmaker is licenced under the well-known Gnu General Public Licence (GPL). The following packages are available for Linux and other Unix:

  • Source code
  • Source code plus binary executable. This will definitely run on Mandrake 8.0 and maybe on other distros; in particular it’s likely to run on anything with glibc 2.2/Qt 2.3 which probably includes RedHat and SuSE versions from 2001/02.

The main dependency is Trolltech’s Qt GUI library, version 2 or 3; make sure you have the development package installed (typically qt-devel or somesuch). Full installation instructions are included in the INSTALL file in the distribution; there is now a new “configure” script which should make installation easy if you have a recent Linux distribution with Qt 2.x and don’t have Qt 1.x or KDE1 still lying around.


  • If you’re using the version with the executable, most of the installation does not apply; however, you still need to do the make install to install the executable and data files, and set the MAPDATA environment variable. See the appropriate sections of INSTALL.
  • The source is best viewed with a tab size of 4; if you’re using VIM, create a .vimrc file in your home directory and add the line set ts=4.



  • Self-extracting executable.

This will install itself when you save it to the desktop and click; a reboot is required. Note that the install will not work on Windows NT/2000/XP unless you then manually set the environment variable MAPDATA to point to the pics subfolder of the Mapmaker installation folder.

The Windows version has a slightly altered licence due to the use of the Non-commercial edition of the Qt library; see the licence file for more details.

Previous versions

To save space, only source code tarballs have been included.

  • Mapmaker 0.3
  • Mapmaker 0.3.1
  • Mapmaker 0.3.2
  • Mapmaker 0.4

History of Mapmaker

Recently I have done a couple of long distance walks across England. I have written up some of the route here , but ran into problems when attempting to illustrate it. The good old Ordnance Survey take the same sort of attitude as, sadly, too many large organisations when it comes to online publication, in that they prohibit segments of OS map to be uploaded for the purpose of illustrating a walk. Thus I was restricted to large-scale maps of each day’s walk, with no detail.

Not knowing anything about graphical interface programming at the time, and not really having the time to learn it, I just had to leave it at that. But recently I have been inspired to look into this area and wanted an initial project to aim for, something not too complicated but nonetheless worthy. I then recalled my earlier troubles with illustrating my walks and, so, Mapmaker was the result….

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