Minecraft: Here’s How To Read Maps (& Know in Which Directions to Go)

How tu use maps in Minecraft

When you have a world as vast and detailed as Minecraft’s it always comes in handy to have any kind of navigational tools. It’s pretty easy to lose sight of your base if you decide to wander too far in your search for resources and other landmarks. That’s why maps were introduced. Although maps in Minecraft are not as convenient as in most other games, they’re at least something. Today’s guide is going to tell you everything there is to tell about Minecraft maps and most importantly, how to use them. Let’s see how to read Maps in Minecraft and know in which directions to go.

  • Article Breakdown:
  • To read a map in Minecraft you need to open it by right-clicking on it while it’s in your inventory.
  • You can read maps in Minecraft as long as they are in your hands. When it comes to navigation, the top of the map is always north, the bottom is always south, the left is west and the right is east.
  • To find the direction you are facing press f3. and then walk in the opposite direction until you appear on a map. From there, it gets easier and you can navigate easily. 

Maps are navigational tools

Maps allow you to make sense of your general surroundings. Maps show landmarks, natural features, and places of interest. They can be crafted as well as found. Every map your craft is by default empty in the sense that it shows nothing. It gets filled with visual information regarding your position when you use it the first time. You use a map by right-clicking on it, your character appears as an oval greyish pointer on it.

map in minecraft
A map in Minecraft

How to make maps in Minecraft? 

You can craft maps in Minecraft by combining a compass and paper, or just paper. There are differences between those types of maps of course. Maps can also be found. There are several ways to craft maps in Minecraft: 

  1. combining 8x paper and 1x compass at a crafting table provides you with an empty map that becomes filled when you use it the first time.
  2. In Bedrock edition you can combine 9x pieces of paper at a crafting table to get a new blank map. The thing about maps crafted without a compass is, they don’t show you location markers. Those maps can be upgraded eventually with the compass at the crafting table, cartography table, and anvil
  3. You can craft a map with a single sheet of paper by using a cartography table, with or without a compass.

Maps can also be found while looting chests in shipwrecks, strongholds, and villages so crafting is not your only option. Cartographer villagers can also provide you with a map if you have 7 emeralds to spare. 

crafting a map
Crafting a map in Minecraft

Maps are not rare by any means, they are easy to acquire as long as you know the right places to look for them.


Minecraft: How To Combine Maps? (& Use Them)

How do you read a map in Minecraft?

To read a map in Minecraft you need to use it to record your environment first. Every blank map will record your surroundings as long as you hold them in your hands. The maps record area as is, which means if you make some pretty drastic changes to the environment they will not show up on a map automatically. You need to go to the altered area and re-record the surroundings by holding a map. 

The map generally functions in the following way. 

  • North is always up, south is always bottom, left is east, and right is west. 
  • When created map will never center on you, maps in Minecraft work by mapping invisible grids, those grids are used to break up the world of Minecraft into several easier-to-manage areas. The map will be centered in the middle of that grid. To find the direction you are facing press f3 and start moving in the opposite direction until you show up on a map in the form of a greyish oval pointer. 
  • You can zoom in on your map. 
  • Maps can be cloned by using a cartographer’s table, that way several “cloned” maps can be updated without really walking around with them. 
  • Other players will show up on a map as long as they have a clone of the map you are holding in their inventory. 

Cartography tables can be found in the villager’s houses and can be obtained by any tool. Even though you can manipulate your maps “by hand” cartography tables unlock several other functions such as map cloning and map locking and are a useful tool to have. 

cloning a map in minecraft
Cloning a map in Minecraft

If you’ve crafted the map with a compass several world features and places of interest will show up on it such as woodland mansions and ocean monuments. We’ve already mentioned that other players show up as well but under specific circumstances. Buried treasure shows up as well, it takes on the icon of the red X marked on the map. 

How to mark a place on a map in Minecraft? 

You can mark a specific location on a map in Minecraft by activating it on a banner placed in the world. Marking maps in Minecraft allows you to:

  • name locations
  • choose a color for a specific location. 

That can be done by changing the color of the banner and naming a specific banner in the world. Every change you made on the placed banner will show up on your map during the next map update. 

If the specific banner gets destroyed or removed, a map update is needed as well to reflect real-time environment change. 

marking a map in minecraft
Icon on the map depends on the color of the set banner


50 Best Minecraft Banner Designs

To summarize everything, maps are a useful tool when it comes to navigation in Minecraft, although they are a bit more complicated to use compared to other games. They are easy to craft but can be somehow difficult to understand at first. The most important thing to remember is that the maps always have fixed points on them and that they need to be regularly updated if you’re making some drastic changes to your environment.

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