Annotating maps

Annotations offer a way to highlight specific areas on the map and provide additional information about them. They remain fixed to the map so that they move appropriately when the user zooms, pans, or scrolls.

Types of annotations

Social Explorer offers several different kinds of annotations to enhance your map. These include: 

Creating annotations

To add an annotation to your map, follow these steps:

  1. In the upper-right corner, click the menu icon.
  2. Select Annotate Map.
  3. Select the annotation type that works best for you

Different annotation types are added in slightly different ways. For example, to add an arrowfreehand, shape, or a hotspot, you need to draw the annotation on the map by clicking and dragging. To add a marker, text label, or an image, simply click anywhere on the map. To add a line or a polygon, click on the map to add each point, and double click to finish drawing.

Customizing annotations

Let’s go through all annotation types and look at their customization options.


Once you draw an arrow, you will get the arrow annotation menu. You can enter the name of the arrow, as well as tweak its width. Enter the starting width in the From width field, and the ending width in the To width field. If you use different values for these fields, the width of the arrow will gradually change from the bottom of the arrow towards the tip. You can also set the width of the arrow tip in the Tip width. 
After setting the width, you can play around with the fill. By default, arrows in Social Explorer are filled with black color, but you can either disable the fill or use a different color.

Another element of the arrow you can play around with is the stroke. This is a line around your annotation, and you can set it anywhere from none to extra thick in the Weight dropdown, or change its color.

And lastly, you can tweak the arrow’s opacity. The lower the opacity, the more see-through the arrow is.

Freehand line

After drawing the freehand line, you can edit it by dragging one of the dots on the line. Of course, you can enter its name and set its weight, as well as color. You can also tweak the opacity. Just like with the arrow, the lower the opacity, the more see-through the arrow is.

Shape drawing

Just like with the rest of the annotation types, you can set the title of the shape, enable or disable the fill, and set the fill color. Setting the stroke will affect the line around the shape, and you can play around with its weight and color, as well as opacity.


Hotspot is used to mark an area of interest on your map. It allows you to set its title, play around with the weight and color of the frame, and set its opacity.


Social Explorer allows you to embed an image as an annotation. After you select the location for the image, you can set its title, upload the file, and tweak rotation, opacity. If you want to resize the image, you can drag one of the corners to resize the image maintaining the original aspect ratio.

Place marker

You can drop the pin and mark any place on the map. Once you place it, you can set its title, and even make the title visible on the map by toggling Show title on map. Furthermore, you can tweak the position, size, and color of the title. We included a few dozens of different icons for the marker, and you can play around with its size and color, as well as opacity.


After you finish drawing the line, you can set its title, weight and color, as well as opacity.


Polygon offers a few more options than the line annotation. You can set its title, enable the fill, choose the fill color, and tweak the weight and color of the stroke. As with the other annotations, you can play around with the opacity. 


Text annotations allow you to edit the label text, as well as the size and the color of the text. You can also add halo – an option similar to stroke on other annotation types. If you enable halo, color outline will appear around the letters, and you can set its color, width, and blur level. Also, you can play around with text rotation and opacity. 

Managing annotations (edit, delete, copy/paste)

All your annotations will be listed in the annotations menu on sidebar. To edit an annotation, click on it in the sidebar, and tweak the settings individually. To delete, click on the Delete button in the bottom of the sidebar. To return to the annotations list, click the Back button at the top of the sidebar.

To delete multiple annotations click the Edit button above the list, select as many as you like and click on the Delete button. You can also copy/paste multiple annotations in this manner.

Customizing annotation legend

If you want to include a map legend, simply toggle the Show map legend option. All annotations will have a default title, so you will want to set proper title for each. 

  1. Click Edit legend.
  2. Click the pencil icon next to the annotation text. 
  3. Enter the text and click Save or Cancel to return without saving the changes. 

If you want to hide a certain annotation from the legend, uncheck its box. Keep in mind, that the annotation will still be visible on the map until you delete it.