Need to display any type of map on your WordPress site? In my Maps Marker Pro review, I’ll show you how this flexible WordPress map plugin can help you create your own custom maps with markers, filtering, and a whole lot more.
Maps Marker Pro Review: What All The Plugin Does
Maps Marker Pro brands itself as “the most comprehensive geo-content management system” for WordPress. Let’s unpack what that actually means…
First off, Maps Marker Pro is not just a Google Maps plugin. While you certainly can use Google Maps with it, it also supports other map services including:
- Open Street Map (the default option, and what I used for the example above)
- Your own custom solution (yes, you can even upload your own custom mapping layer)
Using your chosen mapping solution, you can create your own custom maps with as many location markers as needed. Maps Marker Pro lets you add markers right from your WordPress dashboard, including a tool to auto-suggest addresses, which helps speed things up a lot.
- Use custom marker icons
- Add “clustering” to your markers
- Include filters to let visitors filter out specific categories of markers
- Display a list of markers to go along with your map
You can also use as many map layers as you want, which gives your viewers the choice to change how the map looks (like switching between a map or satellite view). You can even let people open markers in the augmented-reality app by layar.com, which lets you add an augmented reality feel to your maps.
If you want to help people navigate, you can also include directions via your choice of service.
All in all, this plugin is pretty cool and lets you get really nitty-gritty with how your maps function. Let’s check it out…
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Hands-On With Maps Marker Pro: Creating A Custom Map
Alrighty, time to get hands-on with this Maps Marker Pro review. Below, I’ll show you how it all works on my own WordPress site.
Once you install and activate the plugin, you can start creating your maps right away. There are also some basic configuration settings, but I’ll show you those after the fun stuff.
Creating A New Map
To create your first map, you head to Maps Marker Pro → Add new map.
Here, you’re first able to choose the location for your map, as well as basic settings like the height/width and the default zoom level.
I’ll create a map for Hanoi, Vietnam, which is where I’m currently living.
Choosing your map’s default location is as simple as searching for it in the search box:
I’m using the default OpenStreetMap maps, but remember that you can use other mapping solutions, including Google Maps.
I also increased the zoom level a bit to get a more zoomed-in map.
Next, you can hop over to the Layers tab. This tab lets you choose which layers are available for visitors to choose from. Remember how Google Maps lets you switch between map, satellite, etc? It’s like that, except you have full control over all the choices.
You can see how the choices that you make on the left show up as actual options on the right:
The plugin also gives you a lot more control over your maps in the other tabs…
- Controls – lets you change the icons for various map controls
- Markers – lets you customize how map markers work, like whether or not to show a tooltip and enable “clustering” for markers (I’ll show you clustering in more detail because it’s pretty cool)
- Filters – lets you add map filters. This is more useful once you have map markers, so I’ll come back to this feature later.
- List – lets you configure how the list of map markers works, including what information to include. Again, I’ll show you this later on.
- Interaction – lets you control what actions visitors can take, like whether or not they’re able to zoom or drag the map.
I’ll show you in more detail how some of these settings play out once I add some map markers. Speaking of…
Adding Map Markers
Without any markers, there’s not much to look at on your map.
For my Maps Marker Pro review, I’m going to pretend that I’m creating a map of street food in Hanoi. As such, I’ll need to add location markers for my favorite street food spots.
To create a new marker, you go to Maps Marker Pro → Add new marker. Then, it’s really simple. You just:
- Give it a name
- Search for the address in the address box (the plugin will automatically suggest addresses to help you find the right spot)
- Give it an icon (you can choose from the included icon selection where you can choose between 1000+ different icons for free or upload your own)
- Assign the marker to one of your maps
Further down, you can also add content to a text editor. This is the content that will appear when a user clicks on the map icon:
One nice thing is the option to Save current values as defaults for new markers. This helps you more efficiently add new markers because you don’t need to mess with configuring default settings that will be the same across all markers (like the icon that you use or the map that you want to associate it with).
Now, you just need to repeat the process for all the markers that you want to add (the plugin also gives you a tool to bulk import markers – more on that later).
Digging Back Into The Map Settings
Now that I have some map markers, I want to go back into the general map settings because I can now show you how some of the more advanced functionality works.
Clusters are a useful feature for showing the density of map markers and handling different zoom levels. You’ve probably seen this effect on maps before, you just might not know it by this name.
Basically, the map will only show individual markers when the user is zoomed in to a sufficient level. Otherwise, it will show a “cluster” icon that lists how many map markers there are in that area of the map.
You can see the difference in this screenshot below:
This is a really useful feature for a variety of areas. For example, if you’re creating a map of real estate locations, you can show the density of listings in various neighborhoods.
Filters let you give visitors the option to filter out a specific category of markers. For example, if you had a map with:
- Street food
- Sit-down restaurants
You could let people choose to only see street food markers, or see street food and sit-down restaurants but not cafes.
To create filters, you need to create a separate map for each filter option that you want to offer. For example, you would create three additional maps for the three categories above and assign the markers as needed.
Then, you can add those maps in the Filters tab:
Editing The Marker List
By default, Maps Marker Pro shows a list of all the markers underneath the map. The List tab lets you:
- Turn this off
- Change the position (e.g. display it beside the map instead)
- Control exactly what information shows up in the list, like whether or not to include the marker’s address
How To Display Your Map On The Front-End
Once you’re happy with your map’s settings, it’s super easy to display on the front-end of your site. All you do is grab the shortcode and add it wherever you want the map to appear.
Here’s an example of what my street food map looks like with the different filters:
Helpful Bulk Action Tools
If you have a busy map, you’re going to have a lot of map markers, which can mean that editing each marker individually isn’t a viable option if you decide you want to change something in the future (like the marker icon).
To help, Maps Marker Pro builds in a lot of bulk action tools. First, you get these bulk action options in the marker list, which I found to be really helpful when creating a separate map for a filter:
Second, you get a Tools area that contains a variety of batch update tools, including tools to:
- Batch update map settings
- Replace marker icons
- Bulk move markers from one map to another
- Remove all markers from a map
The Tools area also lets you import or export markers (using the GeoJSON format). Getting too technical? No worries. There is a great knowledge base that helps you out with terms as GeoJSON format and helps you to convert CSV or XLS(X) to GeoJSON.
Other Basic Settings
Finally, there’s also a Settings area where you can set up the basics for how the plugin works.
Here, you can:
- Connect to various mapping services, like Google Maps
- Choose your geocoding provider
- Choose your directions provider, if you want to include a “directions” option on your maps
- Set up augmented reality (i.e. let people view a marker in street food)
- Restrict which user roles can access the map settings
- …plus a lot more.
Maps Marker Pro Pricing: Try It Full-Featured With A 30-Day Free Trial
Before I cover the pricing, let me share something cool about Maps Marker Pro:
It offers a 30-day full-featured trial– no credit card required (in fact, you don’t even need to provide any account information to take advantage of the trial).
So if you’re on the fence about whether or not it can do what you need it to do, there’s literally zero risk to downloading the free trial and giving it a try. That’s quite generous from the developer, and I wish more plugins would follow suit.
If, after your 30 days of free usage, you want to keep using the plugin, prices start at just €39 for use on a single site and one year of support and updates. The license itself never expires and the updates are optional.
You can also pay:
- €99 for a 5 site license
- €249 for a 25 site license
The prices even get cheaper when you buy a license for 3 or 5 years.
Final Thoughts On Maps Marker Pro
I found Maps Marker Pro to be quite easy to use. Though it does include documentation and also offers a comprehensive online knowledge base, I was able to start creating maps right away without any heavy learning curve.
One of the big benefits of choosing this plugin is flexibility. You have a ton of control over how your maps work. You can choose your own services, pick which map layers are available, customize all the icons, etc.
Then, you also get tools to help make your maps more user-friendly. I like the features for:
- Marker clustering
- The separate list of markers
All of those help you create more usable maps for your visitors.
Overall, if you want a really flexible WordPress mapping plugin, you should give this one a look. Thanks to the 30-day free trial, you’re not risking anything by signing up: