The Interactive Map Response question type asks participants to add pin points and/or draw lines on a map. Participants may also have the option to associate comments with pins/lines, and to add upload images with their comments.

This question type is best for:

  • Asking participants to suggest locations or routes without introducing bias

  • Asking participants to provide objective, location-specific feedback

  • Visualizing participant feedback on a map


Let's get started! Here's a quick-jump guide if you've done this before:


Step 1: Click Add Question

On the Page & Survey tab to create a new survey question, click the green Add Question button.


Step 2: Select the Interactive Map Response question

Step 3: Write the Question Prompt

The question wording should tell participants how to interact with the map. For example: "Drop a pin on the map where you would like to see a new bus stop."

To give participants additional information or context, you can add explainer text in the content box below the question wording, e.g. "Note: You can only place 3 pins or fewer on the map."

It's best practice not to add an image to a map question,
since you'll already have an interactive map as part of your question.


Step 4: Select Basemap

Click the dropdown menu to choose how you want the map to appear to participants. The default is satellite view, but you can choose from a road map, hybrid (which overlays a roadmap on the satellite view) or a terrain map.

Step 5: Set response display

Click public or private to set response display options. Map responses can be public - visible to everyone participating - or private - visible only to administrators.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you make responses Private for any amount of time, you will not be able to go back and make these responses public at a later date. That means participants will not see other participant's pin responses.

Step 6: Set the User Interface (UI) options

The UI Options provide more options for how participants can interact.

  • Check enable line drawing to allow participants to draw lines on the map, in addition to dropping pins

  • Check show map boundary to users if you have a defined map boundary (for example, a specific zip code) within which you want participants to interact

  • Check show my location to display participants' current location.
    Note: This is only effective if participants have location settings turned on in their phone or tablet/desktop

  • Check enable image upload for comments to allow participants to upload images along with their comments

  • Check enable map pin limit if you would like to limit the number of pins one participant can place on the map. In the Pin Limit box, type the maximum number of pins one participant can place - for example, 3.
    Note: If you are limiting pins, it's helpful to tell participants that in your explainer text box below the question prompt.

Step 7: Customize Map Pins (optional)

By default, map pins are green. To customize these map pin icons, toggle on Use Custom Map Pins. This allows you to upload custom icons that participants can use for specific items, like pinning locations to add public restrooms, handicap access points, greenways, crosswalks, reporting sidewalk damage or potholes... you name it! You have the option to Edit Map Pins, or Create Custom Pins.


Create Custom Pins

Click Create Custom Pins to select an icon from the map pin library. You can use the search bar to search for a specific icon.

If you don't find a specific icon, you can add your own by clicking Edit Map Pins and choosing your own icon to upload.


Name the Icon:

Click the icon to select it, then you can name the icon and customize the icon and background colors.

Note: this is the name that will appear on your map legend, should you choose to enable it.

Edit or add your own custom Map Pin Icons

Click the Edit Map Pins button to upload your own icons, or edit any map pins you created from the map pin library. You can select from a file on your computer, or drag and drop icons from your image library. You can download additional icons online, or create them yourself using an image creator of your choice.


Any icon that you've added from map icon library will also be visible here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any icons you upload will need to be uploaded exactly as you want them to appear on the map. You will not be able to edit an image or icon that you upload once it's uploaded to PublicInput.com. The best icons to upload are saved as .png files with transparent backgrounds. If you've downloaded a .png image file from the internet, and it's already the color you would like it to be, you're good to go. If not, you'll need to use an image editor (such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Canva, etc.) to edit your icon color(s) and remove the background before uploading it as a custom icon. The image should be simplistic and scalable. For best results, you may want to have a graphic designer assist you.

Please do not upload Brand Logos you do not own, or copyrighted images you do not have permission to use.


Step 8: Edit Map Pin icon size

For each icon that you've selected, you will see the icon appear as a map pin option, and you can then select the size from the dropdown menu.

The drop-down menu next to the icon name allows you to set the size of the icon as it appears on the map, from XS through XL. The checkbox next to each icon will be check by default, meaning it will be displayed as a pin option above the map.

Note: You can upload multiple icons, and choose to only use a few of them on a given map by unchecking the icons you no longer want to include.

Step 9: Set Map Boundary

If you have a defined Map Boundary (for example, a specific zip code) within which you want participants to interact, you can draw a boundary on the map, or you can upload a .KML or .KMZ shapefile.

Once you've uploaded the file, you can choose to set the map boundary to this area on the map:

You can add .KML/.KMZ files of county lines, city limits, zip codes, and more to get a perfect "puzzle piece" look.

Step 10: Add a Map Legend (optional)

As stated above, the name you gave the icon will automatically appear on the map legend. Just toggle on the Map Legend here:


You have the option to display the name of the .KML/.KMZ file, or keep that hidden by clicking the eye icon to the right of the file name.

Be sure the file is named specifically how you'd like it to appear in the legend when you upload it. You can delete the file and reupload it with the updated display name if needed.

You can also add additional legend items below the icons you've created:

Your Map Legend will appear expanded on the map question on the live site:


Related articles:

Allow participants to attach images to their comments
How to upload .kml or. kmz layers to a map question
How to download Map pin data from an Interactive Map Question

How to display map thumbnails next to map comments in a dynamic report
What types of questions and engagement activities can I add?

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