US states map with dots, stripes and other patterns
You can now find a new setting that changes completely the way patterns appear on the map.

MapChart lets you create a map with patterns, like dots, stripes, etc., instead of simple colors for a while now. It is a useful feature that you can use to easily show countries/states that share a common property in your data:

africa religion map
Countries with more than one dominant religions are drawn with light or thick stripe patterns.

They can also help in case you need to print your map, and can only use black and white color variations:

Using stripes and dots on this black and white map makes it ready to print.

How can I add a pattern to the map?

Follow these steps to add a pattern to a country on your map:

  • Right-click on the country.
  • Select Add/Modify Pattern.
  • Choose the background color, the pattern color and the type of the pattern (dots, stripes, texture, crosshatch, etc.) you want. You can check a preview of the pattern in the rectangle right below your choices.
  • Hit Confirm Pattern to color the country with it.

You can then right-click on other countries and copy the patterns you created or remove them.

So, what’s new with patterns?

Now, you can find a new setting that can entirely change the way the patterns are drawn on the map.

Essentially, when you color a country with a pattern, the pattern gets scaled (resized) to fit the country’s size. This is now the default setting on all maps.

You can change it to use nonscaling patterns that look the same on all countries. To do that, you need to right-click on any country and check or uncheck the Do not scale patterns checkbox.

Check the video here.

Difference between scaling and nonscaling patterns

This is easier explained with a few simple examples. In the maps below, you can see the scaling behavior (default) on the left and the nonscaling one on the right.

In the below world map, check for each case, how the dots patterns appear on US vs Mexico, or on Russia vs Belarus:

Now, in this zoomed in world subdivisions map, check how using scaling patterns (default) works better for the tiny subdivisions of the map:

Finally, in this black and white Europe map, you can see that having nonscaling patterns makes the map easier to the eye for most countries:

As shown above, you now have another option to consider when using patterns in your maps!

What to choose when creating a map?

It can depend on the map or the patterns/colors you select, but generally:

  • Scaling patterns (default) are better for maps with small subdivisions, like the detailed maps or the US counties map.
  • Scaling patterns (default) are better for zoomed in areas.
  • Nonscaling patterns can look better for maps with larger subdivisions, like the simple World map or the US states map.
  • Nonscaling patterns can look better when you have a few patterns in your map, as they stand out more.

Of course, these are just suggestions, so you can make the decision depending on what looks best to you each time.

Matter of fact, you can switch this setting on/off as many times as you need to see the difference live on your map!

So, visit MapChart and make your own custom map with colors and patterns for any country or region in the world. If you do so, feel free to send it my way!