Image Map


An image map is a web-based graphic feature that contains multiple clickable areas, called hotspots, each linked to different destinations or actions. It allows users to interact with various parts of an image, typically used for navigation purposes. By assigning coordinates to specific areas of the image, a single graphic can direct users to different web pages or trigger different events.


The phonetics of the keyword “Image Map” can be represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as:/ˈɪmɪdʒ mæp/

Key Takeaways

  1. Image maps allow you to make different areas of an image clickable, directing users to various URLs or interactive content.
  2. Area shapes like rectangles, circles, and polygons can be created using the <area> tag, which is nested within the <map> element.
  3. A combination of the <img> tag’s ‘usemap’ attribute and the <map> element’s ‘id’ (or ‘name’) attribute creates the association between the image and its corresponding map.


The technology term “Image Map” is important as it enhances user interaction and accessibility on websites by enabling users to navigate to different destinations or trigger certain actions based on specific clickable areas in an image.

Image maps contribute to the functionality and visual appeal of a website, making it more engaging and user-friendly.

By creating responsive and informative designs, image maps help users to intuitively interact with elements and access relevant information quickly.

Furthermore, image maps enhance the overall browsing experience of the user, ensuring that websites remain efficient and appealing in a highly competitive digital landscape.


Image maps serve as a unique and interactive way to navigate webpages, graphics, and digital content. Their primary purpose is to enhance user experience by turning a single image into a collection of clickable areas, each linking to a different destination.

Deployed widely across websites, presentations, and multimedia projects, image maps allow users to efficiently access a variety of information while maintaining an engaging and visually appealing design. By incorporating functional and aesthetically pleasing elements, image maps play a vital role in delivering content in an organized and accessible manner, adding vibrancy to otherwise mundane navigation systems.

Crucial for purposes ranging from education to marketing, image maps have found numerous uses in connecting visual cues to relevant content. For instance, educational resources may utilize an image map to explore different regions on a world map or dig deeper into a diagram.

In e-commerce, marketers may employ image maps to showcase a variety of products within a single image, directing users to individual product pages for a seamless shopping experience. Image maps, therefore, provide an intuitive way to keep users engaged, informed, and curious, transforming static images into dynamic, information-rich media.

Examples of Image Map

Interactive Floor Plans: Real estate websites and architectural firms often utilize image maps to create interactive floor plans. These floor plans allow users to click on different rooms of a building to see more detailed images or information about the space. For instance, if a user is viewing a floor plan of a home, they can click on the living room to see photos and descriptions of the room’s features, dimensions, and design.

Geographic Maps: Image maps are used in creating interactive geographic maps on websites, allowing users to click on specific locations to view more information, images, or navigate to related content. An example of this is an interactive map that displays information about different countries or cities when a user clicks on them. Google Maps, for example, utilizes image maps to display detailed information about various regions, businesses, and landmarks.

Educational Resources: Image maps can be utilized in educational settings to create interactive learning content. For example, an online biology textbook or website could include an image map of the human body, with clickable regions for different organs and systems. When a user clicks on the heart, for example, they would be taken to a section of the content with more specific information, diagrams, and multimedia resources about the heart and circulatory system.

Image Map FAQ

What is an image map?

An image map is a graphic design element used in HTML pages that allow users to click on different areas in an image and navigate to a corresponding URL or webpage. It consists of clickable areas known as hotspots, each of which is associated with one or more coordinates.

How do you create an image map in HTML?

To create an image map in HTML, you must use the <map> and <area> elements. The <map> element has a ‘name’ attribute, and each <area> element within it has a ‘shape’ attribute (rect, circle, or poly) and a ‘coords’ attribute (coordinates of the shape). The <img> element is then associated with the image map using the ‘usemap’ attribute. For example:

<img src="yourimage.jpg" alt="Image map example" usemap="#yourmap">
<map name="yourmap">
  <area shape="rect" coords="0,0,100,100" href="" alt="Example">
  <!-- Add more <area> elements for additional hotspot areas. -->

What are the different shapes available for hotspots in an image map?

An image map offers three types of shapes for hotspots: rectangle (using ‘rect’), circle (using ‘circle’), and polygon (using ‘poly’). The coordinates specified in the ‘coords’ attribute vary depending on the shape selected.

How do I specify the coordinates for each shape in an image map?

For each hotspot shape, the ‘coords’ attribute requires a different set of values:

  1. Rectangle: coords=”x1, y1, x2, y2″ – Specifies the top-left (x1, y1) and bottom-right (x2, y2) corners of the rectangular area.
  2. Circle: coords=”cx, cy, r” – Specifies the center (cx, cy) of the circle and its radius (r).
  3. Polygon: coords=”x1, y1, x2, y2, …, xn, yn” – Specifies the coordinates of each vertex in the polygon, where each pair (x, y) represents one point.

Can I use image maps on responsive websites?

Yes, you can use image maps on responsive websites by implementing a library like jQuery RWD Image Maps, which recalculates the hotspot coordinates as the image scales. Although image maps can be used in responsive designs, they might not be the best solution in all cases, as they can become difficult to interact with on smaller screens. Alternative approaches, such as replacing the image map with a styled HTML list, might yield better results for accessibility and usability on mobile devices.

Related Technology Terms

  • Coordinate System
  • Hotspots
  • Area Tag
  • Responsive Image Maps
  • Client-Side Image Maps

Sources for More Information


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