Zambia Desktop Mapping Tools for Office 97

Making maps of Zambia on your computer has never been easier! The following two tools, which I developed during my internship with USAID in Lusaka, can be used with MS Office 97 to create simple maps of Zambia such as the ones below.

Sample Map 1 Sample Map 2 Sample Map 3

With these add-ins, making maps like these doesn't require any specialized software, cartography experience, or GIS data. Using the familiar tools in PowerPoint or Excel, you can easily create country maps of Zambia and customize their appearance to meet your own needs. In Excel, you can even link the coloring scheme to a column of numbers on a spreadsheet. Several layers of map data are packaged with each add-in, providing sufficient data for any number of reports, presentations, graphics, etc. Below are descriptions of the two tools and links to download them:

Note: if you find bugs or have any problems with these files, please send me a note.

Zambia Map Maker Assistant Add-In for PowerPoint 97

After you install the Zambia Map Maker Assistant, you'll see a new menu item called ZamMap on your PowerPoint menu bar. Using the commands on this menu, you can add layers of Zambian map data to the current slide, such as the districts, major roads, national parks, etc. With other commands on the menu, you can select map features by name, and then use the PowerPoint toolbar to group them, change color of the fill or outline, resize, etc. You can even label features, such as towns and districts. When you're all finished designing your map, you can copy it to the clipboard and paste it into your word processor, or continue editing it in PowerPoint, adding text boxes, arrows, etc. Instructions for using the add-in are provided both as an online help file and printed. The following map layers are available:

  • national border
  • regions
  • provinces
  • districts
  • provincial capitals
  • towns
  • major roads
  • all roads
  • rail
  • rivers
  • national parks
  • game management areas

Note for PowerPoint 2000 users: To install the ZamMap add-in, you must set your security level to 'medium' or 'low' (under Tools -- Macro -- Security). If PowerPoint alerts you that the add-in has macros, click the 'Enable Macros' button. The add-in will not load if the security level is set to 'high', however after you have installed ZamMap and it's working ok, you can reset the security level back to high if you'd like.

Download Files

Add-in: ZamMap2000.exe (for PowerPoint 2000, self-extracting archive, 338 Kb)

Add-in: ZamMap.exe (for PowerPoint 97, self-extracting archive, 446 Kb). Note: if you are running Windows XP and you get an error message "This is not a Win32 application', then just open the ZamMap.exe file with WinZip.

Instructions: ZamMapInstructions.doc (Word 97 document, 52 Kb)

Zambia Spatial Data Pack for Microsoft Map/Office 97

Microsoft Map is a desktop mapping applet that comes with MS Office 97. Although most people don't even know it's there, you can use it to create basic maps, and color the features based on numbers on your spreadsheet. You can use MS Map with any office application, but creating maps in Excel offers the most options in terms of linking the features on your map to tabular data on a spreadsheet. MS Map also allows you to add labels to features, and classify features with colors, little bar or pie charts, dot density formatting, or black and white hatch patterns.

Note: if Microsoft Map wasn't included when you first installed Office 97, you may have to run the office setup program again and add it. You can know whether you have it installed if you see Microsoft Map in the list of choices when you select Insert...Object from Excel or any other Office program.

The Zambia Spatial Data Pack, which you can download below, contains data for Zambia that you use to create maps with MS Map. The instruction guide gives examples of using the Zambian data in MS Map in Excel. The Excel spreadsheet file contains the correct spellings of the geographic features in each map layer (which are needed to be able to link spreadsheet data to the map data). The following layers are available in the Zambia Data Pack:

  • airports
  • districts (57 divisions)
  • districts (72 divisions)
  • game management areas
  • national parks
  • pipelines
  • powerlines
  • provinces
  • provincial capitals
  • rail lines
  • regions
  • rivers
  • roads
  • wetlands
Download Files
Data: ZamMSMapData.exe (self-extracting archive, 693 Kb)
Instructions: MSMapIntroduction.doc (Word 97 document, 322 Kb)
Excel Spreadsheet: (Excel 97 spreadsheet, zipped, 9.5 Kb)

Deciding Whether to Use Microsoft Map/Excel or Zambia Map Maker

The Zambia Map Maker Assistant, which essentially adds functionality to the drawing tools in PowerPoint, is in general the more flexible mapping tool in terms of allowing complete customization. It can, however, be more tedious to use than MS Maps, especially for people who aren't familiar with the drawing tools of PowerPoint. MS Map and Excel, on the other hand, may be easier to use and makes it easier to classify map features based on numeric data, but is limited in its ability to customize formatting.

For most situations, you can use either Microsoft Map & Excel, or the Zambia Map Maker Assistant perfectly well. Whichever software seems easier to you is probably the logical choice. However there may be a few times when one of these tools is clearly a better choice:

If you want to:Then your best choice is probably:
Color geographic features based on numeric values in a tableMS Maps
Have a map which you will update frequentlyMS Maps
Create basic maps without having much familiarity with either PowerPoint or ExcelZambia Map Maker Assistant
Have maximum design flexibility, in terms of color selection, hatch patterns, sizing, customized legends, other elements, etc.Zambia Map Maker Assistant
Include animations in your presentation (e.g., have regions fly in one at a time)Zambia Map Maker Assistant
Break areas apartZambia Map Maker Assistant
Convert additional GIS dataIf you have MapInfo, then MS Maps. Otherwise Zambia Map Maker Assistant

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