Friday, March 7, 2014

Making a Custom Bible Map - Accordance and ...

David Lang at Accordance recently posted a fine 11 minute video on the Accordance blog showing how to make a custom map of Genesis 19 using the map module in Accordance. It is a great feature that I don't think any of the other Bible software packages can handle. BibleWorks does include a map module, but it would be very difficult to create the kind of map you see above with the labeling and highlighting. What's more, you don't have the 3-D option that Accordance offers.

Of course, you don't always want to create your own maps. Accordance offers a number of overlays illustrating biblical events, some even with animations. There are also atlas modules available. The map module in BibleWorks also uses a more extensive system of overlays to highlight periods or books of the Bible or particular events. They also include The New Moody Atlas of the Bible which has a very good collection of maps. Logos 5 has a Bible Places Guide that is very helpful, and they have a large selection of very nice maps. (Don't buy one of the old map sets. What you want are the Bible Facts: Places and the Logos and Faithlife Infographics datasets that are included with most libraries.) All three of these programs have integration of the maps with biblical text and related resources.

Still, only Accordance has the map creation possibility that's as nice as one that David Lang created. There are two other possibilities, however.
  •  One is using Google Earth. Lang's article partly caught my attention because I had occasion last fall to want to create exactly the same kind of map he did. Using this Google Earth KMZ file from the Geocoding page at, I have quick access to all the biblical sites. Then I navigated around until I was able to capture the view above and put it into my PowerPoint. Compare it to Lang's map above!
  • Another option is a standalone Bible mapping program called BibleMapper created by David P. Barrett. You can use version 3 for free (no limitations) or get the improved version 4 for $37. The map of the Seven Churches of Revelation is one I created in BibleMapper. One of the great virtues of this program is that any map you create is your own, and you don't need to obtain any copyright permissions or pay any costs to share your map. (Accordance allows free usage of any map you create, but they appreciate attribution. If you want to use their maps for any commercial project, however, you should contact them.)
If I'm missing something, let me know!

Related to this topic, Todd Bolen on the BiblePlaces blog recently pointed out the availability of physical 3-D topographical maps for various biblical and modern periods. (When I was a kid and we visited the USA national parks, I always used to get one of those 3-D maps of the park.) The maps are 9" x 14" and about $30 each.

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