Snapchat Beefed Up Its Snap Map Feature With Map Explore

Users will see updates from friends who share locations, Our Story

Map Explore for Snapchat's Snap Map - Credit by Snapchat
Headshot of David Cohen

Snapchat added a new element to its Snap Map feature that will bring users much more information from friends, as well as from the messaging application itself.

Map Explore, which debuted Thursday, will update users’ Snap Maps when friends who have chosen to share their locations perform actions such as traveling somewhere new, checking in at locations (such as beaches, malls, tennis courts, golf courses, ski resorts, airports and major events) or adding geofilters to their Stories.

Updates from Our Story, such as breaking news and events, will also be featured in Map Explore.

Snapchat said only one status update is available per user at any given time, and they can be viewed for up to 24 hours, adding that if someone hasn’t opened their Snapchat app in roughly eight hours, their location will disappear from Snap Map.

Some updates, such as those involving short distances between locations, will only appear between users who interact with each other frequently.

Snapchat added a Map Explore feature to Snap Map

Snapchat introduced Snap Map last June as a way for users to share their locations and see the locations of their friends who have chosen to do so.

Snap Map uses Actionmojis (a special type of Bitmoji), and it also includes a heat map-like feature to alert users when many Snaps are being taken and submitted to Our Story from a specific area, as well as thumbnails that mark points of interest or major attractions where Snaps are regularly taken and submitted.

Sharing location via Snap Map is completely opt-in: Locations of people who have not used Snap Map before or who have turned on Ghost Mode will not be shared with their friends. These options can be changed at any time via the Settings icon or users’ Bitmoji in Snap Map.

Snapchat said users will be taken through an onboarding flow to teach them how to use Map Explore the first time they access Snap Map following Thursday’s update, adding that users’ status updates will not be included in Map Explore until they tap the onboarding flow.

The messaging app shared the following instructions for using Map Explore:

  • Pinch to zoom out from the Snapchat camera to enter Snap Map.
  • To see new updates, tap the New Updates prompt at the bottom of the screen.
  • Swipe horizontally to scroll between friends’ updates and content on Snap Map.

Snapchat also shared steps people can take to manage their own Map Explore updates:

  • Tap the Settings gear in the top-right-hand corner of Snap Map.
  • Tap the map graphic to see your current update and which friends have seen that update.
  • If desired, the status can be deleted here.
  • Turning on Ghost Mode means your current location on Snap Map and most recent Map Explore update will no longer be visible to friends.
Some of the user controls in Snapchat's new Map Explore for Snap Map
Snapchat David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.