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Market System Mapping Tool

Find the Market System Mapping Tool here!

This tool was built to enable people conducting market assessments (using methodologies like EMMA, RAM and MAG) to quickly build visually appealing market system maps for use in their reports. It assumes some familiarity with the market system mapping process and that users already have a clear idea of the elements of their market map. It is intended to be intuitive enough to use without much instruction. More detailed guidance on how to use it is provided below, and more detailed information on the market system mapping process can be accessed here

A printable version of these instructions is available here



  • Elements are outlined in purple when 'active' or selected for editing
  • The Mapping Tool works offline. Your browser should automatically save your last state of work, whether online or offline. (See Step 9 below)
  • There are other ways to ensure your work is saved and available offline:
    • Open map builder when connected to the internet. As long as you leave the browser open, you can continue working on the map offline for as long as you like. However, any changes that you make will not be saved until you are back online.
    • Save & export your work, even if incomplete. You can then upload the last version file and continue working once back online. (See Steps 8-9)
    • If you know you will be offline for an extended period of time, it is always recommended to manually export your map files to upload later -- to ensure that you do not accidentally lose your work! (See Step 8)


1. Open the tool

2. Click 'Start New Project'

3. Set Map Title

  • Click the word "Title" or the Settings icon (located next to the Title)
  • Enter desired title for map. Generally, this should include the name of the market system, the geographic area of focus, whether the map represents pre- or post-crisis state and the month and year that the map is capturing.

4. Add and Edit Map Elements

  • Click the ‘+’ sign next to the appropriate section of the map
  • On the left-hand side, enter properties for the respective element:
    • Name (e.g. Weather conditions, Local Retailer)
    • For elements in the Market Chain, enter labels and figures/symbols for Number / Price / Volume as desired (e.g., N=17, V=↑, P=200-300)
    • Disruption type: none / partial / major / critical 
    • If desired, color code the element. Click on the Map Legend (bottom right) to edit Color Labels
      • (Colors are sometimes used to draw attention to different elements in the map, such as target groups, or elements that have been added in the emergency situation.)
  • Drag and drop elements anywhere needed within their respective sections (Market Environment; Market Chain; Infrastructure, Inputs, Services)
  • Make sure the element is active in this state (See MAP STATES* section below for more information on how this works.)

To return to home screen, click on white space in the map area at any time. To remove a map element, select it & then click the red Remove Entity button that appears in the properties pane.

5. Connect Elements in the Market Chain
Connecting Two Elements (Directional line)

  • Start with at least two entities (that appear as boxes, circles, etc.)
  • Click Entity 1
  • Hover your mouse over the right hand side of Entity 1 >> a grey box + hand cursor should appear
  • Drag the hand from Entity 1 to Entity 2. Unclick / release the mouse button to create a directional line between the two elements.
  • To edit the line’s properties - click the line itself
  • Drag and drop elements anywhere needed - the lines will remain connected
  • An element may be connected to more than one other element; simply repeat the process above to add additional connecting lines

Connecting an Element to Itself (Loop)

  • Click Entity 1
  • Hover your mouse over the right hand side of the element >> a grey box + hand cursor should appear
  • Drag the hand from Entity 1 back onto itself >> a second grey box should appear on the left-hand side of same element. Unclick / release the mouse button to create a loop.
  • To edit the line’s properties - click the line itself

Connecting an element in “Infrastructure, Inputs, Services” to an element in the “Market Chain”

  • Start with at least two (2) elements >> one (1) in the "Infrastructure, Inputs, Services" section and one (1) in the "Market Chain"
  • Click Entity 1 in the "Infrastructure, Inputs, Services" section of the map
  • Hover your mouse over the right hand side of the element >> a grey box + hand cursor should appear
  • Drag the hand from Entity 1 to Entity 2 (in the "Market Chain"). Unclick / release the mouse button to create a directional line between the two elements
  • To edit the line’s properties - click the line itself
  • Drag and drop elements anywhere needed - the lines will remain connected

Adjusting Connector Lines

  • Click any line
  • Increase / decrease line width (1-14 weight)
  • Change Line Style from solid / dashed / dotted

Editing Connector Lines

  • Add Number / Price / Volume details as desired (e.g., N=17, V=↑, P=200-300)
  • Add disruption type >> none / partial / major / critical 
  • Remove connection if necessary by clicking on it and then clicking the red Remove Entity button that appears in the left-hand properties pane

6. Adding Explanatory Notes

Explanatory notes may be useful to explain your use of different line styles, for example.

  • Click the boxed 'A' icon located near the "Market Chain" section of the map
  • An box element should appear on the map called New Note
  • Edit note contents using textbox on left-hand side
  • Drag and drop the note wherever appropriate


7. Save / Export a FINISHED Map

  • Open Map Settings (gear icon located next to the 'Title')
  • Select Export Image (PNG)
  • Download PNG image file
  • You can now print this file and/or embed it within documents, as needed.

8. Save / Export an UNFINISHED Map (to complete later)

  • Open Map Settings (gear icon located next to the "Title")
  • Select Export Project File
  • Download JSON file and save it to a folder where you can easily locate it again.

NB: Your computer may not recognize the JSON file type - that's OK. The file will still save and be successfully uploaded to the site in the future . There is no need to open the JSON file on your computer.


9a. Load an UNFINISHED Map from file (.json)

  • Open the Tool
  • Select Load a Saved Project File
  • Locate previously saved JSON file (Step 8)
  • Upload file and restart work

9b. Load an UNFINISHED Map from browser history

Your browser automatically saves the last state of an incomplete map - even while offline. So, another way to continue working on an unfinished map is to:

  • Open the Tool
  • Review Project Details under the purple CONTINUE WITH EXISTING PROJECT button to confirm the most recent date and time the map was saved
  • If so, select Continue with Existing Project. Your previously worked-on map should appear and you can continue working


EMMA, PCMA and other humanitarian market analysis approaches require mapping markets in two situations - a baseline or “pre-crisis” state and an emergency or “crisis” state. As such, most users will likely want to produce two separate maps - one representing the baseline, one representing the emergency.

One way to do this is to use the “States” function within the mapping tool. (Another is to manually save separate files - see below.**) This means constructing maps with all elements and selecting which elements are active in the baseline state, and which are active in the emergency state. Every time you add a new element, there is a checkbox to indicate that the “entity is active in this state.” When you toggle between states, elements checked as “active” show in bold while inactive elements appear faded in background.

Adding a New State

  • Open Map Settings (gear icon located next to the 'Title')
  • Click Add State
    • In the top right of the map, you will see names of all the States you’ve created.

Adding Elements to a State: see Basic Instructions on how to Add New Map Elements. To add elements to a particular State, first select which map state you are working on. (You can select the map state in the upper right of the map.) Continue to add elements as normal, being sure to keep the “entity is active in this state” checked.

Printing a Map State: Maps for different states will need to be printed and/or displayed separately. Remember to update the Market Map Title for each state before exporting to ensure the correct title is represented for each State, as needed.

**SAVING MANUALLY: If you prefer not to use the States function, we recommend that you produce your baseline map and save it as a JSON file. When you are ready to produce a post-crisis (or other) map, upload the baseline JSON file and modify it as necessary to produce the desired post-crisis map.