Introducing the (apparently) Unknown (but definitely unused & unloved) Second Life Map

Little Cat WestBlue (moderate)

I was working with a team of Greeters this weekend at a large event. One part of the Welcome Area hosted a magical teleporter that would take the visitor to a random location on one of the 40+ sims involved. It was, of course, a high-lag event and that affected the device – it would sometimes be very slow or refuse to work at all.

One of the visitors grew quite, um, frustrated by this. I explained the simple workaround – you open your Map, select one of the less populated sims, and teleport there “manually”. She kept insisting that I had to teleport her myself. (note, this was a 3 year old, english speaking avatar with a full profile)

I posted a Slurl for her, I even passed her some landmarks. Nothing made her happy, she just kept insisting that I had to “teleport” her. What I wanted to do was point out that I was in the same location she was – wtf did she expect me to do?

Instead, being in “service-mode”, I followed the instructions I had given her. I opened my Map, picked an empty-ish location, double-clicked to teleport there, opened my chat window, found her IM window and sent her a cab. Once she had safely arrived, I returned to where I was supposed to be.

She wasn’t the only one, I wound up doing this multiple times – some people even thanked me, although she didn’t.

Little Cat WestBlue (moderate)

You might be tempted to see these demands as a symptom of the culture of entitlement (or bone deep laziness). I’m going to hypothesize that it instead results from a gap in education, a blank spot in their knowledge base, as it were.

In other words, nobody has bothered to tell them what’s behind that Map button on their screen (assuming they haven’t removed it).  So today, I’m going to introduce that valuable resource to the poor, benighted, ignorant ones out there. It’s no wonder some folks spend all their time in their skyboxes if they can’t go anywhere without a cab.

Imagine you are, as I was this morning, standing on Little Cat WestBlue. It’s an attractive build (although some parts are still under construction). When I opened my Map I saw that it’s actually part of a group of sims.

When you hover your cursor over the islands you see their names, the number of avatars there, and the maturity rating. You can zoom in and out! Green dots are avatars, yellow ones are avatars on your Friends List, blue ones – well you’ll never see one, but if you did, it would be a Linden. You can also use your cursor to move around the Map and see the whole grid.

Second Life Map

If you look on the right hand side of the Map you’ll see some very useful tools. I keep “person” and “info hub” selected when I’m exploring. The latter can be very useful for information on the destination.

When I was searching for land to buy, I opened the Map on the mainland and used the cursor to follow the road and the water. Having “land sale” turned on showed me parcels (with a lot of detail) so I could choose locations for close exploration. It was pretty easy to find what I wanted.

The events options should be self-explanatory – if there’s an event in the Destination Guide you’ll find it as you use the Map to move around the various parts of the world.

“My Friends Online” will show you everybody on your Friends List that has given you mapping rights. That means you can see where they are – just select their name from the pull down menu and the Map will orient to their location. To join them you just double-click on their yellow dot.

Little Cat GreenEyes (moderate)

I have a friend who does inworld StoryTelling – he gives people mapping rights. They still insist on IMing him in the middle of a performance to ask for a cab. Seriously folks, the Map is easy to use. He just gets grumpier.

Moving further down the right hand side of the Map, you’ll see a window with “Find” next to it. This is something I use all the time – I enter the name of a sim, or a partial name, and get a list. To go to the one I want I just select it on the list and click teleport or hit enter.

In the case of this morning’s adventure, I just moved my cursor to another of the sims in the group and double-clicked. The result was a tour of some of the islands. It’s not hard.

There are occasions when you want to go somewhere specific on a region and there’s a forced landing spot. To find the exact point you want – open the Map when you’re there, enter the coordinates and look for a red beam of light to come down from the sky. It’s a guide to those coordinates – just walk, ride, fly your way over there.

Little Cat NorthBlue (moderate)

Back in the olden days of this virtual world, you would set out to meet people by using the Map to look for congregations of green dots. It’s still useful in that area and it has a related bonus use as well. Suppose you land on a sim and don’t know where the club is – look at the Map for a group of people nearby and you’ll find it.

As a tool for exploration, this is extremely useful. If I hadn’t looked I wouldn’t have found a Shopping District & SimBall Arena on Little Cat GreenEyes. I also wouldn’t have found this cave to explore on Little Cat NorthBlueI would not, in fact, have even known those sims were there.

A far more important reason to start using the Map is that it will make you independent. You won’t need to rely on your friends, or the kindness of strangers, for every one of your transportation needs. It’s one of those stages of virtual adult-hood I think every one should try to achieve.

Besides, in the future, I will refuse to become everybody’s personal concierge. I will no longer leave their presence to go somewhere they can find on their own and send them a cab. Well – I might do it again. But from now on I expect a tip. Get to know the Map – he’s very useful and he misses you!

Little Cat Japan (moderate)
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  1. I tried to fold my Map and broke my screen.

  2. You are SO right about the map. It’s one of my favorite things to teach newcomers. It is a big part of what gives SL a sense of “place”, and it’s one of the things I love about the mainland. I think LL misses the boat in not including map lessons in the newbie experience.

    My background is in science, so the idea of coordinates and visual navigation around a map is second nature to me. I also love maps in the outer world and map new cities on a grid in my head as I walk around. I suspect there are those who don’t naturally think this way, but that’s one of the fun challenges of teaching — getting people beyond their comfort zone. I made some visual and comic tutorials on using the map once upon a time. Maybe I should update them…heheh


    P.S. I love your blog. It pulls me in to new places to explore when I need a break from work, or just feel like it.

  3. Hmm, who could the grumpy storyteller be? :)

    You’d think that the “teleport to a friend’s location” wouldn’t put you right on someone’s head. It’s odd behavior at any time, but particularly bad if said friend is in the middle of something.

    I do think there *is* some laziness involved with people who can’t be bothered to learn what the Map does. Surely three years on the grid is enough time to play with various features of the client.

  4. Perhaps an annual return to Telehubs would be a prescription for appreciation. Personally I would not see that as a step backwards.

  5. Thank you, Honour. Daily I find myself face-palming when someone in a group chat begs to be teleported somewhere despite someone else having just posted an SLurl in the group chat. Plus, the person is in the group so they should have an LM. The ones that really get my goat (thus making me chase them down to get it back as I have but the one goat) are the ones that have the location in their Picks.

  6. Tell them to learn the Favorites Bar, too:
    Favorites Bar


  7. Rezarea

     /  July 16, 2013

    I want a First Life Map like this please . . .
    And I want YOU to TP me around then.
    I am fun, promise.

  8. Cao

     /  July 16, 2013

    You can also browse the map in a web browser at
    You can’t see the dots for avatars, but if you click on a region, you get a “Visit this Location” and “Teleport Now” buttons, which should call up your SL viewer if you have your browser set up right.
    This one is fun for finding places to explore when I am not able to log into SL, like over lunch at work.

  9. Strider

     /  July 17, 2013

    Cool.. Taught me a coupla things I didn’t know even tho I use it a lot for exploring and for sailing… BTW – avatars may be at another elevation.. When you get there turn on mini-map. If they are at a different elevation they will appear as a caret symbol rather than a dot.. Move up or down till symbol becomes a dot.. And you can put on “people” and select “nearby”. As you move closer the range will decrease…

  10. Nice tip about the blue dots in the map.

  11. Thank you for this post! I’m terrible with maps, but I think you’ve really helped me understand how to use the SL map better.

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