Snapchat Just Created a Marauder's Map for the Entire World

Let the mischief begin.

by Monica Hunter-Hart
YouTube user: Snapchat

On Wednesday, Snapchat rolled out a new feature that will please every Muggle who has yearned for a Hogwarts letter: “Snap Map,” which is actually just the Marauder’s Map, designed for a smartphone.

Here’s the basic idea: The “Snap Map” shows you where your friends are all over the world (and sometimes illustrates them moving between locations). It also reveals activities occurring in various places through “Our Story,” a location-specific story that Snapchat compiles out of users’ submissions.

On the map — which you can access by pinching your fingers together on the Snapchat screen (after updating the app, of course) — friends appear as Bitmojis. If they don’t have a Bitmoji account, or haven’t linked it, they’ll appear as a blank outline of a Bitmoji figure.

“Sometimes, their Bitmojis might even show if they’re driving, walking, or more!” Snapchat announced.

How is this useful and not just creepy, you ask? It’s a bit of both, but this tool could be helpful when, for example, you’re out on the town and trying to decide where to go. After noting the places where your friends are gathered on the Snap Map — be it a bar, park, show, apartment — you’ll have some options laid before you.

Seriously, though, this:

Snap Map

YouTube user: Snapchat

Is not that different from this:

The Marauder's Map

YouTube user: Snapchat

Here’s one big difference between this and the Marauder’s Map, though: Snap Map is consensual. You choose with whom to share your location: You can make it known to all of your friends, a select group of friends, or just keep it private (which Snapchat calls “Ghost Mode”). Making your location public is not an option.

A user’s location only updates while they are using the app, and it disappears “after several hours, or as soon as you go into Ghost Mode.” If you’d like an idea of whether your friend’s location is up-to-date, tap on the friend to see when it was last updated.

The “Our Story” feature allows users to see “snaps of sporting events, celebrations, breaking news, and more from all across the world”; tapping a map location brings up the story. A blue area on the map means that some snaps exist in the story there, while a red area means that the story is packed with content.

How many days till Instagram copies this, too? It’s only a matter of time; a tool that enables anyone with a smartphone to feel like the Weasley twins will definitely be a hit.