Dynamic Image Map Based on Pixel Colour

Sam Deering

So today I created a html image map which creates dynamic links based on the color of the pixel that the user clicked. The reason for creating this was because the map was a vector map of the world and as you know all countries have varying sizes and it would be impossible to create a normal point/array based image map… it would simple be too huge to store and would take too long to load.

Pro’s of this method

  • It loads really fast
  • No need to know what areas of the image are covered by what for links
  • Image areas can be any shape or size

How it works


  1. User clicks anywhere on the image
  2. jQuery captures the x and y coordinates of where the user clicked
  3. x and y coordinates sent to PHP control script via Ajax
  4. PHP script gets the image locally and picks the pixel colour at the x and y coordinates
  5. PHP script gets the country that matches the hex colour value
  6. PHP script sends back the url of the page for that country
  7. jQuery redirects to the page returned via Ajax call

Instructions on how to setup:

Create the image with unique hex values (I used adobe illustrator with a free vector based image).


Store the hex colour values of the pixels contained within the boundaries of the each country in your database.


jQuery Code:

jQuery(document).ready(function($) {
	$('#theworldmapimage').live('click', function(ev) {
	   var X = $(this).offset().left;
	   var Y = $(this).offset().top;
	   mouseX = ev.pageX - X;
	   mouseY = ev.pageY - Y;
	   //	mouseY -= 5;
	   if (mouseX > 500) { mouseX -= 13; }
	   //alert("x="+mouseX+" y="+mouseY);
		$.get("../php/php-functions/phpfunc-imagemap.php",{x: mouseX ,y: mouseY}, function(data){
			if (data != '') {
				//alert(data + " " +"x="+mouseX+" y="+mouseY);
				window.location.replace(data); //load the url of the clicked country
			else {
				//alert("no data");

PHP Code:

> 16) & 0xFF;
    $g = ($rgb >> 8) & 0xFF;
    $b = $rgb & 0xFF;

    function rgb2html($r, $g=-1, $b=-1)
        if (is_array($r) && sizeof($r) == 3)
            list($r, $g, $b) = $r;
        $r = intval($r); $g = intval($g);
        $b = intval($b);
        $r = dechex($r<0?0:($r>255?255:$r));
        $g = dechex($g<0?0:($g>255?255:$g));
        $b = dechex($b<0?0:($b>255?255:$b));
        $color = (strlen($r) 

The final image looks like this:


See Demo (Click on the “Show world map” to show the dynamic image map, then click on any country).