Introduced in Minecraft's Exploration Update, Explorer Maps are items that are incredibly helpful when it comes to finding rare structures like woodland mansions or ocean monuments, they can even be used to find hidden treasure.
Though they can be found in shipwrecks and underwater ruins, the easier method of finding Explorer Maps is via the Cartographer villager, who will trade them to players depending on its profession level.
At the Apprentice level, Cartographers will trade Oceanic Explorer Maps, and at the Journeyman level Woodland Explorer maps will be traded as well.
At the price of a few Emeralds (13 for ocean maps, 14 for woodland) and a compass, trading for these maps is much more efficient than scouring a Minecraft world for shipwrecks or underwater ruins.
Minecraft: Using Explorer Maps
Regardless of whether they were acquired from a loot chest or a villager trade, Explorer Maps in Minecraft work in a very simple way.
Striped areas of the map represent bodies of water, while the more tan-colored shapes represent landmasses. Structures of interest, such as mansions or monuments, will be marked on the map.
However, it is important to note that these may not be the closest structures to the player, and a large distance may need to be covered before the map begins revealing its regions like a normal map.
Minecraft players can check their closeness to the region that the Explorer Map covers by looking for the gray icon that denotes where the player is. If the icon is very small, that means the player is still very far away and will have to close the distance.
If the icon has returned to its normal size like a standard map, then they are close. Once within the confines of the area the map covers, it will begin to uncover the surrounding area as the player explores like a regular map would.
This covered area of land is 512×512 blocks, which can be relatively small considering how large Minecraft worlds are.
If the Explorer map is a buried treasure variant, it will possess a large X on the map instead of markings indicating where woodland or ocean structures would be.
The buried treasure will be located directly in the center of the X mark, so Minecraft players won't have to stress about digging a massive hole during their search.
When it comes to buried treasure structures, players can expect to find them in beach or snowy beach biomes, while Minecraft: Bedrock Edition players can also find these hidden treasures in Mushroom Field or Stone Shore biomes.
However, the rewards are worth the effort, as buried treasure is the only means in Survival Mode to acquire a Heart of the Sea, an integral material along Nautilus Shells to create a Conduit.
Read More: Top 5 rarest blocks in Minecraft survival