This tutorial will help you if you are a n00b at mapping. Use this tutorial if you're either no good at mapping or just starting. This tutorial isn't as useful as the other tutorial on this wiki. Find that tutorial here.
When mapping, many different maps are created to simulate the animation. These are called frames. To make frames, you need good photo editing software.
Many mappers use Paint.net because it is easy to use and it's free. It is also similar to Photoshop, as you can do things such as add layers and disable anti-aliasing of text.
MS Paint was used frequently in the early days of mapping when the genre hadn't fully developed. MS Paint is a great starter program for early mappers, but gives much lower-quality results due to an inability to disable anti-aliasing.
Photoshop may not be the most practical choice because it is paid, but anti-aliasing is much less of a worry in Photoshop due to layers.
Video Editing Program
A good video editing program is also required for mapping. It should be easy to use and have many features useful for mapping. It is important during creation of a video to adjust frame length to be appropriate to what is happening. For example, when a country speaks a long phrase, the length should be around 6 seconds, while a war frame should be anywhere from 0.1 - 2 seconds.
Windows Live Movie Maker
Windows Live Movie Maker is a free program that allows you to make movies, film, etc. You can adjust the time and add filters, making it incredibly useful.
Sony Vegas Pro
Sony Vegas Pro, like Photoshop, isn't the most practical because it is paid, but it has much more abilities than Windows Live Movie Maker.
Note: This tutorial assumes that you've chosen a standard-based mapping dialect, Paint.net, and Windows Live Movie Maker.