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Who doesn’t love a National Geographic map?


If you teach social studies and don’t get just a little bit giddy when the latest National Geographic shows up in the mailbox, we need to talk. I grew up reading through stacks of old National Geographic magazines and one of the best parts was the maps that were stuck inside.

And, yes, I’ve kept them all in a box. Because you never know when you might need a box full of old maps for an old maps convention. If you’re like me and need a map fix every once in a while, check out the sites below.

National Geographic Maps
The NG website is so large and complex that it’s sometimes difficult to find your way around. But if you’re really interested in maps for personal or class use, head to these three:

National Geographic Maps Classic Collection
You can search and find most of their supplemental insert maps up to 1999 with more being added all the time.

Historical Maps
Kind of the same idea but with a focus on social studies and historical maps. You can filter by area and year of publication.

Map Store
This is the online store for NG’s traditional maps, globes, and atlases.

Map of the Day
In 2008 National Geographic posted a Map of the Day for nine months. Start the daily series here. Each map is presented with a few paragraphs of explanation along with a quiz question about related historical events. You can zoom in and out on the maps for a broad overview or a detailed closer look. I’m sure they stopped posting new maps for a reason though, for the life of me, I can’t think of a good one.

Beauty of Maps
The Beauty of Maps web site from the BBC compliments their recent documentary series on maps. While the video highlights and TV clips aren’t available in all areas, the historical maps section is. You can find five historical maps that allow you to zoom in, learn about specific elements of the map, and link to more information.

Rumsey Map Collection
The David Rumsey Map Collection displays over 22,000 maps and images online. Find maps from a wide variety of themes

GOOD magazine’s web site hosts a map feature they call Wanderlust. There you can find “history’s greatest journeys, from Magellan to Kerouac” mapped out. Click on one of the 23 trips and explore them point by point with more information and pictures at numerous points.

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