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National Geographic Mapmaker Interactive just got better

National Geographic has always been the go-to for geography goodies. You get lesson plans, teaching resources, maps, and even more maps.

And they always have had great map making tools. But they just got better. Their MapMaker has been updated with new features, the biggest one for many of you is the ability to use the tool on mobile devices.

But they’ve also added some new interactive tools:

  • Country Facts and Flags – Explore and discover information about countries and territories around the world. Customize the fill and border colors to make this map layer your own.
  • Latitude and Longitude – See the coordinates of any place on earth.
  • Custom Text, Photos, Videos – Use markers, lines, or shapes to tell your story on MapMaker by adding in text, photos, and videos with the rich editing tool.

Start with a blank world map that allows you to zoom in and pan around. On the right side, you have the ability to select different base maps and create different map layers.


I also like that you can add pages to your geographic story. With bookmarks you can save customized views of the map. Then share your geographic story with others by saving and emailing or posting to social media. This seems like a great way to show change over time, battle progressions, or movement and migration.


MapMaker gives you the option to drop pins or location markers as well as the ability to draw right on the map. You can attach notes to these points for later via the link settings below the edit button.


See the coordinates of any place on earth by clicking the grid icon on the bottom left of the menu. There is an option to see a display of the latitude and longitude values of any point on the map, and lines of latitude and longitude on the map. You can turn on one or both of the features at a time.

Turn on the added feature of Country Flags and Facts along the left side. This allows students to click on a country to gather more detailed information about that area.


But I really like that I can add Custom Text, Photos, Video to my maps. Start by adding lines, shapes, or markers to your map. Click the edit button on the left menu and then select which object you would like to add your custom information to. Selecting the object will open an editing palette. Click on the link option to add text, photos, and videos. You can add in a title, and a description. In the description, you can format the text and even include hyperlinks.

This is what makes the tool so powerful – being able to customize the map is huge. Asking students to develop collaborative and personalized tours with specific types of data forces them to go beyond just simple map facts.

Once you’ve finished your map and you want to save it, NG will ask for your email. This saves the map on their server – if the map is not viewed or edited for 6 months, they will delete it. You’ll get an email with two links, a view only version that you can share with others and a edit version that allows you to make changes. Either of the two versions allows you to print and to share your map in a variety of ways via social media.

Use the National Geographic Mapmaker for sharing information with your students, as part of interactive lectures, digital storytelling assignments, flipped classrooms, and for formative / summative assessments.

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