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Tip of the Week: 8 decades of super cool declassified CIA maps

We all love maps. We all love cool historical artifacts. And we all love spy gadgets. What better place to get all three than the Central Intelligence Agency?

I’ve always known about the CIA World Factbook. You all probably already use that tool for geography, world history, and government. But I just found out about the CIA Flickr account. Who knew? They’ve uploaded multiple albums and collections with recently declassified maps, artifacts, and cool spy museum goodies.

The best part of the Flickr account for me is the eight decades of CIA maps starting back in the 1940s prepared for the president and various government agencies. These are perfect for helping provide supplementary and corroborative materials for all sorts of historical thinking activities. You’ll find a wide variety of map types that could also easily work as stand-alone primary sources.


How about a map highlighting Japanese food sufficiencies just before World War II? How might this information have impacted strategic and tactical military planning? Do your kids think it might have impacted post-war occupation policies?


Or maybe have students compare those Japanese occupation policies to what happened in Germany and Berlin.


How could you use this map detailing missile batteries on Cuba during 1962? Perhaps kids can act as National Security advisors to President Kennedy as they suggest possible responses to Russian nuclear weapons based on the island.


How was the response options for Kennedy different that the options open to Bush in 2003? Can maps help us make better decisions? Can maps encourage poor decisions?


You’ll also want to spend some time exploring the CIA Museum artifacts and a collection of World Factbook photos that are perfect for combining with other Factbook data. There’s also a nice collection of photos that can be used alongside the maps.

Need some map analysis help? The Library of Congress and the National Archives both have excellent analysis tools. The Library also has some great geography lesson plans that you can use or adapt. And the Arizona Geographic Alliance has some excellent geography thinking questions that would work well with these CIA maps.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jennifer Peters #

    Add Dylan Williams

    Jennifer W. Peters Administrative Assistant Jena High School PO Box 89 Jena, LA 71342

    December 13, 2016
    • glennw #


      Are you asking to add Dylan Williams to mailing list / subscribe to History Tech?


      December 13, 2016

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  1. Declassified CIA Data Makes History Fun : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search

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