Maps And Mapping

 Solid maps and quick links to additional information are useful for students in grades four to eight. Most pages have updated content, as evidenced by a quick check of the current head of Afghanistan's government, Hamid Karzai.The links are handy and pertinent, leading to other Infoplease reference tools, including dictionaries, almanacs, atlases, and encyclopedias.


 Have a class studying many countries? Look to this increasingly comprehensive site. Drawing from its 80,000 physical map collection, the United Nations is creating a corresponding online database, with many physically vibrant maps including city layouts and political, physical,
 and theme maps. Features such as zoom-in and find enhance details and

 National Geographic XPEDITIONS

 Looking for an excellent starting point for a wide range of geographic information? The National Geographic's Xpeditions is the educational section of the National Geographic site, noted for its innovative "map machine," with dynamic maps created using GIS technology. Xpeditions also offers a detailed list of the U.S. National Geographic Standards, the foundation for geographic literacy, and links to matching grade-level lesson plans. Many maps required in grades 4?12 assignments are covered in the printer-friendly maps and in the exciting interactive Xpedition Hall, an interactive learning museum. However, some maps, like the World Viewer, which shows the distribution of various religions, are not sufficiently detailed to be informative. Beautiful graphics and clear text accompany enjoyable enrichment activities. It requires Adobe Acrobat and optional QuickTime for optimal viewing.

 Specialized Maps


 A new understanding of Earth and the moon is stimulated through the sensory richness here. Digital satellite imagery presents a particular astronomical view, determined by the user. GIF and JPEG formats are used for most images; others may require specific site downloads. John Walker of Switzerland's Fourmilab is the author.


 The CIA-based World Factbook site offers in-depth, timely information. Attractive, clear, printable maps for individual countries are provided, along with a reference map section with political and physical maps of the world (divided into regions like Southeast Asia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and 17 others). Country maps include text, scrollable
 beneath the map, with information on geography, people, government, and the economy. Uses PDF or JPEG format, or change JPEG to PDF. Use Real Player and Windows Media for enhanced viewing.


 The University of Texas at Austin offers students in middle and upper grades an excellent collection of small-scale reference maps. Notable examples are the day-by-day war maps in Afghanistan and wonderful historical maps such as the Plan of the Imperial Forums. A total of 5000 maps are online. Search  by continent; view maps in PDF or GIF with Flash plug-in for some.


 Winner of the 2002 Webby award for technical achievement, this extensive historical collection of over 7100 maps focuses on rare 18th- and 19th-century North and South America cartographic materials as well as historic maps of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
The development of U.S. history, culture, and population is particularly covered. This personal collection has been made available through special "Luna" software, a high-resolution scanning and compression technology.In the future, users will be able to share multiple maps from this and other
 collections in a common Internet location. Three views are available: insight Browser, Java Client, and GIS Browser; details are given for viewing requirements and downloads.


 Need cartographic resources for analyzing the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth's surface? Look to this unique site of NASA photos of Earth taken by astronauts in space, with informative, dated captions. Not every location is covered (links to more are offered), but there are many views of cities, landscapes, and Earth-human interactions like deforestation and drilling. Clear instructions are given for use of three resolutions and format choices. Searches are available. Use Real Player and Windows Media for enhanced viewing. For searchable directory images, visualizations, and animations of Earth go to NASA's


 The U.S. Geological Survey presents a stunning set of before and after Landsat images (satellite photos using remote-sensing techniques). Recent environmental events and remote sensing are introduced through topics like disasters, deserts, water, and cities. See the incredible USGS studies of environmental changes at the World Trade Center site in a dated sequence.
 Some maps may require special downloads; clear information is provided.


 Do you have students making maps? They can interactively create maps by inputting borders, boundaries, features, and projections via Generic Mapping Tool, a software package to create high-quality postscript maps in various projections. A PostScript version is drawn first, which the user then downloads to a hard drive, or GIF versions can be saved in a browser. Zoom-in and pan features are available.


 For unique global spatial perspectives, Microsoft's award-winning TerraServer provides aerial views of specific points, selected by the user. TerraServer is one of the world's largest online databases and is designed to work with commonly available computer systems and web browsers over slow-speed communications links. Users can zoom in and out to a selected U.S. region; finer details emerge with each closer view. Topographic maps are provided.

From various
Dec 2002
Update May 2003


Updated Nov. - Dec. 2004
Feb.  - May  2005