October 31, 2007

nüvi Movie

Interesting clip from the NatGeo Channel's "Road Trip Tips" about in-car navigation:

The folks at Garmin seemed pleased.

NatGeo Magazine Interactive Maps

There's a section of the National Geographic Magazine web site that offers interactive features, including some great maps.
Click around the maps to bring up photos and other content related to that place.

Here are links to a few:

Death Valley - Local Foods - Maya - Pakistan

A snippet of what I saw when I clicked on "Lahore"

October 30, 2007

Oh, The Places You've Been

Here's a very cool widget:

TravBuddy.com lets you check off the countries (and US states, Canadian Provinces) you've been and then returns a map of your travels to you with a web link as well as code for posting on your blog or web page. Get it here.

This is a section of my world travel map. Green shows where I've been in the US:

October 29, 2007

Map Help for the Classroom

Xpeditions is a National Geographic resource for geography educators.

Included is an Atlas offering hundreds of free printable black & white maps such as these:

October 28, 2007

Unfolding Map Supplements

If you get a new issue of National Geographic Magazine that includes a supplement map and wish you could have an unfolded copy, we have in the past year started saving a limited number of maps before they hit the folding machine.

While available, they can be purchased by calling our Evergreen, Colorado office at 800-962-1643.

October 27, 2007

Dr. Evil Didn't Have a Clue

How much is a map company worth?

The map industry has been shaken (or at least stirred) in recent months by announcement of two acquisitions totaling more than ten billion dollars!

In July, GPS maker TomTom announced an agreement to acquire Tele Atlas. Six weeks later, phone maker Nokia said it will buy NavTeq. Together, Tele Atlas and NavTeq supply most of the data for most in-car navigation systems, map web sites and software, as well as many publishers of street and road maps around the world.

Neither company publishes maps. Their business model is providing data to those that do publish, whether in electronic or print form. Through enormous investment that in past years has been considered risky by some, these companies turned the map industry on its head and may have turned some companies into the equivalent of the buggy whip manufacturers of the last century.

It's a classic business tale of the company that thinks they're in the whip business, when in fact they were in the transportation accessory business. Thus, when the new form of transport didn't require a whip, they went under.

Traditionally, map companies have collected map data, then published it, and then distributed it. In today's world it is possible to separate these three functions among two to three companies to achieve the end result. The business models are evolving and nobody, including the two companies that have pledged $10,000,000,000+, really knows how it will all shake out. But the bet is that services and information, rather than hardware, are where the largest profits will be.

The good news for consumers is that more maps can be accessed in more forms and places than ever before. The old-fashioned street map and road atlas are still with us. But you can also use a GPS to tell you how to get someplace without ever viewing a graphical map display.

As to National Geographic Maps, we continue to have a successful and growing business in the publication of printed wall maps and outdoor recreation maps. We have already been in the business of map software for some years. All of our maps are now generated from digital data. This puts us in a good position to take advantage of emerging technologies and the opportunities they present.

But even as we make more of our mapping available in digital media, we also believe that, at least for the kinds of maps we create, the printed form is a great user interface.

* * * * *

Update Oct. 31, 2007 >
GPS maker Garmin outbids TomTom for TeleAtlas

October 26, 2007

Panama Then & Now

Early in the history of map supplements at National Geographic, in February of 1912 we produced a Bird's Eye View of the Panama Canal, which was then nearing completion.

Last fall, in cooperation with the Panamanian government, we published an AdventureMap of Panama. This two-sided waterproof, tearproof map shows all of Panama at a scale of 1:475,000 (8 miles to the inch) and includes detailed insets of Panama City and the Canal Region (excerpt below). Map notes, text blocks and photos make this map into a mini-guidebook, making it a great planning tool for an outdoor recreation trip to Panama and to use in-country as well.

[more information]

Tip: click on images to see them larger

Old National Geographic Maps

We often are asked for maps that appeared as supplements to National Geographic Magazine in years past.

Although a few are in our current catalog, most are out of print. Of course, you might get lucky find what you want at a flea market or on eBay. But even if in excellent shape, it will be folded.

Now there is a way to view nearly all of our old supplements, and, if desired, buy a ready-to-frame copy printed on demand. Check out the National Geographic Maps Classic Collection offered by our partner maps.com.

Right now the collection goes up to 1999 and we are working on adding more recent maps.

A related question we are often asked is how to obtain a back issue of the magazine. That information is here. If the issue you want included a supplement, the map will still come with that magazine.

October 25, 2007

About This Blog

This is the official blog of National Geographic Maps. We are a division of the National Geographic Society with offices in Washington, DC and Evergreen, Colorado USA.

We publish reference maps, outdoor recreation maps and mapping software, and professional mapping applications. We produce maps for other divisions of NGS such as magazines, books, videos and the web.

Through this blog we’ll update you on our activities and what’s going on in the world of mapping, and answer some of your questions.