Exploring Earth at Night

A new MapMaker Interactive layer gives you a view of the Earth at night, as seen from space. This new map is a cloud-free view of our planet acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Satellite (Suomi NPP). The image reveals city lights, gas flares, wildfires and other nighttime lights. The imagery was captured in April and October 2012 by a sensor aboard NOAA’s Suomi … Continue reading Exploring Earth at Night

Exploring the Pitcairn Archipelago with Maps

Pitcairn is a small island in the South Pacific Ocean at about 25° South latitude, just a couple degrees away from the Tropic of Capricorn (23° S). It’s approximately 130° West in longitude, a line of longitude not shared with much land–except parts of Antarctica, the Pacific Northwest, and Arctic regions of Canada many thousands of miles north. In fact, there’s not much other land around Pitcairn and its tiny island neighbors. This small island group–including Pitcairn, Ducie, Henderson, and Oeno–is remote, but remote does not mean insignificant. Pitcairn has a rich history and is currently the site of an expedition being conducted by NG Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala as part of the Pristine Seas project. Want to explore the geography of Pitcairn? Here are a few National Geographic Education mapping resources to get you started.

InteractiveMap_WorldPolitical_250x.jpgMapMaker Interactive: Use the National Geographic MapMaker Interactive to zoom into Pitcairn (25° 04′ 36” S, 130° 06′ 06” W) and explore. Zoom back out again to get the larger context of the geography of this remote archipelago. Use the measure tool to calculate the distance between Pitcairn and some of its closest yet distant neighbors, including Easter Island and Tahiti.


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Testing Crime Theory with Maps: Broken Windows & Violent Crime in Philadelphia

Each year the National Geographic Society sponsors a number of cartography awards to support up-and-coming student map makers. Today I’d like to introduce you to Brad Carter, a student at the Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, who won second prize in the Association of American Geographers-National Geographic Award in Mapping with his map, Broken Windows & Violent Crime in Philadelphia. His prize: $300 and a National Geographic 9th Edition Atlas of the World. Brad shared his map and some insights into his motivations for creating it.
Where are you from?
Toronto, Ontario
Name one or more dream jobs: 
Too many jobs could fit that description for me to pick just one. Any job that provides a challenge, demands creative problem solving, and offers an element of discovery would make it to the top of the list. That’s probably why I’ve gravitated towards cartography. It offers you the opportunity to work across many fields of study, while at the same time demanding the creativity to express complex information in a single image.
Who is your favorite geographer, map maker, scientist, or adventurer?
If I had to choose a favourite adventurer it would probably be Scott Carpenter, the astronaut that flew in orbit during the Mercury program, then left NASA to participate in the SeaLab project. To have had the opportunity to be a pioneer in the exploration of two great frontiers– outer space and the deep sea–makes his story particularly compelling.
What was your undergraduate major?
Marine Biology

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The Value of America’s Forests: A Prize-Winning Map

Each year the National Geographic Society sponsors a number of cartography awards to support up-and-coming student map-makers. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Sarah Graves, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who won first prize in the Association of American Geographers-National Geographic Award in Mapping with her map, The Value of America’s Forests. Her prize: $900 and a National Geographic 9th Edition Atlas of the World. Sarah shared her map and a few reflections on her background and interest in maps and visualizations.

Graves_NatGeoMap_CROPPED.jpgWhere are you from?
I was born and raised in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-Saint Paul) of Minnesota. For most of my life I’ve lived in the town of Minnetonka, a suburb of Minneapolis.

GravesPicture.JPGName one or more dream jobs.
A forest ecologist. My dream is to have a job researching forests and educating others on the value of preserving these ecosystems.

Who is your favorite geographer, map-maker, scientist, or adventurer?
I wish I could say that I have a favorite! I am marveled by the type of work people are doing across all disciplines to understand, protect, and teach others about preserving ecosystems. I am especially inspired by those who are taking science out of academic institutions and making information available to decision-makers and to the public.

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Five for Friday: New Map Updates!

Keeping our library of cartography fresh, accurate, and current is a priority for us at National Geographic. And our maps for educators and students are no exception. The downloadable black-and-white 1-page maps of continents, countries, and states have been a staple of the National Geographic website for over ten years. Formerly known as Xpeditions maps, this cartographic series has been popular with educators who use them for geography learning activities across a range of subjects, ages, and grades. In early 2011, we launched a new website for educators at NatGeoEd.org including a new tool for customizing these maps, now called MapMaker 1-Page Maps. But as soon as the new site launched, it was already time for a cartographic update! Geography changes around the world everyday–and particularly the boundaries and place-names found on political maps. Here are the top five changes to look for in the MapMaker 1-Page online map library.


1. South Sudan

In a January 2011 referendum, the people of the autonomous region of
Southern Sudan voted for their independence from Sudan, creating the
Republic of South Sudan on July 9, 2011–the world’s 195th country. On
July 14, 2011 South Sudan joined the United Nations as a member state.
Sudan had long been the largest country in Africa, but with the change
the resulting area is now surpassed in size by Algeria. Along with the
addition of the new South Sudan map, changes were also made to the maps
of all bordering countries along with the continental and world maps
that included South Sudan in their area of overage. The updated maps
include neighboring Chad, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Central African
Republic, and Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as the Africa,
Asia, and World maps.


2. Iceland

In addition to political features, maps in the MapMaker 1-Page online
library also include some updates to important physical features and
points of interest. In 2010, the glacially covered volcano
Eyjafjallajökull erupted for nearly two months, with the resulting ash
clouds disrupting air travel across Europe. The stratovolcano is still
active and is now represented with a volcano symbol on the 1-page map of
Iceland along with some of the island’s other volcanic peaks.


3. British Columbia–Canada

In mid-2010 a large archipelago in the Canadian province of British
Columbia was renamed Haida Gwaii from its former name, Queen Charlotte
Islands. The change was part of an agreement between the government of
British Columbia and the Haida Nation–a group indigenous to the Pacific
Northwest region of North America.

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