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Updating Place-Names for Our New 10th Edition Atlas of the World

For over 125 years the National Geographic Society has fulfilled its missions in many ways—one of the most visual has been through the publication of its atlases. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of our first edition Atlas of the World, NG’s Map Librarian, Michael Fry, addressed the many physical and geopolitical changes that have…

GEOGRAPHY AWARENESS WEEK – NOVEMBER 11-17, 2012: Being a National Geographic Cartographer

Geography Awareness Week is celebrated in the United States every third week of November. This year’s theme—Declare Your Interdependence—is intended to explore the idea that we are all connected through the decisions we make on a daily basis, including what foods we eat and which products we buy.   As part of this year’s celebration,…

Cartographic Diligence

One of the greatest advantages of living in the digital age is that geopolitical events, regardless of what remote corner of the planet they occur, are posted on the web within minutes if not hours after they happen. Sometimes pivotal events occur in little-known places (to most Americans) such as Abbottabad, Pakistan—the site of the…

Of National Geographic Maps and Urban Legends

Rarely a year goes by that I am not asked the following question: “Is it true that, for copyright purposes, National Geographic cartographers always embed an error or two on their maps?“ I always respond with an emphatic NO! Quite the opposite is true of maps published by National Geographic. National Geographic cartographers strive for…

Cyrenaica, Libya: Part II

Map of the Countries Bordering the Mediterranean Supplement, January 1912 A year ago, a blog titled Cyrenaica, Libya  was posted on the NGM Blog Central site. It was spurred by a number of letters received about the meaning of this geographic term and how it is portrayed on our maps. Much has happened in Libya…

Cyrenaica, Libya: Part I

    NG Maps knows that many of our readers are curious about place-names on our maps because of the number of letters we receive. But it’s during times of political upheaval that our maps are more closely scrutinized, and we brace ourselves for receiving many more letters. For example, since the start of the…

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S CARTOGRAPHIC TYPEFACES

Our maps have long been known for their distinctive typefaces. But few outside the Society know little of the history that lies behind them. Until the early 1930s, most of our maps were hand-  lettered—a slow and tedious process requiring great patience and even greater skill. An alternate process—that of setting names in movable type,…

2011—A CARTOGRAPHIC RECAP

Although nothing compared to what we mapmakers experienced during the heady days following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s, National Geographic maps have kept pace with–and portrayed–all of the major and minor geopolitical events of 2011. Notably among these: January CUBA: Cuba officially creates two new provinces on New Year’s Day–Artemisa…

A map, as some ten-year-olds see it, ……

  Mrs. Blythe’s fifth-grade social studies class, St. Martin’s Catholic School in Gaithersburg, Maryland Some of the thank-you cards made by the students—note their use and levels of map comprehension Unlike other core subjects such as history, foreign language, or the arts, there is no federal funding dedicated to advancing geography little less cartography education.…