The Best Online World Atlas - INTRODUCTION
- This is a list of links to some of the Best Map and Atlas Websites on the Internet.
- The goal of this list is to replace the hardcover atlas textbook(s) that I have used for my online geography classes at Northern Arizona University.
- WORLD SOCIAL GEOGRAPHY MAPS
- WORLD PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY MAPS
- US GEOGRAPHY MAPS
- BASIC COUNTRY, REGION & OUTLINE BASE MAPS
- WORLD & COUNTRY STATISTICS
- DIRECTION AND LOCATION MAPS
- WEB 2.0 MAP MASHUPS
- MAKE YOUR OWN MAP
- GEOGRAPHY MAP GAMES
1. WORLD SOCIAL GEOGRAPHY THEMATIC MAPS
Thematic Maps show reference information, such as population, religion, income and other mostly socio-economic data. (These are not listed in any particular order.)
- WorldMapper.org - WorldMapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest. Search my Map Categories, Map Thumbnails or Map Index.
- National Geographic Map Machine - Roads/Places - And thematic maps on Population, Natural Resources, Weather and more.
- MSN Encarta World Atlas - General world physical and street/place map.
- MSN Encarta World Atlas Historical and Thematic Maps - Categories include Art, Language, & Literature; Geography; History; Life Science; Physical Science & Technology; Religion & Philosophy; Social Science.
- World Bank Data Maps - World maps showing: Aid Flows, Arable land, CO2 Emissions, Forest Area, Forest Loss, Fresh Water, Growth in Gross, Domestic Product, Income Per Person, Infant Mortality, Life Expectancy, Ratio of Girls in School, Telephone Lines - Also has links to country data
- Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, Univ. of Texas - Has a huge number of scanned historical maps, economic maps, cultural thematic maps, and some physical maps, as well as contemporary region maps and outline maps. Maps come from a variety of sources, so there is little consistency in design. Also has links to other websites with thematic and other maps.
2 . WORLD PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY MAPS
Physical Geography includes Geomorphology (physiography/topography), Biogeography, and Climatology (including climate change). (These are not listed in any particular order.)
- World Atlas of Panoramic Aerial Images - Beautiful oblique/3-D color satellite images of the surface of the earthy - giving a sense of mountains ranges, valleys and plains.
- National Geographic Map Machine - Physical - Satellite - And - thematic maps for Weather, Natural Disasters, Threatened Environments, and more...
3. UNITED STATES GEOGRAPHY MAPS
All Types of Maps of the US. -- Also seed the Web 2.0 Map Mashups, listed below, most of which focus on the U.S. (These are not listed in any particular order.)
- - National Geographic Map Machine - US Boundary Maps - Click on the Thematic Maps tab on the National Geographic Map Machine. Includes: Indian Lands, Wilderness Areas, Fedearl Lands, and Congressional Districts.
- - Topographic ("Topo") Maps of the US - TopoZone - USGS topo maps that can be viewed in street map and satellite image formats, as well as shaded relief and line elevation maps. - TerraServer - Aerial photographs and USGS topo maps of the US.
- - National Atlas of the United States - Comprehensive atlas where you can also make your own maps. Map Layers (categories) include: Agriculture,Environment, People, Biology, Geology, Transportatio, Boundaries, History, Water, Climate, Map Reference (places).
- - The Geography Game USA - easy way to learn the names and locations of US states - from AddictingGames.com
4. BASIC REGION, COUNTRY & OUTLINE BASE MAPS
Basic Region and Country Maps are maps that do not specialize in social or physical geography.
- - WorldAtlas.com - Lots of maps of regions and countries. Also has Map clip art, Flags, Outline maps, Population tables, Continent populations and sizes date, World time conversion, and Definitions of Latitude, Longitude, and other geographic terms. (The website is very busy making it not easy to find things.)
- - Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, Univ. of Texas - This is also listed under Social Geography Thematic Maps, above. It put it here because of the large number of scanned contemporary region maps and outline maps. Maps come from a variety of sources, so there is little consistency in design. Also has links to other websites with outline maps.
Outline Base Maps show simple outlines of continents, regions and countries. Some are Blank Base Maps that can be used for testing the location knowledge (such as which country is located where).
- - Houghton Mifflin's Education Place - Free blank and base maps for personal and classroom use.
- - National Geographic Xpeditions Atlas - The best source for Continent and Country base maps for classroom use. Can select with or without country names, and with or without country borders. Unfortunately, they do not have regional maps (in between a continent and a country, like Southeast Asia). Also has lesson plans and activities.
- - United Nations Cartographic Section - Base maps with country outlines and cities, including a variety of regional maps and maps of every country. This is the best source for regional maps.
- - Blank Base Maps - This is a website that I created many years ago with blank base maps of the US (with no text, just borders and rivers), and links to similar maps of the world.
5. WORLD & COUNTRY STATISTICS
Statistics on the World and Places in the World. (These are not listed in any particular order.)
- CIA World Factbook - Best known for its country statistics, also has basic outline maps of countries and continents.
- GeoHive.com - I think this is the BEST site for country and world statistics - regularly updated.
- World Bank Key Development Data and Statistics - by various regional groupings and by country - Also from the World Bank: Data By Topic - comprehensive index of development statistics
- World Audit.org - The world-wide focus is on democracy, human rights, press freedom, corruption and the rule of law.
- Global Edge - general region and country statistics, description and information.
- InfoPlease.com - World Geography - definitions and major physical geography features (mountains, earthquakes, etc.) of the world.
- Gapminder.org - Global human development trends over time come alive through moving graphics - quite amazing! - see a video presentation of these data here.
- Travel Chronicle - A geographic approach to tourist attractions, including basic geography and demographics for countries, followed by attraction resources. Interface is not very user friendly -- requires some digging to find things.
6. DIRECTION & LOCATION MAPS
These all provide Road Maps, Business Locations, and Satellite Views. Ask and Mapqest also have topography (elevation). Live also has provides a 3-D / oblique image view of selected cities. They are listed in the order that they were rated in PC World (Feb 2007).
- Google Maps (maps.google.com)
- Ask.com Maps (maps.ask.com)
- Microsoft Live Local (maps.live.com)
- Yahoo Maps (maps.yahoo.com)
- Mapquest (mapquest.com)
7. WEB 2.0 MAP MASHUPS
These sites mostly use Google Maps on which they overlay (mashup) other, more specialized information. (not listed in any particular order)
- Weather Bonk.com - Weather conditions and forecasts, Traffic reports and Webcams for cities around the world
- Housing Maps.com - Plots location and links to houses and apartments for sale and rent that are listed on Craigslist.com - covers the US and London
- Zillow.com - Houses for sale, Recent house sales, and Estimated house values for any property in the US.
- Rrove.com - Make your own Google Maps and easily copy the code to your website.
- Web 2.0 Maps Services Hubpage - a list of 50 map sites, not organized in any way except alphabetically.
8. MAKE YOUR OWN MAP
Another form of Map Mashup are online tools to make your own map.
- QuickMaps.com - Allows you to mark, draw and doodle on Google map, and then save it for other to see, though Google Maps is also starting to have these types of tools built in.
- Azimuthal Equidistant Projection Map Server - Not the easiest to use for a map novice, but does give you a lot of flexibility to create simple and accurate line maps centered on different parts of the world. I used this tool to create my series of North America blank base maps that can be found here: Blank Base Maps
9. GEOGRAPHY MAP GAMES
These geography map games usually showing a blank outline map where you have to guess the country.
- Map Game: Middle East and South Asia - and - Europe - drag the country to its location on a satellite image - from AddictingGames.com
- Geography Game: Europe - and - Australia - and - Central America - and - South America - and - Canada - beat the flyer (timer) by locating the countries and provinces as their name appears on the screen -- a fun way to remember the names and locations of countires - from AddictingGames.com -- Africa used to be here, but seems to have been taken down :(
- Seterra - is a free geography game that you must download and install on your PC computer. It has 70 different exercises in which you learn about countries, capitals, flags and cities of the world. You can get it from its Swedish developer's website or fomDownload.com.
- SheppardSoftware.com - US Geography Games - and - World Geography Games - these are some of the best for middle school through college.
- Huge list of links to Geography Games - if you have time to browse.