From maps of your neighborhood, to maps of planets in the galaxy, the Internet has millions of maps. Today's topic is online atlases specializing in continent, country and state maps. Whether you are a tourist planning a vacation, a student writing a report, or a simply an armchair traveler, these are the sites you'll want to consult.
Created for government policymakers and spies, the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook is an excellent student resource. Everything in it (expect the CIA seal) is in the public domain, so you can copy and distribute the information freely. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, each country profile includes a map and a long page of statistics. Other unique features are the gallery of flags, and the full-color continent maps in both JPG and PDF format. The World Factbook (and its two previous incarnations) has been published since 1943. It's even older than the CIA itself, which was established in 1947.
Woo, who! These sixty-six black-and-white printable outline maps (in Acrobat PDF) are royalty-free for classroom and homework usage. There are maps of every continent, and many counties, but the United States has the best coverage with sixteen maps including state capitals (with and without labels), state postal abbreviations, regions and climate. As if that wasn't enough to make this a five-star site, at the very top of the page there is a small link to GeoNet. Follow it for a fun collection of online geography trivia games.
Infoplease Atlas is everything you'd want from an atlas, including maps, country profiles, flags and statistics. Enter via the clickable world map, or browse the map index. Best clicks are the nineteen geography quizzes, sixteen interactive crossword puzzles, geography glossary, world time zone maps, and printable outline maps of the United States and the seven continents. What are the "seven seas?" Click on over to Geography FAQ to find out. Be sure to bookmark this site for school reports.
A straightforward interface makes Merriam-Webster's Atlas easy to use. Simply select your country or U.S. state from one of the drop-down menus, and you'll be rewarded with a single page country (or state) profile with map, flag and a few statistics. Links to more Merriam-Webster content (such as dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Game of the Day) are found at the bottom of every page.
Not just an online version of a printed atlas, National Geographic's Map Machine lets you create and save your own customized maps. A few examples of your mapping choices include Degree of Ecosystem Threats, Annual Precipitation, Recent Earthquakes or Mineral Resources. Of course, political maps (as well as flags, statistics and all the country stuff you need for school reports) are also available. The quality, variety and depth of information (as well as the fun factor) make the Map Machine my pick of the day.