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Monday, June 25, 2012

Create Thematic Maps With the National Geographic Map Maker

Recently, I published a list of 21 good map creation tools for students. This morning I read a post by Noel Jenkins that reminded me of another good map creation tool for students.

National Geographic's Map Maker Interactive offers six themes on which users can create custom map displays. Within each theme there are subcategories to choose from. For example, you can select the theme Physical Systems Land then choose volcanic eruptions to display on your map. Map Maker Interactive also provides drawing tool and marker icons that you can place on your map. In the sample pictured below I circled Iceland and placed a volcano icon on it.

Applications for Education
One drawback to National Geographic's Map Maker Interactive is that your maps cannot be embedded into other sites. But you can download your maps, print them, and share links to them. Overall, the ease of use and the variety of themes makes Map Maker Interactive an excellent alternative to creating maps on Google Earth. In fact, in some ways it's better because you don't have to install anything or register to use Map Maker Interactive. Adding layers to Map Maker Interactive is also more intuitive than adding layers on Google Earth. 

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