As someone who loves geography and particularly maps, I’ve had various maps on my walls for years, allowing for closer study and decoration that is both beautiful and educational. Some maps can be more utilitarian, giving you only the information you need for a certain task, but some can add extra details such as flags of the world. Some are raised relief maps that give you an easy view of landforms in an area. And maps can also be works of art, as beautiful to look at as they are interesting to study.
National Geographic wall maps fall into that last category. They are gorgeous, but also full of information. I recently had the opportunity to review two types of their wall maps: a paper state wall map, and a thick personalized world map where you can chronicle your travels.
State Maps and Other Wall Maps
The paper state map is of my home state, Arizona, but they also offer maps for other states. These maps show major roads, landforms, towns and cities, national parks and monuments, bodies of water, borders and just enough color to impart information on foliage without being at all distracting or cluttered looking. Everything is incredibly clear and well marked. There is plenty of information on these maps to study. Many things are included that you’re not used to seeing on other maps, such as the names of plateaus, valleys and small mountain ranges. I’ve learned so much about my own state. Also, as I’ve found with most maps, the more you study this map, the more it reveals to you.
The National Geographic state wall maps would be gorgeous on anyone’s wall and deserve framing. Plus the price on these wall maps is excellent at less than $20. Several state maps are available in National Geographic’s state wall map store, and many are available on Amazon as well. Dimensions vary by state; for example, the Washington state map is 31″ x 41″ and the California state map is 34″ x 41″. Scales also vary. Maps are also available in a laminated version, which would be a cheaper alternative to framing. National Geographic also has many other types of wall maps available, such as for countries, continents, the sea floor, National Parks, Mount Everest, bird migration, the Civil War, sunken ships off North Carolina, the moon, constellations, the universe and more.
Wired: The detail on the maps is wonderful and the quality is high. Gives you a fairly close study of your state.
Tired: Would cost a lot to frame properly.
My World Personalized Map
I know I’m not the only one out there who loves to travel and likes to relive memories from past trips. One fun way to do that is to mark your trips on a world map, so you can see everywhere you’ve been. National Geographic has a map designed for this purpose. The National Geographic My World Personalized Map (see above) is a decent sized map (38-1/2″ x 26-1/2″) that arrives mounted and framed, ready to hang on your wall. Then you can push the included push pins into the map to chronicle your adventures. There are 20 of each of five different colored pins, each for a different purpose: green for places you’ve been, yellow for planned trips, red for dream vacations, blue for family and friends and black for your genealogical roots. You can also personalize the bottom section of the map with up to 70 characters of text. The whole map has a brownish tint, giving it that classic, heirloom look.
The map is small enough to take in all at once, but large enough for you to have plenty of room to push in many pins. Most major cities are marked. And don’t feel bad about poking holes in this map. It’s designed for this purpose. And as time goes on and you fill in more of the map, you can be reminded of how small the world is and how much of it you have seen.
Since the map is designed for you to use the push pins, it’s much sturdier and thicker than your usual wall map. It isn’t big enough or detailed enough to chart travel itineraries in detail, but you can just pick one or two memorable spots on your journey to mark. And for you lucky few who have made the journey, most of the Antarctic coast is well labeled.
It would be easy to accidentally gouge the map, though, so take care with it and don’t display it in a high traffic area. The frame seems quite sturdy, but it is still light enough to easily hang on the wall. The National Geographic My World Personalized Map costs $149.
Wired: See the places that you’ve been to on the Earth all at one time. Plan trips together with your family. Map your family roots. It’s a fun map that you can use to detail your travels and celebrate everywhere you’ve been.
Tired: Price is a little high, but you get a lot for the price. Map is somewhat fragile.
Note: I received a copy to review of both the Arizona wall map and the My World Personalized Map.
[This article was originally published on GeekDad on April 28, 2010.]