The average Joe may hear “map” and think highways, rivers and roads, but they may not realize how many types of maps exist. I mean, there are maps for almost everything - weather maps, political maps, even meteor maps! When I’m not on the road hitting the latest and greatest Discovery Map destination, I spend a lot of time (virtually) exploring using the various types of maps online. One of my favorite things about maps is their ability to keep you from getting lost while simultaneously opening the door to discovery. Below you’ll be able to check out my favorite digital maps and a couple cartographers who reveal much more than the correct turn to take.
Maps I Admire:
Good Wanderlust - Have you ever wished to roam the routes of great explorers like Lewis and Clark, or maybe see exactly how to travel the world in 80 days? Good Wanderlust lets map geeks like us do just that. Using an interactive map, those with a knack for adventure can trek across the paths of historic heroes with both factual and fictional journeys to choose from. Along the way take the scenic route and make the same pit stops as some of history’s most noteworthy explorers, all from the comfort of your couch.
Snazzy Maps – Creating maps has never been so sleek. While Discovery Map holds a special place in my heart, Snazzy Maps is great for creating a map that is custom, just for you. Pick a color scheme, drop personalized pins and even fill in your own description. Users can explore maps others have created, or design a map that is truly one of a kind to match their blog, website, or maybe just their mood.
The Old Farmer's Almanac – If you’ve longed for clairvoyant abilities, this psychic map comes pretty close, BYOCB (bring your own crystal ball). Each year a long range weather forecast is created for The Old Farmer’s Almanac based on weather trends from years past. Use the interactive weather map to check out if you should expect a scorcher of a summer or a wallop of a winter in your geographical region.
Meteor Map -For geography geeks who consider themselves to be out of this world, try exploring intergalactic impacts here on earth. Space cowboys can explore 50 asteroid impact sites using satellite images on this interactive map. Though these are not earth’s only impact sites, they are certainly some of the biggest. When you’re lucky, and sometimes lazy, the final frontier comes to you!
Cartographers to Keep Up With:
Ken Jennings – Now you may know of legendary Ken Jennings as the 74-time Jeopardy! Champion, but I know of him as a different kind of legend, that is, a map legend. Post-Jeopardy!, Jennings went on to write about all things geographical in his book, Maphead. Currently, he is keeping up with the world of cartography in his weekly Condé Nast Traveler column where he not only discusses maps, but reveals there is often much more than meets the eye. Readers can brush up on map trivia and discover the length of the world’s longest flight, or the longest straight-line hike in the world (and why it’s impossible). Follow Ken on twitter using the handle @KenJennings to stay posted on his newest publications.
Mike Foster – Mike is not only a modern day Cartographer, but a Geographic Information Scientist and Specialist, and a Data Visualization Instructor. Talk about a triple threat. He believes “maps take you on journeys without ever leaving your desk, office, bedroom, or couch, much like music,” and I have to say, I agree! When he’s not off designing maps, he’s writing about them. Mike keeps up with the cutting edge trends in cartography on his blog, Graphicarto, where he discusses everything from directional cartography, to mapping you favorite baseball team. Follow Matt on twitter using the handle @mjfoster83 to stay looped in on the map movement.
Looking for more map geeks to follow? Keep up with us at Discovery Map by following the handle @discovery_map on Instagram. Or, use #DiscoveryMap on your photos to share your own map-made adventures!