Exploration maps

Many exploration maps were produced by National Geographic rich with information of the early explorers to many parts of our world. The maps on this page contain information on the early exploration of the Americas, Africa and the polar regions. Modern day exploration has now reached the most inaccessible areas of this earth and is now concentrating to the farthest reaches of space. Many of the maps on this page will reflect this modern day exploration.

Click on Map Titles that are Links to see a Picture of that map.


1. Millennium in Maps: Exploration - February 1998 (31"x20")
Side A:
This map by National Geographic shows exploration from before the birth of Christ till modern times. Different sections are titled 1. To A.D. 100 Setting Out, 2. A.D. 100-1400 Expanding Provincial Realms, 3. 1400-1700 Voyaging for God, Glory and Gold and 4. 1700-1900s Charting the World, Expanding the Mind. It contains physical maps showing the routes of such famous explorers as Marco Polo, Erik the Red, Columbus and James Cook. Pictures on both sides of the map show vehicles used to explore land, sea, the depths, the mountains and space.

2. Millennium in Maps: The Explorers - February 1998 (31"x20")
Side B:
This side of the map is filled with pictures of different explorers throughout time. Each picture has a little write-up showing this particular explorers contribution to the exploration of our world. There is a huge physical map showing the routes of all these explorers. On the bottom of the map is a timeline of exploration.


Exploration maps of the Americas:

1. Canada- June 1936 (39"x26.5") This is a unique map of Canada done in pastel hues to color the geographical regions. It includes insets with details on the climate, natural resources as well as showing the routes of explorers.

2. Mexico, Central America and the West Indies - December 1939 (41.5"x25") This map contains a wealth of historical information including the dates of the founding of many cities, the explorers who named them, Aztec and Maya sites and more. It contains inset maps of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Saint Thomas, the Bermuda Islands, Jamaica and Cuba.

3. The Southwestern United States - June 1940 (34"x25") This map of the Southwestern United States region is filled with notes on historical sites and places of interest along with the routes of explorers with the dates of their expeditions. It includes national parks and monuments, Indian reservations, reclamation projects and battlefields.

4. Northwestern United States and Canadian Provinces - June 1941 (36"x24") This is a map of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming along with the southern portions of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. It contains notes on historical sites and places of interest along with routes of explorers.

5. Historical Map of the United States - June 1953 (41"x26.5") This map has a wealth of historical information. It also has details on explorers routes and immigrant trails. It has inset maps of the Central Atlantic States and the Northeastern states.

6. Physical Map of South America - October 1972 (30"x23")
Side A:
This is a physical map of South America showing historical, geographic and economic details of the continent. It shows the Inca Empire before Columbus and archaeological sites. It does have some information on exploration routes of some Spanish and Portuguese explorers.

7. Discoverers of the Pacific - December 1974 (37"x22.5")
Side A:
This map is dedicated to the early Polynesians who explored the Pacific islands from New Guinea to Easter Island to the Hawaiian islands in the north. There is a colorful physical map in the center showing the ancient seaways of these early explorers. All along the outside of this map are pictures of these explorers, the sailing craft they used and pictures of tools they used . On the right are pictures and a write-up showing how they built these craft.

8. Central America: Past and Present - April 1986 (31.5"x20")
Side B:
This educational map features six individual maps highlighting the history of the region and includes colorful illustrations of historical figures, artifacts and wildlife. A geographical and historical overview is included. One section of the map is dedicated to the exploration and conquest of Central America by Spanish explorers.


9. Where Did Columbus Discover America? - November 1986 (20.5"x14.5")
Side A:
This map shows two possible routes of Columbus. One begins from the Canary Islands and is not adjusted for current and leeway, and shows him landing at San Salvador (Watling Island). The other route from the Canary Islands is adjusted for current and leeway, and has him landing at Samana Cay. The bottom half of the map has illustrations of the three ships used in his expedition, plus a write-up on how the routes were calculated.

10. Threading the Islands - November 1986 (20.5"x14.5")
Side B:
This map shows how Adm. Samuel Eliot Morison proposed Columbus threaded the islands starting from San Salvador. It also shows the track proposed by Gustavus V. Fox starting form Samana Cay. The insert map at the bottom shows how Columbus could have traveled along the coast of Samana Cay using notes from his log book

11. Rediscovering Hawaii - September 1995 (31"x20")
Side A:
This map has a lot of information on the Hawaiian Islands geological history and its people and tourist appeal. The center part has a beautiful physical map of the Hawaiian Islands filled with information on the arrival of the early Polynesian mariners and how they settled the islands. An insert map shows the routes of the Polynesian migrations and Cooks 1777-79 voyage.

12. Western Migration - September 2000 (35"x22")
Side A:
This side has a beautiful physical map of the western part of the United States showing the routes of the western settlers, such as the Oregon-California trail and the Santa Fe trail. This map is filled with notes, illustrations and insets about these pioneers, their reasons for coming, their hardships on the way, the gold rush and the effects of their coming.

13. The Pathfinders: Exploring the Far Frontiers - September 2000 (35"x22")
Side B:
This side has another physical map of the western United States showing the routes of the early explorers of this region such as Lewis and Clark and Fremont the Pathfinder. The map is filled with historic notes, write-ups and illustrations along the outside explaining these explorers and their travels.

Exploration maps of Africa:

1. Heritage of Africa - December 1971 (28"x22.5")
Side B:
This map features a physical map of Africa with an abundance of Historical notes showing how the early inhabitants and explorers ventured from the coast into the interior of the continent.

2. Africa: It's Political Development - February 1980 (29x23)
Side B:
This side contains an Old World map of Africa crafted by Flemish cartographer Ortelius in 1750. It has maps and explanations showing an overview of the political development of Africa. It also has a beautiful physical map of Africa showing the routes of early explorers along with a write-up titled European Exploration.

Exploration maps of the Polar regions:

1. North Pole Regions - July 1907 (19"x19") This old map is a one of a kind loaded with information about arctic exploration. It contains an inset of the Smith Sound region including noted explorers and an inset of Spitzbergen.

2. Arctic Regions - November 1925 (20"x19") This is a beautiful companion to the North Pole Regions map of 1907 with lots of detailed explorers routes. It has detailed insets of the Ellesmere Island region, Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land

3. The Antarctic Regions - October 1932 (26"x19") This is a political map of Antarctica made a few years after Byrds historical flight over the South Pole. It contains routes of explorers and unexplored regions. It has inset maps of Byrd's South Pole flight, King Edward VII Land, part of Marie Byrd land and the Antarctic Archipelago.

4. Top of the World - October 1949 (29"x28") This unique map has a view of the top of the world with the North Pole region at its center. It contains descriptions of polar expeditions by Peary, Byrd, Ellsworht, Amundsen, Nobile and Schmidt.

5. Antarctica- September 1957 (36"x29") This map contains a great amount of detail on the geography of the land and the history of the expeditions to the Antarctic. It has a detailed inset of Queen Maud Range. International geophysical year stations are identified by country.

6. Antarctica- February 1963 (25"x19") This is a highly detailed political map with lots of information on the geography of Antarctica along with historical facts on the exploration of this continent. It has inset maps of the Queen Maud Range, McMurdo Sound and a sub glacial Antarctica.

7. Arctic Ocean - October 1971 (25"x19")
Side B:
This detailed map of the Arctic Ocean has an abundance of historical and geographical notes and expedition routes. The backside has a physical map of the Atlantic Ocean floor.

8. Arctic Ocean map - February 1983 (29.5"x23")
Side A:
This is a beautiful political map of the Arctic Ocean filled with historical and geographical notes. It has information on expeditions and explorers routes.

9. Antarctica map - April 1987 (30"x21")
Side A:
This map of Antarctica is filled with information on expeditions to Antarctica, stations, wildlife, climate and more. It has inset maps showing the sub glacial continent and the various countries claims on the region.

10. Antarctica: A New Age of Exploration - February 2002 (31"x20")
Side B:
This side has a fantastic physical raised relief map of Antarctica. It is filled with notes and satellite images on the geography of Antarctica. It contains an inset map showing the locations of all the research stations on this continent.


Exploration maps of Modern Explorers:

1. Teammates in Mans Greatest Adventure - September 1973 (34"x22.5")
Side B:
This is a fantastic illustration showing all the astronauts of the Apollo missions to the moon. Each astronaut is highly detailed standing on a moonlike training site on Earth. On the other side of the map is a view of the earth as seen from the moon.

2. Mars Revealed - February 2001 (31"x20")
Side A:
This side is filled with illustrations and pictures taken from Mariner and Viking orbiters and Pathfinder Lander. These unmanned vehicles represent the first explorers to this Martian planet. They are paving the way for future human explorers. On the bottom of the map is a timeline of events leading up to our present knowledge of the planet

3. Destination Mars - February 2001 (31"x20")
Side B:
This is a detailed and true color map of the planet produced from data beamed from the Mars Global Surveyor. It is a beautiful physical relief map showing the topography of the Mars planet.

4. The Quest for Everest - June 2002 (29.5"x20.5")
Side A:
This side has a beautiful relief map the Himalayan range showing the routes of the first expeditions exploring this region. On both sides are pictures, illustrations and write-ups on the various adventurers who ventured into this rough landscape.

5. Everest 50 - May 2003 (31"x20")
Side A:
Most of this map is a huge physical relief map of the Himalayan range. On the left side are insert physical maps of the northern and southern approaches of Mount Everest showing the routes of the various early expeditions to reach the summit.

6. Everest- May 2003 (31"x20")
Side B:
This is a beautiful detailed digital model of Mount Everest produced from generations of surveyors stretching back to the days of George Everest. The routes of some of the expeditions to the top are marked on this model

7. 100 Years of Flight - December 2003 (31"x20")
Side A:
This side is filled with pictures and illustrations of the various pioneers who made flight possible, along with pictures of some of the aircraft they used. On the bottom is a large physical map of the world showing the routes of some of the early aviators.

8. 100 Years of Flight - December 2003 (31"x20")
Side B:
This side is a beautiful illustration of the various aircraft up through the ages from the Wright Flier to the Space Shuttle.

9. New Views of our Sun - July 2004 (31"x20")
Side A:
This side is filled with a beautiful illustration showing the fiery surface of the sun. On the left are illustrations and write-ups explaining the different temperature regions of the sun.

10. Exploring Space Weather - July 2004 (31"x20")
Side B:
This side uses illustrations to explain how space weather is affected by the sun. A lot of this information was gleamed from telescopes and satellites over the last century.

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