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About National Geographic Maps

More than 100 Years of Map Making: Cartography at the National Geographic

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Gilbert H. Grosvenor, National Geographic magazine’s founding editor, is credited with saying:

A map is the greatest of all epic poems. Its lines and colors show the realization of great dreams.

This statement has inspired the work of National Geographic cartographers for over a century and accurately summarizes the way maps can capture the imagination. Maps can inspire real or fantastic travel plans, enhance one’s understanding of international events, or help bring history to life.

Maps have been a cornerstone of National Geographic since they were published in the first issue of the magazine, in October 1888. The year 1915 witnessed the founding of the Map Department, which evolved into today’s National Geographic Maps.

As in the past, our cartographers continue to illustrate the world around us through the art and science of mapmaking. We adhere to this long-held mission by creating the world’s best wall maps, outdoor recreation maps, travel maps, atlases, globes, and map apps—all of which inspire people to care about and explore their world. 27% of the proceeds from the sale and licensing of National Geographic maps go to help fund the conservation and education efforts of the National Geographic Society.

Our team of cartographers, editors, producers, and salespeople is located in Washington, D.C., and Evergreen, Colorado.

Learn more about the history of the National Geographic cartographic department.