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The World of Mapping

Seeing & Enjoying The Bigger Picture

Mapping and its relation to local, national and global geography enables us to better understand and enjoy our surroundings. This area of the site dishes up all kinds of fun and interesting sections from information on mapping, to various facts and figures and history, to games and quizzes that everyone can explore and have fun with. The topics covered below include:

So check out all the resources in each section below, open your minds, have fun, and let the exploration begin!


North American Geography

Canadian Geographic - Games & Quizzes
Welcome to The Canadian Atlas Online Games & quizzes arena. Canadians are renowned for their love of a challenge and their spirit of competition. Have fun demonstrating your knowledge and learning fascinating new facts about Canada from a selection of puzzles, quizzes and crosswords presented for your enjoyment.

Canadian Atlas - Games & Quizzes


National Geographic - Geography Slideshow & Multimedia
This section provides a link to the National Geographic's Education area and their Encyclopedic Entry for a rich source of details on the physical geography of North America. It includes a slideshow that can be maximized full screen, as well as vocabulary highlights and glossary, images, links to maps and multimedia (left side of page), Worksheets and Handouts (bottom of page), and more.

North America - Physical Geography


Learning Games For - Geography
A resource with links to simple educational games such as Word-O-Ramas, Letterfalls, Wordsearches, Spelling, Jigsaw puzzles and more.

Online Learning Games for kids are a great way to build the skills that kids need to succeed in school. These educational games for kids make learning fun.

Learning Games for Kids



World Geography

Canadian Council for Geographic Education
While there are hundreds of reasons why students should study geography, here is the CCGE’s list of the Top 10 reasons. Download and post a copy of this list in your classroom today!
Top 10 Reasons to Study Geography
(PDF file, 2 pages)

Classroom Activities: Canadian Geographic Poster Maps, Human Geography, Physical Geography, Environmental Geography and Geomatics.

Classroom Activities


National Geographic - Geography Skills Article
Next is an interesting article discussing the importance of developing geographic knowledge and skills.

Geographic skills provide the necessary tools and techniques for us to think geographically.

The Importance of Geographic Skills
Geographic skills provide the necessary tools and techniques for us to think geographically. They are central to geography’s distinctive approach to understanding Earth’s physical and human patterns and processes. Geographic skills are used in making decisions important to everyday life—where to buy or rent a home; where to get a job; how to get to work or to a friend’s house; and where to shop, vacation, or go to school. All of these decisions involve the ability to acquire, arrange, and use geographic information. Daily decisions and community activities are linked to thinking systematically and spatially about environmental and societal issues." ...

Geographic Skills Index


National Geographic - Video
"Why is Geo-literacy Important: Prepare for Decision-Making in the 21st Century"
(Video - 4:13 minutes)

Why is Geo-literacy Important?


National Geographic - Interactive Map
MapMaker Interactive
"Explore your world with map themes, data, and tools for customizing your map."

This may take a while to download depending on your Internet connection, but once it does it's quick ... and very cool. Play around with the interactive map functions and tools on the left side, go full screen, zoom in/out, and discover details and information overlayed on the map about: physical and water and land systems, sea surface temperatures, population densities, language diversities, global time zones, electricity generation, see where all the "big cats" in the world live, view the patterns of night time lights across the world, and more. All features are able to be enabled/disabled, turned on & off to display the corresponding information over the map. View longitude/latitude details as you move your mouse around. You can even adjust transparency settings of different details, draw on the map, and show streets and satellite views, add many different types of markers to the map, and much more. A fun, interesting and engaging way to spend some time while learning more about the world we all share!

National Geographic - MapMaker Interactive


More World/Geography Map Links

This collection contains a selection of content from National Geographic Education about maps. Use "Search" to find more.

"Investigating Your World With My World GIS A Collection of Guided Inquiry Exercises for Explorers of All Ages"


Sheppard Software - Learning Games
Some fun and simple to intermediate online World Geography Games by Sheppard Software. By playing Sheppard Software's geography games, you will gain a mental map of the world's continents, countries, capitals, & landscapes!



History of Mapping

This section provides a few links that harken back to the development of maps by our ancestors from days long gone as they explored and made new discoveries about the world around them.

We owe our current knowlege and advanced mapping systems to the efforts they made in building the foundation upon which we and all future generations will benefit.

Historical Maps of Canada - Destination: The Past
"Take a walk through the history of Canada. See the maps and read the history by selecting a year."

Historical Maps of Canada


Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ)
For another walk down memory lane and an even further look back at earlier versions of the map of Canada, check out the following links.

A digital collection providing access to thousands of cartographic documents digitized by BAnQ. Collection numérique Cartes et plans [Digital collection - Maps and plans] (available in French only)

Welcome to the digital collection of maps and plans of the National Archives & Public Library of Quebec, which is comprised of thousands of cartographic documents of Quebec at various periods of its history, since the time of New-France and up until the present. (original en Francais: Bienvenue dans la collection numérique de cartes et plans de Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), qui comprend des milliers de documents cartographiques du Québec à différentes périodes de son histoire, depuis l’époque de la Nouvelle-France jusqu’à nos jours.)

America, 1500 - 1800
The collection set of themes America, 1500-1800 presents a few hundreds of geographical maps of North America realized or published before 1800. As much works of art that works science, these documents testifies to the French and Amerindian presence on the continent of North America as well as vast regions explored by the missionaries, the soldiers and the trappers in search of knowing geographical.
(original en Francais: La collection thématique America, 1500-1800 présente quelques centaines de cartes géographiques de l’Amérique du Nord réalisées ou publiées avant 1800. Autant œuvres d’art qu’œuvres de science, ces documents témoignent de la présence française et amérindienne sur le continent nord-américain ainsi que des vastes contrées explorées par les missionnaires, les militaires et les coureurs des bois en quête de savoir géographique.)

Canada, or New France, &c: what is advancé the most towards North is drawn from various relations from Anglois, Danes, &c., towards the midy the costes of Virginia, Nouvlle Sweden, New the Netherlands, and New England, are drawn from those from Anglois, Hollandois, &c., the Large River of Canada or St Laurens, and all the surroundings are according to the relations of François. (original en Francais: Le Canada, ou Nouvelle France, &c : ce qui est le plus advancé vers le Septentrion est tiré de diverses relations des Anglois, Danois, &c., vers le midy les costes de Virginie, Nouvlle Suede, Nouveau Pays Bas, et Nouvelle Angleterre, sont tirées de celles des Anglois, Hollandois, &c., la Grande Rivière de Canada ou de St Laurens, et tous les environs sont suivant les relations des François.)

Date de publication : 1656
Published in 1656


More History Links

A more in depth look at the history behind the development and usage of modern mapping tools, way back from its humble beginnings thousands of years ago. A good read from Wikipedia.
History of Cartography

Ancient Wisdom's details on early cartography and Prehistoric mapping tools. "The unofficial oldest map in the world was discovered in Ukraine in 1966, dating from about 11 - 12,000 B.C. Inscribed on a mammoth tusk it was found in Mezhirich, Ukraine."

A tabled "Index of Cartographic Images illustrating maps from the Ancient Period: 6,200 B.C. to 400 A.D."



Types of Maps

When one thinks of a map, one normally thinks of road maps and globes and atlases. This section provides one link for those interested in exploring the vast array of different types of mapping systems that exist. It's an interesting subject, and one that will lead the reader into the many different areas that have developed in the wide world of mapping technology.

This link is a Wikipedia reference which lists about 55 types of maps, though there are probably more. Chances are, you just might need a map to lead you back here after delving into all of the topics it provides.



Map & Geography Glossaries

Canadian Atlas Online Glossary of terms
This section links to the Canadian Atlas Online Glossary of terms, which includes "hundreds of geographic definitions, terminologies and concepts. Search by first letter or simply browse through the terms from A to Z. Each term is illustrated by stunning photography and is accompanied by an audio pronunciation key - simply click on the sound icon next to each definition to hear how the word is pronounced."

Canadian Atlas - Glossary of Terms


esri GIS Dictionary
If you're interested in more advanced terms and concepts, you can check out the online esri GIS Dictionary. It includes "definitions for GIS terms related to operations such as analysis, GIS modeling and web-based GIS, cartography, and Esri software."

esri GIS Dictionary
esri Gis Dictionary

For example, what is GIS?

See Also : analysis, model, spatial analysis, spatial data
1.[GIS technology] Acronym for geographic information system. An integrated collection of computer software and data used to view and manage information about geographic places, analyze spatial relationships, and model spatial processes. A GIS provides a framework for gathering and organizing spatial data and related information so that it can be displayed and analyzed.