A Blog by

If You Love Maps, This Blog Is for You

"A.D. 1498, The Discovery of America," a page from an 1830 historical atlas that showed the clouds of ignorance dissipating with time as geographic knowledge increased.
This page from an 1830 historical atlas is titled “A.D. 1498, The Discovery of America” and shows clouds of ignorance dissipating as geographic knowledge expanded over time.
STANFORD UNIVERSITY, DAVID RUMSEY MAP CENTER

Authors’ note: All Over the Map has been relocated within National Geographic to the news section: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/all-over-the-map/. You can also follow us on RSS, or at @mapdragons on Twitter and Instagram

There is something magical about maps. They transport you to a place you’ve never seen, from the ocean depths to the surface of another planet. Or a world that exists only in the imagination of a novelist.

Maps are time machines, too. They can take you into the past to see the world as people saw it centuries ago. Or they can show you a place you know intimately as it existed before you came along, or as it might look in the future. Always, they reveal something about the mind of the mapmaker. Every map has a story to tell.

All Over the Map is now our place to tell those stories. We are science journalists with a shared fascination with maps. Betsy loved using geologic maps in her previous career as a geologist. In graduate school, Greg studied how animals’ brains map their surroundings. But we’ve both been map geeks for far longer than that. As a kid, Betsy sketched maps of her backyard and the rooms of her house. Greg spent hours poring over maps in the backseat of the car on family vacations.

And like most kids, we loved the maps that arrived tucked into issues of National Geographic. So writing a map blog for National Geographic is pretty much our dream job. Here we will explore the history, meaning, and possibilities of maps. We’ll show you beautiful, interesting, and provocative maps and introduce you to the people who make them.

If you’re joining us from WIRED, where we co-wrote the Map Lab blog, welcome! We’ll be pursuing the same kinds of stories here, from secret Cold War military maps, to maps for self-driving cars, to maps of other worlds, to our annual gift guide for map lovers. Right now is a very exciting time in cartography, as new digital tools are opening up the world of mapmaking to more people than ever before. We’ll be covering some of those developments as well.

We’re not professional cartographers, and we are not employees of National Geographic. Our opinions and editorial decisions, including which maps to feature, are ours alone and don’t necessarily reflect the views of National Geographic. That said, we do hope to bring you some inside peeks into the incredible cartographic operation there.

We’re always on the lookout for interesting maps, and we’re eager to learn more about the past, present, and future of cartography. We hope you’ll join us for the ride. First stop: Greg’s post about an ancient manuscript filled with maps depicting the events of the Apocalypse.

—Betsy Mason and Greg Miller