Digital Atlas Opens Up World


“Ever wanted to know the best escape route out of a city in case of an emergency? How about which of the world’s coral reefs are in the greatest danger? Or, the exact route of the Lewis and Clark Trail in 1814?”

Google Maps is one of Google’s most distinct features. From just getting directions to exploring the area through street view, Google allows us to explore the world without having to pack a suitcase or book a hotel room. It’s obviously not the same kind of exploration as physical travel itself, but it definitely keeps your interest intact. It’s also available as an app as well, so it’s never far from the palm of your hand. Google now has created a collective and interactive database of maps, a digital atlas if you will, that corresponds with history and works with governments and nonprofit organizations alike.

 The most significant organization Google paired up with is National Geographic, which had a variety of different maps that were once only available in paper form. The map director of the organization stated, “Over the last 125 years, National Geographic has developed and published more than 800 maps, as one of our primary vehicles for achieving our mission to inspire people to care about the planet.” Not only are you able to view maps that span over almost any route or topic you could imagine, you can also share and publish which maps you’re looking at.

 The company continuously strives to make maps better as well. It’s all in the details as they’ve even worked with Polar Bears international to integrate the animals in street view when you’re taking a look at the tundra in the north, specifically Churchill, Canada.

 Google Earth is another service that Google offers that allows you to satisfy your geographic curiosity. This project is a prime example of the internet’s ability to present us a wide array of access to information. Google is already a search engine that satisfies all of our deepest curiosities and the collective map expansion only provides us with a much more connected world. 


Information retrieved from: Kerr, Dara.

3 thoughts on “Digital Atlas Opens Up World

  1. Google continues to impress me. I love that they are bringing maps from the past back into our lives within the digital world. With technological advances constantly developing, it is nice that we are not completely losing side to our history.


  2. I agree with the comment above. Maps are generally considered antiques to the modern generation that rely on mapquest or Google maps without any real idea of how to read a real map. I think that Google Maps and especially Google Earth keeps this idea of maps in tact while still applying to a digital generation.


  3. This is so ingenious – it incorporates the nostalgic elements of using maps (which were once mainstream) and incorporating them into the new mainstream media, smart phones. It’s also really cool how the creators of this app are able to include animals if you look on street view – it makes me think that this could become a platform for an extremely interactive app that includes not only pictures and text but ways to search and learn more about the geographical places that are shown.


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