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In recent years National Geographic has published fewer and fewer maps as supplements to their monthly magazine.  From the 1940s through the 2000s there would be 4 or 5 maps per year.

In October 2009 National Geographic started a new type of supplement which they referred to as a "poster".  It is a multi-page foldout made with the same glossy paper stock and ink as the magazine pages but it had perforations for removal.

Since that time there have been 12 such posters published but only 7 loose maps (3 in 2010, 2 in 2011, & 2 in 2012).  There were no maps in 2013.  The last map was in September 2012, almost a year and a half ago.  There have been 6 posters published in that time.

For several decades, maps have been flagged in red lettering on the magazine binding.  The posters, however, were not.  That is until the 125 anniversary poster in the October 2013 issue, followed by the "IL Duomo" poster in the February 2014 issue.  Both are flagged in red lettering like the maps used to be.

Alas, in the age of GPS and Google Maps, foldout maps have become passé.  I am hoping that the NatGeo maps do not go the way of the yearly indexes.  After all, what is a geography magazine without maps?

Any thoughts or comments on the matter?

Tom Wilson

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Replies to This Discussion

I'm with you Tom.

I hope the map supplements remain, but believe your speculation on their demise will eventually come true.



I daresay it's already come true - done deal. They are selling them at corporate retail rates $ in the Store & Catalog now, for a few years. They didn't even see fit to include the April 2012 special edition "TITANIC" poster-map w/ that months' NGM (though we did get a Titanic 'poster').

Unless there's a major one-off Nat Geo "event", cross platform, I don't think we'll see a classical type supplement again. As I was ruminating on in my other reply to George, I was denial, and holding my breath when by May-June-July last year (2013) and there still was no map...I was hoping against hope there'd still be 2 maps between Sept. & Dec.. I reminded myself there were only 2 for 2012, and I was thinking "ugggh, I have a grim feeling there's no supplement(s) this year". My other corroboration was that map supplements were being announced (for purchase), that were related to ongoing Magazine articles...


To my way of thinking, the NGS started going away from all tradition on or about the year 2000.  I have to admit, your information is further confirmation of the decline. I haven't been paying attention as I gave up on it around then.  Having said that, one has to realize that all print media is going  "thin" or on the side of economics.  The Smithsonian mag started the decline about two years ago. 

Enjoy the past in collecting.

John Carey

John Carey



You hit a nerve with me on this one - not your fault. Just funky timing since your very points have been on my mind ongoing, and especially of late.

I have some involvement with Smithsonian, and have been receiving the magazine for years. I am aghast and quite displeased with Smithsonian this past 2 years, since what...January 2012? when Carey Winfrey stepped down and this Michael Caruso took over. He said in his first "hello" letter that he was excited to move the venerated Smithsonian magazine into the media age, and make it more appealing to internet users.

I was like "oh my %#@ here we go". In about March 2012 or so a reader's letter was even printed that said, paraphrased: "I hope Mr. Caruso doesn't plan to make Smithsonian look like an e-reader app - there's a reason we subscribe to a PAPER magazine. If I wanted an internet-y mag, I'd buy the e-version".

On a related note, I was just thinking the other day how much I wish there was a group site comparable to our NG Collector's Corner for both Smithsonian (mag and Institution), and for the late, great American Heritage. 

This all isn't quite relevant to Nat Geo, but when I saw what you just said, I had to vent. Sorry !

- Scott


I don't dismiss your feelings or assessment, but I do have to say from the bottom of my heart, that the Chris Johns NGM era actually makes me weepy & nostalgic for the 2000-2005 time-frame - by comparison, NGM still kicked butt and was still mostly functioning as an "official journal of the Nat Geo Society". Chris Johns doesn't seem to think the U.S. members care to have any actual Society business reported on in NGM nowadays. Even the foreign editions cover the Society better. For shame!

John - did you know that with the 2011 December issue, they quite printing the year-in-review page at the end? There's now no more covers images with article + map titles printed. But they did think a crossword puzzle was awesome for a few years, recently.


You beat me on this precise topic...I've been intending to start a thread about it (* I'm surprised Philip didn't before you!).

I had specific ideas that they were working towards a complete cancellation of map supplements in NGM a few years ago, when I saw the very particular draw-down -- very precise, neat, and in-pattern. Going from 6 to 4 maps/per year, then 4, then 3, then 2, each qty. per year for at least one (or 2-3 years). 

I said to myself: If I was going to deliberately eliminate the maps, how would I do it so it is like boiling a frog in water, rather than burning the frog instantly. The Magazine and Society seldom do things "overnight" regardless of the prevailing trends in media publishing: they know they have a unique base of subscribers (sorry, Members), and they surely would have had a mutiny on their hands had they ceased all at once. What a brilliant 5-10 year plan to acclimate us. The overlapping with the perforated "posters" was smooth, haha. 

This way, but the time the supplements were actually gone, we already had the posters in-place, but as has been said before, the posters have not been printed in red on the spines...

Meanwhile, on a related note that I've been wanting to post a discussion on, and one I especially wanted to raise with Philip, our group's map guru, NGS Maps has been making the traditional map supplements as stand-alone purchases through the NG Store and catalog, and on the NG Cafe Press sites, and/or The Map Collection site. Some of these correspond to NGM articles but some don't seem to directly correspond to a particular issue or book at any given moment.

Meanwhile, i don''t think we can ever truly say that these "posters" are supplements; besides, they are a hollow substitute, though I do like them in their own right.

Oh, George, I was going to mention too that I did not take the red spine title "125th Anniversary" on the October issue to be calling out the poster (w/ ad on reverse), rather I really thought it was just to highlight the fact that this was a special occasion-special solo themed NGM. I think I am on solid footing in assessing it that way, since there was no other contents info. on the spine at any rate.

So, this February 2014 poster is perforated, and labeled by name on the spine? Interesting.

You know, I can find the link, but John Fahey, longtime CEO-President of NGS said in an interview some 8-10 years ago that, paraphrased: "I see it where in about 10 years, there won't even be a printed NGM....the media landscape is changing and people don't want a magazine..."

Well, the only thing I can say with pleasure on that note is that we are now in 2013/14 past his 10 years projection, and NGM is still here, though I truly am  alarmed at what it has morphed into under the Editorship era of Mr. Chris Johns (March 2005-present).

I'll touch more on that later.

I do think that Fahey may have been rebuked in private by the Board of Trustees (and I hope, by Chairman Gilbert M. Grosvenor) about deliberately ending NGM. With 5-6 million subscribers, and 40+ million readers globally (some 34 international editions now), I find it remarkable that any company would say, 'oh there's no interest, and/or no revenue, so pull the plug'. That's too ludicrous for words! 5-6 million subscribers --esp. now of all times-- is world-record making, and one of the largest circulations of any periodical on Earth.

Good heavens. But thank you for bringing this up, even though it's very sad to me...

  ~ Scott 


           This is an earthshaking idea of no printed magazine.. I really doubt they would anger 6 million people by switching to an all electronic magazine.. We ALL love the feel of the glossy pages and smell of a new issue in our hands not to mention the love of "owning" the magazine. Just the thought of not being able to "collect"  any new Nat Geo's any more  sends me through the roof !!!! 

          On the topic of supplements I have seen their demise coming... People just don't look at  large maps anymore... they Google them. I believe the 125 foldout was a Canon add on both sides. Canon has been known for over 45 years as a way of " shooting" animals. The poster's pics are more of a combined Canon/Nat Geo Add.



Exactly! I totally concur with you - the October 2013 'poster' is not even the same thing (in substance) as the other posters this past few years. It IS a double-sided Ad page, good one. Ha. 

Though I do agree with Tom in his other post the other day: the Oct 2013 thing still should be listed with the posters list -- for consistency if nothing else. It IS perforated, as Tom mentioned. For similar reasons I do think it's important that we, someone, us, you, etc. try and keep a side list to cover miscellany supplements to NGM over the years. By that I mean 3-D glasses, Smell Survey, the DOW H2O map from 2007, and there was also some inserts in 2009, and a cd-promo thing about 2007 or '08. All such things meet the definition of supplement, whereas an attached perforated poster is not really a supplement or insert per se. Then again, the H2O map was 'attached' w/ removable glue, and the 3-D glasses were bound in w/ perforations....I echo a thread you were in a few years back where you or someone made a comment about NGM making it "fun" for collector's by not being consistent with when-if-how they red color code a spine title item.

fun stuff,

     - Scott   (2 T's on Scott, fyi)      : -)

Shudders? You and me both! I've been trying to pull my thoughts together for a bit to share a few things (re: Society related) with you folks, but haven't done it yet.


As I wrote very briefly above, and you and others have specifically stated in more detail, the demise of supplements (especially as we know them) is a forgone conclusion.

Personally, I will not collect "supplements" that are not issued with the magazine, not even if referenced by the magazine as additional resources. If the supplement is not issued - it doesn't belong in my collection.

I also believe the e-version of the magazine will be foisted upon us in due course - after all, it's the "green" way to go (and the NGS has been leaning hard in this direction for more than two decades).

When this happens (as it has with the indexes - annual, volume and cumulative) that "last printed issue" will be the end date of my NGM collection.

The bottom line is usually “money/cost” – except that nowadays, political correctness trumps logical reasoning!



I just pulled my October 2013 issue of the bookcase because I was planning to start another topic regarding this issue but in the main forum.  Back when you posted your comment, I was going to make a bloviated attempt to convince you of its true poster status including the similarities between it and pages 30 and 31 (picture size, black borders, vibrant colors, etc.) and that I felt Canon paid for product placement on the poster.  Something I would not put past those currently running the NGS.

I didn't do it because I didn't feel it would sway anyone's opinion.  And then, just now, I saw it staring me right in the face.  The poster is copyrighted.  Something they would not do if it were a two-sided advertisement.



My opinion of my opinions is the standard cliché.  That being said, I wish their was someone to ask (read editor) that would know the answers to a) the poster/advertisement and b) the red lettering on the spine questions.

I notice that the head of the cartography department is giving a lecture at NatGeo headquarters soon.  I wish I could attend.  I would grill him on the status of the map supplement.  Although I'm sure I'd be disappointed at the answer.


Another issue with red lettering on the spine (April 1914 - Universe).  I was hoping for a loose supplement but alas, it's another poster.


That seems to be the way things are now...only perforated 'posters'... I too miss the large loose real poster supplements.....




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