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The “New” Map Supplement Series


I know all of you are as pleased as I am that that the Cartography department has begun to publish new loose supplement maps with the magazine.  Now that their number has reached seven, I am really starting to feel that they are back to stay.  (I hope I don’t jinx this.)

I am going to present a brief description of each with personal observation.  Then I was hoping that other map lovers will weigh in on the topic.


The first “new” map was shipped with the November 2015 issue.  This was after a 38-month span where no maps were issued.  The map is of Amazonia with a related poster (not shown) on the flip side.  The map is tied to the main climate article in the issue and that article is red lettered on the spine of the magazine as “Climate Issue”.


The second of these maps came with the May 2016 issue and is of Yellowstone National Park.  It too has a poster about the park on the back (again, not shown).  This map is also linked to the main (and only) article about Yellowstone.  The article is red lettered on the spine as “Special Issue”.


The third map is from the September 2016 issue and is of British Columbia.  It has a poster on the obverse of the warming Pacific Ocean.  While the map/poster combination is linked to an article in the issue entitled “Ocean Warming”, it is not red lettered.  The poster is referenced on the cover as “The Pacific Coast, Free Poster Inside”.  That is to say, the poster (not shown) got top billing, not the map.


The fourth map is from the November 2016 issue and is of the planet Mars.  The flip side is a poster of a Mars colony aptly entitle "Colonizing Mars".  There is no red lettering on the spine of the magazine nor any mention of this supplement on the cover.  There is, however, a reference to this item in the table of contents.  The map has every landing site for Mars spacecraft, both successful and failures up to the publication date.


The fifth map in this new series is the first two-sided map in a long time.  It is from the December 2016 issue.  Instead of a poster on the back there is another map as part of a poster.  The map itself is of the lower 48 states and shows different habitats.  The smaller map on the back is of Ulster County, New York.


After 14 months with no map supplements I was beginning to worry.  But in the March 2018 issue there is the sixth new map;  this one a two-sided map of bird migrations.  One side shows migration paths in the Western Hemisphere and the other side has migration paths in the Eastern Hemisphere.  This map is reminiscent of the April 2004 map supplement.


After a thirty month wait, the July 2020 issue of National Geographic has a two sided loose pictorial/map supplement tied to the main article.  Side A is a vista of Mount Everest and its surroundings and Side B (shown) is a map of Asia showing the continent's vital rivers.


After fourteen more months, the next map supplement (September 2021) is one of the solar system.  It is entitled "Solar System in Action" and concerns its ongoing evolution and the role smaller bodies (asteroids and comets) play a part in it.  The "B" side of the supplement is a infographic about the sun, aptly titled "The Sun".



After only two months, in December 2021, another two-sided loose supplement was included in the National Geographic.  It includes the map "Serengeti in Motion".  The B-side is a pictorial entitled "Habitats of the Serengeti" (not shown).


The next map supplement, one of the World, appears in the May 2022 National Geographic.  It shows "The World's Forests: Decades of Loss and Change".  Side B has an Infographic, "Rainforests: A Delicate Balance", with two map insets.  This brings the number of "New" Map Supplements into double digits.

As always, I must thank Philip Riviere for the photos of the maps displayed in this discussion.  All of you please feel free to throw in your two cents on this topic.

Tom Wilson

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Replies to This Discussion

Just added the eighth loose "map" supplement to this series since November 2015.

Just added the ninth "new" loose map supplement, just two months since the last one.

Just added images of the tenth two-sided loose supplement to this post (World Map/Rainforest Infographic).

Thanks, Tom, for doing this.  NG is providing more map supplements now but they are not making a digital copy available as they do for the articles and pictures.  Bill.



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