Our editorial staff evaluates products and services independently, but Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links. Learn More


National Geographic MapMachine Review

Author by

National Geographic MapMachine is a map site run by the National Geographic Society. It’s a general mapping site that has street maps, satellite maps, and with a free download, 3D maps.

MapMachine allows you to map specific locations by country, state, city, address or zip code – you just enter the information in the search bar above the map. The default map on the homepage is a road map of the U.S., and you can drag, zoom and explore the map without performing a search. Along the right side of the screen, there are links to some of National Geographic’s other map-related websites, including the compilation America’s Best Adventures and the outdoor trip planning site NatGeo Maps.

The site’s online atlas covers the entire world in great detail. It has three main map viewing formats: a road map format that includes broad geographical maps and detailed street maps; a satellite format that displays very crisp satellite photography with main streets labeled for easy navigation; and a bird’s eye view, tilted format with satellite maps that show you locations at an angle. In this last format, you can rotate the map to get a 360-degree view, but the tab is grayed out until you perform a search for a location; if bird’s eye images are available for your searched location, the tab is clickable. The maps on this site cannot be printed, saved or emailed, but they are useful for reference.

National Geographic MapMachine is like a regular atlas but more searchable and interactive. A small inset shows where you are in relation to the larger map, and it’s easy to keep track of your marker as you pan around the area. You can use the buttons around the map to zoom and pan, or you can use your mouse wheel to zoom and drag the map to pan.

This site is connected to National Geographic’s main site, which is full of nature-related articles. To explore even more, view National Geographic’s large collection of premade maps. This collection includes maps that show where the most shark attacks occur in the U.S., maps of National Parks and maps of historical journeys like the Oregon Trail.

There are no resources specifically for map users, but you can email National Geographic’s maps department if you need assistance. The interface on this site is easy to use, so it’s unlikely you’ll need help.

The online maps on National Geographic MapMachine are very versatile and have several different view options, including those with very crisp aerial photography. The site contains maps of the entire planet in street and satellite views, and they are easy to navigate using your mouse or the buttons on the screen. The large map is easy to navigate and has a smaller inset screen to help you keep track of where in the world you are searching.