Map Gallery of North America


  1. General Reference Maps
  2. Thematic Maps
  3. Historic Map

    note: click on any map for a larger view

1. General Reference Maps

North America

Political Map of North America

This scanned political map of North America is good for general geographical political purposes.  Unlike the political map below of Canada, this map is not as sharp and its selection of colors is not as aesthetically pleasing.  It is difficult to read the small words on this map so many of the city names are illegible.  This map was reduced to fit on this page, but even the lettering on the original scanned map lacked sharpness and fine detail. 

Relief Map of North America

This scanned relief map of North America is good for general geographical overviews of major boundaries, land forms, bodies of water and countries in North America.  It is difficult to read the small words on this map and many of the city names are illegible.  This map was reduced to fit on this page, but even the lettering on the original scanned map lacked sharpness and fine detail. 


Political Map of Canada

This is a very easy to read and colorful political map of Canada.  The quality of the map is excellent and all but the smallest words are clear and easy to read.  The colors were well selected and it is clear on this map where bodies of water are located; unlike the below relief map of Canada. 

Relief Map of Canada

This is a very nice relief map of Canada.  The different elevations of Canada are very easy to differentiate and read.  The legend to the right of the map could be a little sharper, but is still legible enough to read.  The choice to make the Oceans, Hudson Bay, Alaska and the continental United States all the same white color makes this map a bit confusing and hard to follow. 

The National Atlas of Canada Online

Click on the above globe to enter the National Atlas of Canada Online
Learn about Canada's geography through texts and maps at The National Atlas of Canada Online.  This is an interactive site useful for geography teachers, students, and people of all ages who are interested in learning more about Canada.  The site has a lot of interesting information and all of the links work and are fairly fast, except for the "make a map link", which is fairly slow but nice once you get there.  The graphics on the above globe is nicely done; the words are clear and easy to read and the globe is situated so the area of Canada is in focus and clear from clutter, drawing our attention to it. 

United States 

Political Map of the United States

 A 1999 CIA Political map of the United States.  The inclusion of Alaska and Hawaii in this map along with a separate cut out of Washington D.C. makes this a nice overall map for U.S. political boundary recognition.  The small lettering  and color selection for the state names makes this map difficult to read, but clicking on the above map will show a larger view that is a little easier to read. 

Relief Map of the United States

This is a nice relief map of the continental United States.  The map uses a false color 3-D shading to show altitude as if viewing from a satellite.  The colors work well and it is easy to tell the difference in elevations.  Clicking on the above map will show a larger view of this map.  Eliminating Canada and Mexico from this map would have better because the 3-D shading ends  abruptly in these countries. 

2. Thematic Maps


Population Density in the United States

The population density map above is from the year 1990 and shows very clearly where the heavy centers of population are located.  The state boarder lines sometimes get lost in the colors, but overall are mostly visible.  The use of colors work effectively to draw our attention towards the bright reds and oranges representing areas of heaviest population.  I would switch the red color (100-399) and the brown color (400-70,000).  The eye is most responsive to the red color so it would be a better choice for representing areas of heaviest population.

Population Change in the United States

 This map shows the Population Change from 1980 to 1990 in the United States from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on U.S. Census Bureau data.  The importance of population change for the EPA is the potential increase in pollution of our waters as land cover and land uses changes with increased population.  Looking at the map, the solid red colors in Hawaii, California, parts of Washington, eastern Texas, sections of the Great Lake states, Missouri, Arkansas, Florida and much of the east coast naturally draws our attention to potential dangers in the environment due to dramatic population increases.      


Canadian Soil Information System

This is a very colorful map from the Canadian Soil Information System (CanSIS).  It appears to be a map of the different soil types in Canada, although it is not totally clear when looking at this map at the CanSIS web site because there is no labels or legend.  Clicking on the above map brings you to a CanSIS linked site of the Soils of Canada  with a slightly larger and closely colored map including a color coded legend identifying the different soils of canada. 

Current Earthquake Activity in the United States

Current Seismicity for the United States

Click on the map above for an interactive version 

This map is from the National Earthquake Information Center.  The map is an excellent relief map of the United States, and fittingly it is being used to display earthquake locations.  Each dot represents an individual earthquake, and using the legend below the map will give the most recent quake as well as the magnitude and depth of the other earthquakes.  Notice that most of the earthquakes in the continental U.S. are located along the state of California on the western border of the United States.  Selecting the dot brings information and a detailed map on a specific earthquake location.  There is a lot of other general information available about earthquakes at this link, available by clicking here or the map above. 

Water Conditions in the United States

This map shows Indicators of Source Water Condition in the United States from the Environmental Protection Agency.  Since the availability of clean and safe drinking water is critical to our health, it's important to rate the condition of all the water sources for possible use as drinking water.  Local governments should use data such as this to prompt corrective actions (including additional treatment) by water systems to ensure that the water provided at the tap to consumers meets all drinking water standards.  The choice of colors used to identify source water impairment is nice as we would naturally identify green as acceptable water quality and red as unacceptable water quality if an index were not given.  The map unfortunately shows large areas in gray where there was insufficient data to properly map the water condition.  

Arsenic in the U.S. Ground Water

This is a map from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) showing concentrations of arsenic in the ground water throughout the United States.  This map was efficiently done and not cluttered with unnecessary words or symbols.  Looking at the map it is easy to determine that the highest concentrations of arsenic in the U.S. are found throughout the west, parts of the midwest (notice our state of Nebraska) and in the northeast.  Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in the environment and its presence in ground water is usually the result of minerals dissolving naturally from weathered rocks and soils.  The reason it is important to be aware of arsenic concentrations in our ground water is that several types of cancer have been linked to high levels of arsenic in water.  The US Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing the maximum contaminant level of arsenic permitted in drinking water. 

Weather Maps

Western Hemisphere Global Satellite

 See this map in motion

COLD                          COLDEST
This is a nice global weather map from the weather channel taken from the western hemisphere global satellite.  Weather Channel Maps are nice because they reflect the current weather at any given time any where in the world and many of the  maps utilize motion.  Although this map is too small to show small detail, general overall weather patterns in the western hemisphere can be seen.  Click on the above map for a larger view and greater detail. 

Current U.S. Weather

Click on the map for regional weather conditions
 This map is also from the Weather Channel and shows the current surface conditions over the United States.  This is a nice relief map of the United States which is easy to read and is kept current (notice the date and time on the bottom of the map).  Of course, the disadvantage to these weather maps is there are no meteorologists telling us what all the symbols mean, but it is fairly clear where the rain is located.

3. Historic Map

North America Native American Nations

This is a colorful little map, which is probably more of a graphic intended to draw ones attention to their web site.  The map contains many symbolic pictures representative of what we have come to think of with Native Americans.  There could be any number of symbolic meanings to the red color of the actually map, but one thing is certain, it definitely draws attention to itself.  Some of the graphics are too small with insufficient detail, and a larger map would have helped for this purpose.  Clicking on this map will bring you to a nice web site with many links dealing with the various North American Native Nations (native lands, current Places and history).  There is also nice links to non-native American useful map sites.

Click on the map above for an interactive version with overviews of the different cultures 
This a very simple map with links to culture areas of more than 500 tribes of North America before they had any contact with the rest of the world.  The different colors on this map clearly divide the different sections of the map and most of the text is easy to read.   The map itself is fairly crude and a little more time could have been spent fixing the illegible text in the ocean areas and Mexico and spending more time on the detail and scale of the map.  Although this map may be very simplistic, it has links to a tremendous amount of information very useful for schools and research projects. 


Submitted by: Michael Cramblit

Last Updated on 5 November 2000
A selection of maps created for Geography 3530: Introduction to Cartography at the University of Nebraska at Omaha