Giant Map Tour! January 17 – March 6, 2017

The Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education will be hosting the Giant Map of Africa during January and February in 2017. Schools may apply to borrow the Giant Map for one day loans and will be selected depending on availability.


To host the map, you are required to pick up the map from the school that used it previously. You may need to drive up to 1 hour or up to 60 miles to pick up the map. Due to the map’s size, a pickup truck, trailer or large van is required. Please do not request use of the map if you do not have a way transport it.


The deadline to apply to use the map is October 28, 2016. After the deadline, all requests will be reviewed and a schedule will be determined based on the geographic locations of the interested schools. Schools will be notified as to whether or not they have been selected to host the map no later than December 15, 2016.

If you are interested in hosting the map at your school, please apply.

GIANT MAP REQUEST FORM – Requests for the traveling map are no longer being accepted for this school year. Applications for next year will open in September 2017.


1. What is a Giant Traveling Map?

National Geographic Giant Traveling Maps are over-sized vinyl floor maps. They are the largest maps ever produced by National Geographic and require a school gym or large room for use. Each map is accompanied by a set of activities and materials. The map is in one piece, and requires no assembly.

2. Which maps are available?

Currently maps of Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and the Pacific Ocean are available for loan. Minnesota will be hosting the Africa map this school year.

3. How big are they? How heavy are they?

The sizes of the maps vary, and they are not all made to the same scale. Below is the size of the Africa Map:

South America 26 x 35

Once removed from the tube, the map easily unfolds and spreads out on a basketball court. Two people can handle this easily. If necessary, the map can be folded and moved quickly for temporary storage at the end of a gym. The map is transported in a tube between 10’ and 12’ long, 1′ in diameter. The tube is made from single-wall, corrugated HDPE plastic pipe. The weight of the different maps inside the tubes vary, on average about they are approximately 145 lbs. You will need two strong individuals to lift the map when it is in its tube.

Note: All of the activities and materials come packed in a separate trunk.

4. What kinds of materials are included in the trunk that accompanies the map?

Each trunk includes a binder with laminated copies of the activities, and all of the materials required. Materials vary by map, and include things like game cards, large hoops, colored cones, rope, flag football flags, poly spots, giant dice, an inflatable globe and air pump, and over-sized map keys.

Here is a link to the activities for the South America map

5. Where should we put the map?

The map will not fit in a classroom. Usually the maps are set up in a gymnasium or media center. Obviously this will require you to negotiate use of the space with the physical education teacher and principal. With this in mind, we encourage physical education teachers to utilize the map, and we suggest a number of activities that would be appropriate. If necessary, the map may be quickly folded and rolled out of harm’s way.

6. May we use the map outside?

No. The maps may not be used outside under any circumstances.

7. Are the maps cartographically accurate?

Absolutely. The cartographic work is done by National Geographic’s renowned Map Division. The maps are modeled after the maps that appear in the National Geographic Atlas of the World (8th & 9th Editions).

8. Can I drive the map to other schools in my car?

The map tube and trunk will not fit in a car. You will need a pick-up truck or cargo van to transport the map from location to location. The map tube is probably longer than the bed of a pick-up truck. It may extend past the back gate, and will need to be secured with rope.

9. Are there any special rules concerning use and care of the maps?

Yes. To ensure no damage is done, no shoes are allowed on the map. Students should be encouraged to wear socks on days they’ll be traveling on the map. In addition, no writing utensils or other sharp objects are allowed. The maps tend to get scuffed up a bit over time, which is to be expected, but we must do everything possible to prevent punctures and tears.

MN NGS Giant Map Coordinator: Michelle Leba