Thursday, May 10, 2007

National Geographic Maps The Complete Collection 8 CD ROM Set

In this one set, you now have access to ALL the wonderful, unique maps in all the past National Geographic magazines published from the very beginning, in1888, through the issues released in 2000.

Long time readers of National Geographic well know the high quality of the content, and especially the world famous photography found each month in National Geographic, and it is not uncommon to find homes filled with bookshelves stacked with past issues of this award winning geography magazine. I know. I have 30 years of past issues organized in my own 3,500+ volume library, all nicely bound in the special leather binders National Geographic began selling a few years ago.

National Geographic subscribers also well know the supreme quality of those marvelous maps that are unequaled in any publication. These maps are but one of the many reasons the National Geographic Society has been the leader in worldwide geographical exploration and education for their 100+ years of existence. Now, with this super collection on these 8 CD ROM discs, you can see ALL these maps right on your own computer. I have countless of these famous National Geographic maps, all also nicely collected in their own special leather binders, proudly sitting on the shelves next to the magazine.

This latest edition of this awesome reference collection updates the first venture in this CD ROM storage collection that National Geographic first began to market in the "old" Windows 95 era. I also am a proud owner of this first optical disc collection I proudly purchased from National Geographic, and I have been amazing friends and family ever since, when I show then on screen an image of the very first 1888 issue of the magazine. Then, what truly amazes others are the awesome maps that are as easily accessed from the computer as are the magazines.

Now, with this exciting new partnership with Topics Entertainment, even more customers will have an opportunity to enjoy this solid, unique reference collection of National Geographic maps. This new arrangement will surely help increase the awareness of and interest in this superb reference collection, and with the unbelievably reasonable price of merely $29.99, this too should also help increase sales.

If you are interested, click here for a corresponding review of National Geographic: 112 Years on 32 CD ROM discs. This essential CD ROM collection of National Geographic Maps can easily be considered a "must-have" for any avid computer owner, especially those who have, or are considering owning a copy of the equally important National Geographic: 112 Years.

The Serious Importance of This Program

As some readers may recall, in a recent survey of the geography literacy of young adults, released November 20, 2002, "The National Geographic-Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey," the results were alarming. The survey polled more than 3,000 18 to 24-year-olds in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States.

In a nation called the world's superpower, only 17% of young adults in the U.S. could find Afghanistan on a map, according to the survey results. The young U.S. citizens received poor marks generally in geography. But then, as results showed, their counterparts in other countries were hardly star students.

Sweden's youth scored highest, while Mexico's scored lowest. The U.S. was next to last.

"The survey demonstrates the geographic illiteracy of the United States," said Robert Pastor, professor of International Relations at American University, in Washington, D.C. "The results are particularly appalling in light of September 11, 2001, which traumatized America and revealed that our destiny is connected to the rest of the world."

About 11% of young citizens of the U.S. couldn't even locate the U.S. on a map. The Pacific Ocean's location was a mystery to 29%; Japan, to 58%; France, 65%; and the U K, 69 %.

Are Young U.S. Citizens Americentric? Despite the threat of war in Iraq and the daily reports of suicide bombers in Israel, less than 15% of the young U.S. citizens could locate either country.

More young U.S. citizens in the study knew that the island featured in last season's TV show "Survivor" is in the South Pacific, than could find Israel.

Particularly humiliating was that the surveyed youth in all other countries were better able to identify the U.S. population than many young U.S. citizens. Within the U.S., almost one-third said that the U.S. population was between one billion and two billion. The answer is 289 million.

"The results give the sense that there is this Americentric thing going on, that we are big and powerful and have all these people in our country," said John Fahey, President and CEO of the National Geographic Society.

Young adults worldwide are not markedly more literate about geography than the Americans. On average, fewer than 25% of young people worldwide could locate Israel on the map. Only about 20% could identify hotspots like Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq.

Of all the young adults in the survey, only about one-third in Germany, Sweden, and Japan, could name four countries that officially acknowledge having nuclear weapons. In the rest of the countries, that number dropped to less than a quarter. In France, 24% did not know that that their own country was a nuclear nation.

Since the last Geographic-sponsored survey in 1988, the percentage of young U.S. citizens who reported taking a geography course in school rose from 30% to 55%, and students who had studied geography did better on the current survey.

U.S. schools generally have slighted geography. "If geography is not in the curriculum," said Roger Downs, head of the geography department at Pennsylvania State University, in State College, and a National Geographic geographer-in-residence in 1995-1996. Downs said, "It's not tested—and that says to the students that it is not valued."

The schools are not solely to blame, either. "Wouldn't it be nice if parents also read atlases to their children?" Downs says. This presents an intriguing opportunity for educators and parents to get more involved in helping our youth improve their geographic literacy.

Geographic knowledge increases through travel and language proficiency, among other factors. In the highest-scoring countries—Sweden, Germany and Italy—at least 70% of the young adults had traveled internationally in the last three years, and the majority spoke more than one language (in Sweden, 92 and 89 percent, respectively).

In the U.S. and Mexico, only about 20% had traveled abroad during the same period, and the majority spoke only one language.

To fight geographic ignorance and apathy among young people in the U.S. and around the world, the National Geographic Society will convene an international coalition of leaders in American business, education and media. Next year the panel will recommend initiatives to policymakers in those areas, and to parents and children.

The purchase of and regular use of these super maps on computer can only help address this growing concern about the geographic literacy of America's youth.

Program Overview

For well over a century, students and armchair travelers alike have enjoyed the impressive, highly professional cartography in National Geographic magazine. Now computer users have unprecedented access to over a century of foldout maps, in this vital program, National Geographic Maps.

This program provides a comprehensive archive of cartographic content and navigational features on 8 CD-ROMs. From Ecuador to endangered species, Switzerland to the lunar surface, this unrivaled National Geographic content offers a user-friendly guide to worlds charted by map or by theme. The speedy search engine will reveal maps covering everything from plant life to politics. Just type in the keywords, and you¹re ready to locate, pan, and zoom in on the richly-illustrated charts with accompanying photos, videos, and audio narration. When you¹ve found what you need, paste the results into your documents, or print them out in full color or crisp black-and-white.

What sets apart these wonderful maps are the numerous thematic maps that accompany so many of the monthly issues of the magazine. While the geographic and political maps are the best in the world, what makes these National Geographic maps even more important are the subject oriented maps that ingeniously portray complex data in an easy-to-understand, colorful presentation.

What elementary, middle, or high school geography, social science, or physical science class room do you know of that does NOT have one or more of these National Geographic maps filling the walls? Not many, I am sure.

Now, with this super collection on CD ROM, you can see ALL these many diverse and very informative maps right on your computer. With the super zoom and search engine built into the program, you can get as close as you want to the map, while finding exactly which map you need, which can then be printed.

This is an extraordinary archive of National Geographic maps, worthy of serious consideration in all libraries, especially school and public libraries.

Program Operations

The program is equipped with an auto run feature. To use this feature, you just select any CD from the set and insert it into your CD-ROM drive, label side up. When the CD-ROM drive has recognized the CD, the auto run screen will appear.

Super Features

Over 500 maps included

CD ROM access to complete archive (through 2000) of National Geographic maps (1888 - December 2000)

An interactive guide to over a century of National Geographic maps

Search through, zoom in on, and print out over 500 National Geographic maps

See maps come to life!
• Animals • Plant Life • The Environment • Politics • History • The Oceans
• Space

Guided Tours With Full Photo, Video, and Audio Enhancement, Including
• People of the Past • War in the 20th Century • Our Changing Earth • Space • Our Threatened Environment

These discs add up to a one-stop resource for access to the complete archive of maps in over 100 years of National Geographic publication. This is one of the most remarkable software events of all time, and a testament to the genius of National Geographic, the world's leading geography magazine that for over 100 years has served as the premier resource for learning about our world.

This transformation of these over 100 years of National Geographic maps means we no longer have to try and find paper archives of these past maps. While many libraries have been able to find and store paper archives of past issues of the National Geographic magazine, mostly from donations from their customers, unfortunately keeping up with ALL the many past maps from the 100+ years of the magazine is not as successful. Now, with this vital program, we can look at ALL the maps from ALL the 100+ years of National Geographic magazine. Truly, this is a wondrous event in computer software history.


Without a doubt, ALL public libraries should make a point to be sure and get their copy of this important computer reference to add to their growing list of essential reference titles. In addition, I also strongly suggest all libraries consider adding this National Geographic Maps CD ROM collection to the National Geographic: 112 Years CD ROM collection. Both are vital to all library collections.

Larger libraries that experience more requests from customers needing to do research in older issues of the Geographic will absolutely want to be sure to have this necessary tool in their collection, if not more than one copy. In addition, all school libraries will want to strongly consider adding this collection to their reference materials.

System Requirements

Windows Machines
P-266MHz or faster processor
Win 95, 98, 98 SE, 98 ME, 2000 (Will also run in Win XP)
SVGA video card supporting 256 colors
16-bit sound card
4x CD-ROM drive

Although these minimum system requirements are not that steep, I would recommend running this program on higher configured machines, if at all possible. With this program you are in effect looking at a massive amount of graphics files that represent these many wonderful maps. Then, I also suggest libraries consider making sure these collections are run on machines connected to higher end printers, especially faster, higher quality color printers. Printing these maps will present additional concerns regarding ensuring that customers can retrieve a quality output from the printer, issues that are not as complex as printing the mostly text based data in the National Geographic: 112 Years collection.

Installation and Setup

Installation and setup should proceed with no difficulty. Once the program has loaded its interface, then you can place any of the discs into the CD ROM drive, and the Autorun feature will open the files from the disc. When you run the search feature, you will be asked to place in the drive the appropriate CD ROM disc that contains the desired map.


$29.99 (Quite a bargain!)

Note that at this price for this phenomenal resource, this means libraries will find it much more easy to add additional copies to their collections.

About TOPICS Entertainment

This venture between TOPICS Entertainment and National Geographic is in my opinion one of the most significant and important in CD ROM history. With the highest reputation for quality and educational content, and generations of subscribers, National Geographic represents one of the more prestigious of all present and past magazines to be collected together in such a marvelous collection. One wonders who in the world would want such a similar CD ROM archive of, say, People magazine, or US magazine. All fans of National Geographic will want to join me in congratulations TOPICS Entertainment for this remarkable partnership that is certain to be a success.

TOPICS Entertainment, with corporate offices located in Renton, Washington, is a premier publisher of educational software and spoken word audio products. Founded in 1990 as a distributor of niche and specialty video, TOPICS, then called CounterTop Video, quickly became one of the most sought-after suppliers of special-interest video in the United States, with products on the shelves of more than 5,000 independent retailers.

In 1994, TOPICS founder and president, Greg James, an accomplished producer of video documentaries, led the company into the burgeoning field of video publishing. TOPICS inaugural release, "America By Rail," has since become one of the biggest special-interest video success stories, with sales in the hundreds of thousands.

By 1996, with a growing catalogue of video titles released and sales records shattered, TOPICS seized the opportunity to expand into the growing personal computer market by venturing into consumer CD-ROM publishing. Getting its feet wet with "Super Games Galore," a software collection of over 300 games for the PC, TOPICS realized an overwhelming public response, cementing the company's commitment to quality content and approachable pricing. Since then, TOPICS has become a leading publisher of language and reference software. NPD Intellect now ranks TOPICS as the 10th largest consumer software company overall. With almost 200 titles in its portfolio, TOPICS Entertainment has sold over five million units!

In 2000, TOPICS continued to preach its own gospel of quality, content, and value with "James Earl Jones Reads The Bible," one of the company's first forays into the realm of spoken-word and audio-books. To date, with some 50 releases encompassing everything from "The Call of the Wild" to "Arthur Conan Doyle," "Fibber McGee" to "Frankenstein," the company's repertoire of spoken-word audio on CD and cassette continues to demonstrate an exceptional 3-to-1 value-to-price ratio. It's one of the fastest-growing product segments for TOPICS, and the company is dedicated to nurturing this line.

It's no coincidence that the name of the company is homophonous to Top Picks. The TOPICS team diligently scours the globe in search of unusual, adventurous, and unique content that adheres to exacting standards of educational and recreational merit. TOPICS is pleased to have formed publishing partnerships with some of the world's pre-eminent authorities, including Rand McNally, The Audubon Society, World Book Encyclopedia, the Discovery Channel, Simon & Schuster, and Vivendi Universal. The company is equally thrilled to discover emerging content in remote corners of the world, in the hopes of introducing the consumer to another TOPICS breakthrough.

TOPICS Entertainment has doubled sales volume every year. The company is privately owned, financed solely by its own profits, and entirely debt-free. Market tracking, business surveys, and national sales data all rate TOPICS Entertainment as the #1 fastest-growing major consumer software publisher in America. In a field that encourages thinking outside the box, customers and retailers alike can have confidence in what TOPICS puts inside theirs.










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