Gifts for map and geography geeks

This holiday season, are you looking for gift ideas for someone who loves maps or geography? Or are you looking for a unique gift for someone who is hard to buy for? There are all kinds of great gift ideas for map geeks, relating to maps and geography, that we at the Bing Maps API team wanted to share.


cover of the How to Lie With Maps gift book cover of the Maphead book cover of the strange maps gift book cover of the Onion Our Dumb World Atlas

Mark Monmonier is the author of several wonderful books that look at the societal impacts of maps. Check out his webpage here, my favorite of his is “How to Lie with Maps”.

Ken Jennings, best known for his impressive winning streak on Jeopardy! in 2004 is the author of several books. His 2011 book “Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks” explores the world of map nerds of the US. It’s a fun fast read that describes Ken’s own obsession with maps and explores the other groups that our over their favorite geographies and maps.

Frank Jacobs’s book “Strange Maps- An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities” explores maps from many centuries that span all continents, geographies, space and maps of imaginary places. As far as gifts for geography lovers go, this isn’t your typical atlas. There is also a blog by the same name Strange Maps that will give you a preview of the maps that are in his book.

The Onion,, is a humor media publisher on radio, print and online. “Our Dumb World” is a parody of a standard desk atlas and pokes fun at all places in the world. While known for their sarcasm, The Onion’s Atlas generally received positive reviews for its humor and satire and would be a great gift for a geography lover with a sense of humor!

If you’re going to get someone a map-related gift, why not show them the bigger picture? Peter Barber, the head of map collections at the British Library compiled an amazing collection of maps that span centuries. His book “The Map Book” has 175 maps that range from prehistoric times to modern digital maps.

Another great book focuses on London and using maps and graphics to show you the city in new and different ways. James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti’s book “LONDON: The Information Capital” is another wonderful example of beautiful maps that any map geek is sure to enjoy.

There are many other great books that would be amazing gifts for map and geography lovers, check out the Good Reads site and search for maps or geography.

Games and Puzzles

This is a big category, many video games now use maps as a key component to their story and navigation around the game. Classic board games like Risk, Settlers of Catan and Where in the World all utilize maps and geography as part of the game. Sid Meier’s Civilization is still one of my all-time favorite PC games, there are now several versions of the game on a variety of platforms and it remains a clssic gift for map geeks..

Catan  Civilization Where in the World

For kids, check out these cool globe puzzles from Ravensburger, 180 piece puzzle or 540 piece puzzle.

If you are looking for map games, educational and otherwise, check out this link.

Geo-caching:  Introduce your map geek to the world of geocaching, or buy them accessories for their quest. Check out for subscriptions and gear guides.


What map geek wouldn’t love a GPS? This can be a confusing proposition to find the right one for the need that you have. Check out resources like Best GPS Reviews, Best Consumer Reviews and Outdoor Gear lab for help.

If your map geek is charting the stars, there is a wide range of telescopes out there that they may love. Much like the GPS, this is an area that has a lot of information to wade through, check out the reviews at Optics Planet.

Many digital cameras now have GPS for tagging the location of photos as well as on-board maps. These cameras allow for photos to be displayed over maps and show the location of the pictures. Check out this article on

For the active map geek, check out the Microsoft band which helps track your activities and map your runs, hikes, or bikes. Also check out the wide variety of GPS-enabled watches, Runner’s World has a great article that reviews all the different styles and functions.

Think outside the box

Want to take pictures or video of your adventures, check out the variety of quad copters mounted with cameras that will give a unique perspective. Check out the Phantom 4 from DJI.


In the market for a low budget gift for a geography lover? Consider some cost-effective options for T-shirts, coffee mugs and bumper stickers at Café Press; search for geography or maps or add your own photo of one of their favorite places! Zazzle also has a great section of map and geography related items.

Do you have a map geek in the family that loves to sew? Check out these cool DIY quilting kits for various cities from Haptic Lab. That will keep them busy for the holidays! If they can't sew, check out their other collections like handmade cities quilts.