Explore the World with National Geographic World Altas HD

Total Score: 28

I admit it.  I am a map geek.  I love printed maps, digital maps, old atlases, new atlases, globes and now this new National Geographic World Atlas HD app.  It is important to know and understand world geography.  We hear about locations on the news and without understanding the location, we cannot understand the story.  This is a marvelous tool to help you place where you are and where events are happening in the world.


   Price Rating = 5     99 cents.  It is worth the price.

Ease of Use Rating = 4     Most of the functionality is easy to access.  I had a little trouble putting push pins in my favorite spots.

  Readability Rating = 5     Since you can zoom in on any map; font size is not an issue.  If you cannot read the font – zoom in.

 Will You Use It Rating = 5     It is fun to explore the world with this app.  You can see where you have been and where you want to go.

 Downsides Rating = 0     I have not discovered any significant downsides.  It does switch from a photographic view of the world to an internet view of the world.  Sometimes the change is jarring.  You do have to have an internet connection to zoom in on the countries.

  Consumer Review Rating = 4     There have been over 2,600 reviews.  The few complaints I noted were related to look and feel of the maps.

  Why Do You Need This App Rating = 5     It is important to understand geography.  The world is more accessible and in some ways smaller than it once was and knowing geography is important.

How does it work?

  1. The opening screen is a globe.  You can switch from executive (old atlas look), classic (more modern) or satellite view.  Spinning the globe around is fun.  However, that is not all you can do.
  2. The Nations & Territories tab at the top left gives you some basic information about each country or territory.   You can find out about their population, area, government, capital, resources, industries, exports, etc.  There is a brief historic and geographic description for every country.
  3. A map library houses photographic images of maps of countries.  You can pan and zoom within those photos.  The size of these photos is large and it sometimes takes a while to build out the whole picture.
  4. You can pinch and zoom on the globe to see finer detail.  In the U.S., you can zoom in close enough to make the map one you could use to navigate.  Other apps are likely easier to use, but it is possible.  At these zoomed views you can switch from road to satellite view.   You do have to have an internet connection to get this functionality.
  5. If you touch and hold any country on the map the country information pops up and the country boarders are highlighted.
  6. You can place push pins in your favorite places and type notes about your visit.  This was not easy. Maybe I just need more practice.
  7. You can push the HOME button in the top ribbon to bring you back to the globe.
  8. There are PLUS and MINUS buttons on the top ribbon to zoom in or out of the maps.
  9. There is a small globe in the bottom right hand corner that pinpoints your search area.

This is a visually lovely app.  You can explore the world to your heart’s content.  I would think it would be useful for students learning about the world.  But then again, don’t we all want to learn more?

Devices:  Designed by the National Geographic Society, this app is compatible with iPad and requires iOS 3.2 or later.


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