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Printable Map of the World

A PDF outline maps of the world for students who are learning about continents and countries.

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A World Map for Students: The printable outline maps of the world shown above can be downloaded and printed as .pdf documents. They are formatted to print nicely on most 8 1/2" x 11" inch printers in landscape format. They are great maps for students who are learning about the geography of continents and countries. Teachers are welcome to download the maps, print as many copies as they need for student use and share the maps with fellow teachers.

It is impossible to show the outline of every tiny country of the world on map that can be printed on a single 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper. That is a simple fact of cartography. When a large geographic area is represented on a small piece of paper a lot of the details must be left off. They are too small to be drawn. This is something that students need to learn. It is why most cities are not shown on even the largest wall maps. The map-maker was not slighting your community - there was simply not enough space to show every geographic feature!

This map does a nice job of showing the boundaries of most major countries of the world. Students can easily use it to learn the major countries of South America, Africa or other continents and regions.

Ideas for Computer or Overhead Projection: Teachers can use computer projection or an overhead projector to display these maps on the screen in their classroom. They can then point to countries on the maps and call on students to name them. The maps can also be projected onto a whiteboard. Teachers can then annotate the maps or ask for student volunteers to mark the location of specific countries. Students enjoy using the maps on a whiteboard and can take notes on a printed map at their desks.

About the Map Projection: Many maps displayed in classrooms are produced using a Mercator projection. Mercator projection maps are easily recognized because latitude and longitude on these maps are shown as straight lines that intersect at right angles. They make a tidy presentation but the shapes and sizes of the geographic features on Mercator maps are extremely distorted with distance from the equator.

These printable maps were prepared using a Robinson projection with standard parallels at 38 degrees north and 38 degrees south. Like any map created by projecting a spherical three-dimensional Earth onto a flat two-dimensional sheet of paper, the Robinson projection has its share of distortion. However, the distortion is not nearly as severe as the Mercator projection.

The Robinson projection has straight lines of latitude and lines of longitude curve gently towards the poles but do not intersect. As a result, distortion of geographic features is most severe approaching the poles but not nearly as severe as in the Mercator projection.

The Robinson projection is one of the most highly respected map projections. It was devised by Arthur Robinson in 1963 for the Rand McNally company, who has used the projection for many of their world maps to this day. In 1988, The National Geographic Society began using the Robinson projection in many of their world maps and used it extensively for over a decade.

Enjoy! We hope that these world outline maps will be useful in your office, home or classroom.