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From hand drawn maps on the back of napkins to advanced modeling software, scientists, geographers, and storytellers use mapping tools every day. This series highlights how some National Geographic Explorers use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to inform and communicate their work. Join us as we track bears, protect chimpanzees, and fly drones over the highest glacier in the world! 

Tune In

Watch these videos of National Geographic Explorers out in the field using GIS and mapping to understand our world.

Alex Tait takes measurements at Mount Everest's Base Camp.

Visualizing a Glacier  

Travel along with Alex Tait, The Geographer at National Geographic, and a team of mappers on an expedition to Mount Everest. The maps they produce will help scientists better understand the dynamics of the ice and snow on the mountain and how the warming climate is impacting the region.

Paul Salopek walks down a road with his walking partner as a man rides his bicycle nearby.

A StoryMap of the Silk Road  

Join journalist and National Geographic Fellow, Paul Salopek, as he follows in our ancestors' footsteps—literally! Paul’s 10-year trek on foot follows the path of human migration and aims to tell local stories about our changing world.

Rae Wynn-Grant holds a GPS unit in a forest near Lake Tahoe.

Tracking Black Bears  

Wildlife ecologist Rae Wynn-Grant uses GPS-tracking, modeling of natural habitats, and forecasting migratory patterns are all essential for her mission: studying black bears and their behavior around human areas in the Lake Tahoe region.

Jane Goodall raises a fits with a local community around a Jane Goodall Institute sign.

Community Based Conservation  

Primatologist and conservation hero, Jane Goodall, took her work from observation and research to conservation and activism when she saw the effects of deforestation first hand.

Raft on river

Following Plastic from Land to Sea  

National Geographic Explorer Heather Koldewey, and a team of experts, set off on an expedition to find answers. Using technology, data collection, and mapping on India’s Ganges River, Heather and her team use innovative bottle tags as one method to determine and chart where much of the plastic pollution originates.

Classroom Resources

Use these materials to teach students about maps and mapping.