Fun Map and Geography Themed Gifts for 2012

Caitlin Dempsey


The gift giving season is upon us.  So, what to get for that Geogeek or map aficionado?
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For t-shirts, cups, and pins with a GIS theme, this search page at Cafe Press and Zazzle highlights geogeek gifts with sayings like “I’m spatial” and “NAD 83.  We’re not in Kansas anymore”. is always a great place to search for a unique geography or map themed gift.  Most of the items for sale on Etsy are designed and created by individual artists.  Therefore the items are available in limited quantities.

Some examples of interesting geothemed gifts:

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Australian artist Allison has created lacquered earring featured topographical maps.  Each earring set is handmade and features a snippet of a topo map.

Topo earrings

This vintage pin, picked up by the seller at an estate sale, is sure to please the uber geogeek.  The pin features a setup for drafting a topographic map and measures less than a square inch in height and width.

cartography pin

Another artist on Etsy offers custom map necklaces.  The necklaces contain a snippet from a vintage map of a location requested by the buyer. The same artist also offers the same concept as a ring and earrings.

Custom map necklaces

Beautiful and artistic maps are always a crowd favorite.  Companies like Axis Maps offer typographic maps. These maps, made entirely from lettering, can be purchased for a range of famous cities in the United States and London, England.

Typographic map of Chicago by Axis Maps.  
Typographic map of Chicago by Axis Maps. also offers some beautiful maps using on building footprints (and sometimes hydrographic features) for a variety of cities in the United States and Europe.

Building footprint map of Logan Square in Chicago.
Building footprint map of Logan Square in Chicago.

For a practical geography gift, consider a classic GIS or cartography book.  Esri has been resissuing seminal publications via its Esri Press as part of its Classic Series.  The latest reissue is C. Dana Tomlin’s text, Geographic Information Systems and Cartographic Modeling under the title, GIS and Cartographic Modeling.

Cartographic Modeling book

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.