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18 Map-Themed Gift Ideas for Geography Nerds (+1 to Avoid)

Looking for the perfect gift idea for a cartophile on your list? We’ve researched 100s of ideas and identified 19 for every type of geographic fanatic – from the traveler to the history buff and everything in between.

These high quality, custom marble map coasters are the ideal gift for a map-lover who enjoys his drinks. Choose any city/address at checkout and the artist will use its mapped location to illustrate the coasters. The maps have a vintage look, adding to the intrigue and uniqueness.

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Choose an etched glass featuring maps from your choice of 19 different U.S. cities. Made in the USA, these glasses make a great pairing with his or her favorite local spirits. They make a great conversation starts for introverted map geeks.

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Created by an independent artist in Massachusetts, this custom cotton pillow will feature a map with any location of your choosing. Maybe you’d like to feature a favorite travel destination or, your very own neighborhood? Because this is a custom made item, you’ll want to allow some extra lead time for creation and shipping. A special gift your map-lover will cherish for years.

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An in-depth look at 60 of the most famous historical maps, this coffee table book is much more than a quality re-print of historical maps. Full of interesting analysis and historical context, it tells the story behind the maps in a readable, superbly organized format. It’s rare to find such a visually stunning layout combined with excellent writing.


Recommended for kids 8 and up, this wonderfully illustrated atlas not only includes maps, but accompanying photography and info-graphics to help kids better understand their world. Browse the 50 maps and over 300 photos for hours. The perfect gift for the budding geographer.


This durability-tested umbrella features an attractive world design that will ensure your map-loving friend or family member stays dry, happily.

Take geography to the next level with this fun, challenging board game for ages 10-adult that will test your knowledge of culture around the globe.


If you’re looking for a map book that’s is both beautifully illustrated and educational, Maps is for you. The Wall Street Journal says Maps “gives aesthetic pleasure all the way from the table of contents to the flags of the world at book’s end.” Complete with 52 illustrations, it’s a real treat to explore regions around the world in stunning detail. The book is 11×15 inches.


While this quality reproduction would be a stunning home accent on its own, you get the added benefit of storing your favorite gin – or whatever else you’d like inside the body of the globe. It also includes a storage shelf below. Not what the 16th century Italians intended this for, but we’re pretty sure they’d be thrilled with the result themselves.


Help your world traveler chart his or her adventures with this quality scratch off map, designed by cartographers for extra accuracy and detail. This 17×24 inch world map also includes flags for each country as well as separate colors for each U.S. state, making it easy to track domestic travels as well.


Written by geopolitics expert and journalist Tim Marshall, this book connects geography with world events in an engaging way – using ten different maps around the world from Japan to Latin America. Marshall explains how the decisions of world leaders and the outcome of historical events can be connected, and in many ways determined by geographic features.

The Atlas of Middle-Earth

If your map lover is a Lord of the Rings fan, look no further than this excellent atlas of Middle Earth, the fantasy land featured in Tolkien’s beloved books. Much more than maps, this atlas features diagrams and paths taken by key characters as well as key geographic details such as climate conditions and plant life. A true map lover’s immersion into the world Tolkien.

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks

Written by a record-breaking Jeopardy! winner, Ken Jennings delves into the world of serious map obsessives with 12 chapters focusing on different aspects of this fascinating sub-culture. Learn about the minds behind programming Google Earth and get inside the head of boy and girl genius geography bee contestants, among other entertaining (and often humorous) adventures.

Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users

Many GIS books focus on the technical aspects of map creation, but this text places emphasis on creating beautiful maps that communicate effectively. Author Cynthia A. Brewer teaches at Penn State University and has consulted a number of top government agencies on map design. Great for both new or experienced cartographers.

The World’s First Collection of Every Urban Train Map on Earth

“Pure catnip” according to the New York Times, this award-winning collection of transport maps of over 200 cities around the world–both modern and historical–is a map lover’s treasure trove. The book connects modern transport maps to Harry Beck, who designed London’s first maps. Instead of creating every station distance to scale, he simplified with lines and visual cues that have influenced maps to this day.

World Map Washable Tablecloth

Available in four different sizes, this fun travel map-themed tablecloth is a must for any map lover’s dining room or kitchen. It’s made from high quality cotton/linen fabric from which stains can be easily removed.

Magnetic Levitation Floating Globe

Great for the bedroom or office, this levitating globe uses magnetic technology to keep afloat. Complete with LED lights, the map becomes especially fun at night. A great Christmas or birthday present, it’s sure to be greeted by oohs and aahs.

The Man Behind The Maps

This beautiful coffee table book should be the centerpiece of every map-loving skier. It’s devoted to James Niehues, a renown ski map artist who created over 200 maps around the world, from Telluride to Whistler. More than just pictures, you’ll learn in detail about Niehues techniques used to create these legendary maps.

One thing to avoid: Because map lovers crave authenticity, we recommend you avoid giving cute map gifts such as little Christmas globes, map key chains, or other products that use stylized rather than “real maps.”