Giant traveling map of Pacific comes to Hawaii


KIHEI, HAWAII — Hawaii Students will dive into the wonders of the Pacific Ocean with one of the world’s largest maps of the world’s largest ocean. The map, measuring 26 feet by 35 feet, will give these student explorers a fun, interactive experience through rich content and exciting activities that enliven the study of geography.

Through a partnership between MEDB’s Women in Technology (WIT), Hawaii Geographic Alliance (HGA), and the Hawaii Geographic Information Coordinating Council (HIGICC) the map will be on loan to Hawaii schools from October 15 – December 20, 2013 through National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program, managed by National Geographic Live, the public programming division of the National Geographic Society. The Pacific Ocean maps and curriculum were developed and funded by two $1 million Oracle Commitment Grants, awarded to National Geographic.

The brightly colored, smooth vinyl surface of the map will introduce Hawaii students to explore some of the unexpected geography at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean: from the deepest place on earth, the Mariana Trench, to the world’s tallest mountain, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, which has its base on the ocean floor. Most of all, students will experience the Pacific as a living entity, with active volcanoes giving birth to new islands, deep sea vents supporting new life forms, phytoplankton blooms providing over half of the planet’s fresh air, and the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living structure in the world.

Hawaii teachers are also provided with a set of fun, content-rich activities to help students interact with the map: “Cities in the Sea” invites students to explore the extraordinary biodiversity of four reef ecosystems; “The Deep & the Dark” simulates for students the depth of the Mariana Trench and fifteen other ocean floor trenches; and “Ocean Commotion” allows students to travel the ocean surface along the paths of eight major currents, finishing in the middle of the Pacific garbage patch, where they learn about human impacts on ocean health. Also accompanying the maps are vibrant photo cards of animals and plants, hand-held models of volcanoes, and colorful coral reef replicas.

“We are excited to share this map with our Hawaii schools throughout the state of Hawaii.  Inspiring the next generation of spatially literate & engaging Hawaii STEM students is our priority.  It is an honor to partner with National Geographic Education, HIGICC, and the Hawaii Geographic Alliance to help make it happen,” said Isla Young director of K12 STEM Education for MEDB’s Women in Technology Project.

National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program was introduced in 2006 with a map of Africa created after National Geographic magazine’s 2005 special issue devoted entirely to that continent. Since then the program has expanded to include maps of North America, Asia and South America and now the Pacific Ocean. It is estimated that more than 400,000 students will interact with one of these maps in the 2013-2014 school year. In addition to school venues, the maps appear at museums, festivals, fairs, and corporate and educational conferences. The maps also reinforce National Geographic’s commitment to increasing geo-literacy through teacher professional development, K-12 curriculum, live events, and academic competitions.

For more information & to sign up for the Giant Traveling Map visit or email