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WHAT: Seventeenth-century Dutch cartographers sparked the golden age of mapmaking with colorful inks on fine paper. Contemporary mapmakers, like the National Geographic Society, have brought the craft to the Web. Their Map Machine Web site offers images of everything from the Outer Banks to outer space.
BEST POINTS: Use the "dynamic map" option to zoom in and out from a detailed map of anywhere on Earth. You might want to e-mail the picture to a friend. Also check out the satellite images of Earth, or see photographs of the solar system from NASA's Hubble telescope. Finally, update your old atlas with maps that incorporate the most recent changes in world geography, or read the feature "round earth, flat maps," about the craft of mapmaking through the years.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: You do not need an ID or password to use the site. It includes a host of map-related links. There also is an online link to the Society's famous magazine and its television-production and book-publishing groups.
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