Giveaway contest: ‘The Greatest Paper Map of the United States You’ll Ever See’ from Imus Geographics

Note: the contest has concluded, winners are Bryce and Paul & Carol.

Every one of The Rapid Traveler’s trips begins with scrutiny of maps. A country’s map is studied to understand distances, relations and routes among destinations, and frequently consulted throughout research as the plan gels. He never relies on internet mapping programs in this stage, only later checking for specific road directions, as each zoom level obscures as much as it reveals. He has long favored Lonely Planet guidebooks for their superb maps, and is devastated to see the disaster that has befallen them in the new design.

Catching up on a week of news feeds The Rapid Traveler saw this Slate article, The Greatest Paper Map of the United States You’ll Ever See, and was stunned by the masterwork of two years’ lonely toil by David Imus, an elegant map titled The Essential Geography of the United States of America. The Slate article provides all the detail needed to show its loving brilliance, and travelers will especially appreciate the three-letter IATA airport codes.

In appreciation of the solitary craftsmen and the utility of paper maps for comprehension, The Rapid Traveler will order two of these maps, the USA folded version ($12.95 value) to give away to readers who enter the drawing by leaving a comment to this post.

Ground rules are one entry per person, please do not be petty by leaving multiple entries. The comment should say something about maps or your experience with maps that you think other readers will find interesting. The comment should include a valid email address for verification of winners. Comments must be submitted by Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 23:59 EST. Winners will be selected with the random number generator at, the winning numbers corresponding to comment numbers. Winners will be posted in a subsequent blog post and updated on this post. If contact info is included in the comment, winners will be contacted (contact info not displayed publicly and not used for any marketing purposes). Winners will need to provide a US mailing address to The Rapid Traveler to receive the maps and that info will be disclosed to Imus Geographics in the order as the shipping address (sorry, no non-US addresses due to high shipping cost). The Rapid Traveler has no relationship with Imus Geographics, is paying for these maps out of pocket because he is in a good mood today, and will not receive any compensation for this recommendation and contents. And please enter if you actually will make use of the map, not just to grab a freebie.

Good luck, and those that do not win should consider gracing their travel ‘war room’ with this aristocrat.

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  • Richard


    I like maps that show both Chicago airports.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the Imus map fails this simple test (at least, I only see one in the Slate article’s picture)???

  • Lisa

    My husband and I decided that we wanted to be able to find all the countries in the world on their continent’s maps! He is doing much better than I am. We use an atlas and a game online. My mother thought it was so cool she bought us a beautiful globe for Christmas!
    We can find all the states… mostly… ha ha!

  • BothofUs2

    I like the Delorme paper atlas series sold by state. It shows details down to streams and abandoned railways even. Great for hiking and exploring.

    Thanks for the chance.

  • Joel

    I can spend hours looking at maps of places I have not seen and may never see. Maps inspire dreams.

  • I would love to display the Imus map along side this zip code map of the US:

  • I first fell in love with maps during my mother’s frequent trips to the Sierras. She would pack us into the van, start singing “On the Road Again,” and just drive up and down the mountain roads, picking her turns at random. I was terrified we would get lost, so I always kept track of every turn.

  • M

    Though I get nasty motion sickness, as a child on the annual summer road trip I would devour the maps! I loved studying the minute details and nuances in even places we wouldn’t be seeing, and especially reading all the street names for the most interesting. No matter how ‘quick and convenient’ google is, it does not take the place of seeing it all laid out in front of you!

  • Bob

    I’ve been a map lover since childhood. I appreciate paper maps, detailed state atlases, world atlases, round globes and the amazing variety of maps available on the internet. Maps that show topography (like this one) are a big plus for me.

  • Peter

    USA folded version Map will be good — for me to post in my office — for my friends to know — how to fly for small $:)

  • Ted


  • Naif

    Interesting !!!

  • Phil

    Americans are truly geographically illiterate and Google maps and GPS are only making things worse. Anything that can help us to improve our general competence in this area is great… even if we have to start just with the US.

  • Rob

    Every trip always begins witb a detailed study of maps. I can’t tell you how many times an old school paper map has saved when GPS failed.

  • paul & carol

    As career Air Force navigators we both have an almost freaky fascniation with al things maps. This would be an awesome add to our collection (and yes, if we don’t win, we’ll probably end up buying this map! 🙂

  • paul&carol

    We are both career USAF navigator with an almost obsessive/compulsive fascination with all things map. This would be a great addition to our collection!

  • David

    I read the Slate article about this map and got pretty excited. I have a very small map of the U.S. at home and would love to have a better / bigger one!

  • Denise

    I have always loved maps. And even though I have finally broken down and purchased a GPS, I still carry lots of maps with me. They are a pleasure to read.

  • John Corbley

    Forget the iphones and iPads, nothing beats a good folded map in the glove compartment.
    Nice and simple…..Routes, distances and major cities.

  • Dan

    I agree that this map is one of the best maps of the United States. From the unconventional state borders to the way he displays towns, Mr. Imus was able to produce a very good paper map of the United States.

  • Kevin

    I was given a globe/map set as a Christmas gift when I was 11. Best gift I ever received. As my mother now regrets, it set the stage for my adulthood wanderlust.

  • Brittain

    I spend hours looking at paper and online maps before trips. Really pays to have a lay of the land before you go.

  • Spencer

    In love with maps ever since a kid. Still enjoy hours with maps as I plan out multi-day adventures to Europe from time to time as I seek to hit the best sites and maximize utilization of my time!

  • josh

    Surprisingly, IKEA has a world map that is pretty awesome. It is huge!! Like any IKEA product though, you have to assemble it and it’s atleast 50 something pieces.

  • dinosims

    Love this idea! Big fan of maps here, and would love an addition to my collection.

  • mike

    I used to have something like this LONG LONG ago when I was a very young kid by my father. Brings back memories. I wish I still had that map.

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  • Josh

    I am happy to see this map highlighted. It sounds extraordinary. Although the wide availability of maps online has is undoubtedly useful, the experience of looking at a large paper map is entirely different. One gets a sense of scale, a sense of how one’s particular journey fits into the geography of a larger area. Thanks for this post and this contest!

  • Donald Mamula

    I’ve been a casual map collector for years. One of my favorites is a AAA map of Orange County CA from 1960. Amazing to see how much “open space” (likely orange groves) there was in towns such as Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. How Irvine didn’t even exist. Looking at a good map, there is always something new to notice that you never saw before.

  • Jason

    I have two young daughters, and the map would help get them excited for upcoming trips.

  • Jen

    Hoping to get this map for my friend. He has a goal of visiting every U.S. state capitol. He’s got most of the east coat and the south visited, but this would be a great way for him to keep track of where he’s been and other interesting places in the U.S. that he would like to visit! He also is moving to Taiwan for a job for a few years, so this would be a great goodbye present and a reminder of the places he still has yet to visit in America!

  • I’ve loved studying maps since I was a little kid. I’d probably hang this map on my bedroom wall and start to pin all the places I want to visit in the US 🙂 This is an awesome promo Stefan, thanks!

  • zasm

    maps show me the places that I have been, but are most meaningful to me in showing how many places I have yet to go.

  • Bonesaz

    I have been fascinated with maps since I was a kid, there is something about knowing all of these places exist and how do they put it all together, especially a world map, great to fantasize about where to go to next.
    I can truly appreciate the effort in spending 2 years to do something correctly and accurately, someone who takes that kind of time and effort is an artist in my mind. Would love to have this framed on my wall.

  • Joediver

    I love all types of maps. Relief maps, underwater charts, globes. Both of my sons have inherited this too. They just love having maps on the walls of their own homes

  • Awesome, read the article on this map and am interested in getting to look at it up close. My office has some great space for a upgraded US Map too 😉

  • glovestravel

    Loving maps as a kid have kept me a traveler many times over as an adult.

    There are things out there that you haven’t been able to experience!

  • Arthur R

    There is one map that has been very important to me. My favorite English teacher back in what would be 9th grade gave me a giant raised-relief map of the US at the end of the year in recognition of my studious work and to inspire me to work hard to move to the US as it was my ambition. Ten years later, I finally moved permanently to the US. Thanks!

  • Mark P

    I spent 2 years in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer living in a mud brick house with no running water and no electricity and thus little distractions with no TV, radio, internet, etc. My constant companion was my Readers Digest Atlas of the World and I poured over the maps on each page. Using a grid system, I painted an accurate large scale map of Africa on the wall in my room. I love maps and would love to own one of these beautiful pain-stakingly created works of art.

  • Tom

    Awesome article. Would love this!

  • DCA Rob

    I often rather read a map than read a book. Or at least let the map direct me to the next book I’d like to read.

  • Krista

    I love maps!

  • worldtraveller2

    Map lover!

  • Aaron S

    I have been looking or a good map for a few months now to mark off places as my wife and I visit them. Even if I don’t win it, I’ll probably buy one! Thanks!

  • Helen

    Wow after reading that article I don’t think I’ll look at maps the same way again. I’ve been meaning to get a large map to decorate my house so this would be perfect.

  • PeterL

    I love traveling with a map. Even with GPS I have a paper map open to have as a reference. This map sounds great.

  • LarzMN

    Nice timing. I’m looking for a new map to teach my daughter about the world around her!

  • Mark

    I travel all over the US, quite often to small towns that can only be seen on a map such as this. This would make a great tool for my children to learn their geography as well as where Daddy is this week!

  • I have always enjoyed looking at maps, and would love receiving one of such artistry!

  • Ray

    I love the craft that went into this map. Having worked for a mapping company in the past I can see the love and the effort. This would be a wonderful map to display.

  • Alex H

    I read the same Slate article and was very impressed with Imus. I’d love to give this map to my nephew who I think would treasure it.

  • The Imus map is great – go to his website and check out the side-by-side comparison with the big sellers.

  • Carmen

    I love maps, read them like books. I love old maps too, to compare; especially of my hometown, Detroit, and home of last 40+ years, San Francisco. Loved the Slate article for the info re. map making. Ta.

  • Dan Hartung

    Wish there were some way to get one of these for each state in the union!

  • Christopher

    Since first tasked with navigation of a cross-country road trip at age eight, I’ve been passionate about maps. Only now, through a career in land survey and an education in GIS, have I found in the Slate article the very best presentation of the US I’ve ever seen. Were I to win, I’d no doubt spend hours, even days, studying this map.

  • Steve Schindler

    My favorite map is of “Hawaii-The Sandwich Isles” by Blaise Domino and my fave book about maps is “Maphead” by Ken Jennings. If I win it’s going up framed next to the Hawaii map.

  • Brent

    I love maps! Santa delivered us a large wall mural map (9ft x 6ft) for Christmas, and our kids (4 and 2) can’t get enough of it! I also love going ‘exploring’ on the kitchen table with my 4 year-old (and she does too) with our current U.S. map– I’m excited to order a copy of the Imus Geographics map! With reportedly so many high schoolers not able to locate New York City on a U.S. map (or the U.S. on a map of the world), I look forward to doing the part with my kids to reverse the trend.

  • I am a retired Cartographer who served the Department of Defense for 34 years creating Nautical Charts for the U. S. Navy.

    I have always had a love for maps and charts.

  • Elizabeth Abney

    Some of my earliest memories are rifling through the drawer that my dad had stuffed to the brim with all sorts of maps he used – from NatGeo maps of faraway places (we had quite the collection) to topo surveys of the local management areas where he hunted. I loved the act of unfolding them so see what they would reveal, the colors, the symbols, the way the different textured papers aged… I am getting nostalgic just thinking about it!

  • Dave

    Like many here I have loved paper maps for some time. Contest or not, you might really enjoy the book “A Mapmakers Dream” It’s excellent! Good luck to all!

  • Pam

    I read about this map in “Slate” and have been planning to order one. I’ve driven from coast to coast eight times in the past 6 years and always use a paper map for planning purposes. Nothing else compares. I’m excited about this map. I love the thought and detail and artistry Mr Imus put into it. Thanks for the opportunity to win one!

  • The Imus map is a beauty: design, function, and art perfectly balanced.

  • xp0

    Very nice of you 😉 A new map would be great! The wife and I use our map with pins in it to document where we have been with different colors pins representing us traveling alone vs. places we have been together

  • Carl

    Maps are wonderful, especially in this world of GPS and overuse of Internet maps. Geography has been a wonderful interest of mine for years, and I look forward to viewing Mr. Imus’ map.

  • Kenj

    i just LOVE maps! Nothing quite so fun as planning out a trip with a half dozen maps of various scales spread out on the table. New ones don’t replace old ones — they just get added to the collection.

  • I want to make a political map of Turkey in that style but I am not sure about response of the users. I have heard about the map from the internet, by a newsletter. It seems that the attantion to the map rised since it is an award winning map. There are many articles and news on the internet about the map, and also a pdf file with the comparisons on . As a cartographer I can say that it is a “beatiful map”, with most detailed information. I would like to have one to see the map print quality. Many political maps shows the boundaries with different colors, but it is a courage to use single green colours for the borders. Becouse there is an axpectation on the users that the boundaries or the political polygons will be coloured. But this green single colour makes the map easy to use. I will put this political map on our site and also map prints for sale on