Bright Ideas Press has an exciting new program called Wonder Maps. This comes from the same people who created Illuminations (you can see my review of that here. I think that Wonder Maps has to be the best thing since sliced bread. I can't tell you how many times I've been in need of a particular map and had the hardest time locating one. But no more, because Wonder Maps covers all the bases for your map needs.
The Wonder Maps program is installed on your computer and when you open it, the Home page comes up in Adobe Reader.
You then have the option of choosing from World Maps, United States Maps, Historical Maps, and Thematic Maps. In total there are over 350 customizable maps available to you. Once you locate the map you want in the appropriate section, you then have the flexibility of tuning various layers on and off, depending upon your particular needs.
For example, if you are studying US Geography, you can print out maps for each child with all the relevant data; state and city names, rivers and their names, capital locations and names, etc. Once you're ready to quiz or test your child, you can go back to the same map and turn off those layers, leaving you with a black and white outline map to print out.
Perhaps you need an historical map. In that section, there are four categories, The Ancients (Creation to 33 A.D.), The Middle Ages (33 A.D. to 1456 A.D.), The Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations (1457 A.D. to 1707 A.D.), Revolutions to Rising Times (1708 A.D. to present).
Now let's say you want specifics about the Aztec Empire. You simply go to the Renaissance option and scroll chronologically down to the desired map.
You may now select the layers you'd like to have on or off to customize your map. There is also a Modern Overlay which will show you what the map looks like in modern times. This can provide a very interesting perspective as you study historical maps.
The Thematic Maps section includes Biblical maps, Chinese Dynasties, Native Americans, Explorers, American History, World Wars, and 20th Century Treaties. Additionally, if you use Mystery of History or All American History (Bright Ideas Press), you can easily locate the maps that coordinate with those programs.
There is also a Teacher's Guide page on the Home site which provides you with additional resources; quick start guide, video tutorial, user manual, bonus MP3 workshops, and other helpful resources.
There is so much flexibility and so many map options available and yet the program is only $49.95. This is a product you will be able to use for many years, grades, and subjects. It's not consumable and you can print as many different maps as you need, or just review them on the computer.
Learn what other TOS Crew members had to say about Wonder Maps at the TOS Crew Blog.
Disclaimer: I was provided access to Wonder Maps to utilize their program for review as a member of the TOS Crew. The opinions stated here are my own.