Mapmaking Contest!

Inviting all Maine 5th Graders... enter our Illustrated Mapmaking Contest for the chance to win $1,000 ($500 for you, $500 for your class)!

Important Dates:

Important Things to Know:

Mail your map and Entry Release Form to:

     Osher Map Library (Attn: Mapmaking Contest)
     P.O. Box 9301
     Portland, Maine 04104

(or drop off at: Osher Map Library; 314 Forest Ave; Portland, ME 04101)

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q.      Can I work with another fifth grader to make my map?
A.      Sorry, no. All the work needs to be your own!

Q.      Which will be more likely to win: maps made on computers or hand-drawn maps?
A.      Remember that the final winner will be chosen by online voting. However, the 10 finalists will be chosen by committee based on aesthetics (how nice they look) and originality (creativity and uniqueness). Maps made on the computer can be more mathematically precise, but that will not matter for this contest. Use whatever method allows you to create the most unique and attractive map you can!

Q.      Can I use any art material to make my map, so long as it is flat?
A.      You can use any standard art medium, but if you use something that might by messy, such as chalk pastels, you need to spray it with fixative. We will be scanning the finalist maps for online voting, and we can’t risk damaging our scanner!

Q.      Can I put printed images on a hand-drawn map?
A.      You can create images on the computer, print them off, and paste them on your map if you would like. However, if you're using images you get online, a lot of that is protected by copyright laws, and we could theoretically get in trouble for displaying it on our website. For that reason, all of the illustrations should be your own.

Q.      When you say that my map can be created on a computer, are you talking about a certain program?
A.      There are multiple programs that can be used to design maps, but we were specifically thinking of software like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). GIMP is free online (, but it can be pretty tricky to use at first. If you want to try it, you will probably need to spend a few hours with the tutorials (

Q.      Can an illustrated map use words?
A.      Yes! In fact, most illustrated maps DO use words (you can see some examples below).


Some Examples of Pictorial or Illustrated Maps:

Click on a picture below to see a larger version of the map.

World Wonders, Ernest Dudley Chase, 1939 (World Pictorial Map), Jacques Liozu, 1951 Global Map for Global War and Global Peace, Alcoa Map Dept., 1943 P.W.A. in Action, C.H.W., ca.1935 Grand Canyon National Park, Jolly Lindgren, 1936 On the Routes of the Flying Clipper Ships, Kenneth W. Thompson, ca.1939 America, W. Kirtman Plummer, 1953 Los Angeles, Gene Holtan, 1968 The Colour of an Old City, E.B. Olsen & B.E. Clark, 1926 Myths Maps & Men: Merril Lynch Salutes the Year of the Moon, M. Ramus, 1969 Paul Bunyan's Pictorial Map of the United States, Ray D. Handy, 1935