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Geographers Publish NH Atlas

KEENE, N.H. 4/16/04 - Schoolchildren in New Hampshire now have their own state atlas. Some even helped make it.

The New Hampshire Atlas, published in late March, was the brainchild of Klaus Bayr, professor of geography. Bayr, who teaches cartography, collaborated with his students and consulted with fourth graders and their teachers at Wheelock School in Keene during the production process, which began two years ago.

The atlas is intended for use by fourth graders and is in line with New Hampshire curriculum standards, said Bayr. He expects, though, that the atlas will be popular with children and teachers from other grades.

“The maps are colorful, big, and easy to read,” he said. And, Bayr explained, they have been approved by potential customers. “We showed the maps to kids at Wheelock School, and they came back to us with suggestions, like adding better keys to make the maps easier to read.”

Bayr came up with the idea for the atlas after seeing a children’s atlas of California. “I thought it looked like a nice easy job to do,” he explained, “until I dove into it.” Bayr had previously produced poster maps of New Hampshire for use by teachers, which were distributed by the Geographic Alliance of New Hampshire.

Bayr enlisted the help of several students from his cartography classes on the project. Together, they drew more than 100 maps for the atlas, using computer illustration programs. About 25 maps, representing New Hampshire landform regions, rivers and watersheds, Native American tribes, early industries, agriculture, transportation, population, and diversity are included in the 28-page atlas.

Much of the work, said Bayr, was to look maps already in existence, collect relevant information from state of federal agencies, and then draw new maps appropriate for fourth grade children. The more complicated maps took up to a month to complete.

Stephanie Derrick, a sophomore majoring in elementary education and geography, was one of the students to work on the project. “I like making maps,” she said. “It’s a chance to be creative and to make something for someone else to use. It’s a great thing to be able to help other people to learn.”

What’s next for the Keene State atlas makers? Bayr would like to create a similar atlas for Vermont. In the near future he would like to finish electronic versions of New Hampshire and Vermont atlases and make these available on CD.

The New Hampshire Atlas costs $7 and is available from the N.H. Geographic Alliance at Keene State by calling 603-358-2508 or e-mailing

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