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November 12, 2006 (revised 8/2/10) - by Terri Johnson

Outline Maps...

Uncle Josh or Knowledge Quest
Most home educators recognize the need for blank outline maps as a supplement to their history and geography lessons. So the obvious question arises… which maps are the best fit for my family? There are two main outline map products on the market today - Uncle Josh’s Outline Maps and Knowledge Quest maps. On various chat boards across the internet, I often see the question posed, “Which maps are better?” And the answers usually come in the form of “I like Uncle Josh’s better” or “I prefer Knowledge Quest maps.” I have yet to see or read a thorough comparison of these two products. And so I am going to tackle this job myself.

Some of you may question my ability to provide an objective comparison since I am the creator of Knowledge Quest maps. Let me just say this... I am highly impressed with Uncle Josh’s maps and have recommended them many times when it has become clear that our product was not the best fit.

My goal for this article is that Geography Matters (publisher of Uncle Josh’s Outline Maps) would be just as comfortable referring to this comparison for their own potential customers asking for the difference between these two products.

First, I will give descriptions of each product, then I will give a side-by-side comparison in the form of a table - somewhat like the Dell chart in their mailers which answers the question, “Which notebook computer is right for me?”

Let’s start with Uncle Josh. The CD-ROM contains 125 outline maps reproducible for your own family’s use. Included in the selection of maps are 5 historical maps, 39 maps from around the world, 10 US maps, all 50 states and 21 bonus maps. Bonus maps include the Canadian provinces and a handful of shaded relief maps.

Uncle Josh maps are clean with superb detail. Maps are completely blank except for current political boundary divisions, rivers, latitude and longitude lines and a mileage scale. These are beautiful all-purpose maps. Suggestions for use are included in the front pages of the book. Uncle Josh Outline Maps are available as a workbook or on CD-ROM.

Now for a look at Knowledge Quest maps. There are over 400 maps included in the Map Trek hardcover book + CD-ROM.  Knowledge Quest maps are historical in scope and are broken down into four time periods - Ancient, Medieval, New World and Modern.  Map Trek also covers American history separately in Map Trek: US Edition which includes 206 maps - 53 are historical, 53 are unlabeled,  plus the 50 state maps.

Knowledge Quest maps are uncluttered and clearly labeled to reflect the time period depicted. Full-color teacher maps are labeled with city names, boundaries of empires, travel routes, etc. Each set of Map Trek also includes completely unlabeled companion maps providing a variety of challenge for students in grades 1-12. Lesson plans are including at the beginning of each section. Map Trek is available in hardcover format, CD-ROM, or digital editions.

Below is a side-by-side comparison of these two products:


Uncle Josh’s Outline Maps

Knowledge Quest's Map Trek




# of Maps



# of Historical Maps



# of Multi-Purpose Blank Maps



Maps with Current Boundaries



Distance Scale included



Latitude/Longitude lines



File Type on CD-ROM



Mac and PC Compatible



Links for Navigation



Price for CD-ROM

$26.95 retail

starting at $14.95

I hope this comparison has helped you to decide which product will best fit your family’s needs. If you have any questions, we’re here to help. Send an e-mail to [email protected].

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