Find out what's new—and tell us what you think of it —on the National Geographic magazine Web site.
About Our Redesign
Posted Feb 14,2008

Welcome to's new look. Today we're unveiling a makeover as well as launching some exciting new features.

The thought behind our new design was to create the best environment to showcase the magazine's famous photography. So we enlarged the canvas and dramatically simplified the graphics, aiming to reflect the elegant and arresting design of the printed magazine. We wanted the content to speak for itself.

Our changes aren't just superficial. We've modernized our website, creating a more dynamic, user-focused structure rich in both imagery and information. It's a smarter, faster site that, while closely tracking the monthly feature stories of the magazine, has found ways to animate and expand those stories with an abundance of multimedia and other tools. Just as important, we've rebuilt the website to scale up for rapid growth.

Over the coming months we'll be adding even more for you to enjoy, converting past feature stories and expanding existing photo galleries, multimedia files, and interactive tools. Like every renovation, the process can be a bit messy, so should you run into any digital debris, please pardon our construction.

Why are we kicking up all this dust? To expand your opportunities to participate. We'll be hosting your ongoing discussions and collecting your best work to share with a fast-growing audience worldwide.

We'd like to hear what you think of our handiwork, as well as any ideas you have to make our website more engaging and reflective of your most passionate interests.

So on to what's new:


Our new website design launches a companion to our magazine feature stories called GeoPedia. Each GeoPedia entry, created by the magazine's heralded research staff, provides in-depth background content on a given topic.  A wise researcher (David Wooddell), who's been instrumental in getting this effort off the ground, said to me when we were kicking this idea around, "Researchers all know that the narrative line of a magazine feature story has a way of chasing out the facts." We decided to create a home for the facts.

Each GeoPedia entry provides a bibliography and an extensive set of links on the topic for those interested in digging deeper. We've been publishing a page called Learn More on this website for years. Think of GeoPedia as a live Learn More. 

What GeoPedia is not is an open wiki. Soon, you'll be able to ask a question of our experts, share a link, or contribute information of your own. Preselected experts (you could become one) will review all contributions submitted by the wider community, and only they can hit the "publish" button. Our hope is that by vetting all material, we'll maintain National Geographic's vaunted standards of quality and accuracy.

The topics of the first GeoPedia entries, from the March 2008 issue, include animal minds, the changing role of the monarchy in Bhutan, and the distinctive geography of Iceland. Going back to the previous few months, the entries run the gamut from the Ajanta caves of India to volcano culture in Indonesia, with American chestnut trees, albatrosses, Bethlehem, cowboy culture, dinosaurs, e-waste, gorillas, the high plains, the "ice warriors" on Nanga Parbat, permafrost, and recycling some of the topics you'll find in between.

What is our goal with GeoPedia? Two goals, really. First, we hope that our members and the larger world will find this new tool helpful and that we can tap into your passion on different subjects to enrich what we've already put in place. We definitely need your help in growing this resource. For instance, the e-waste entry gives a paragraph-long description of five key poisons coming out of our computers. Where we have about 75 words on beryllium, we could easily have a page or two. And the same goes for dinosaurs and Bethlehem.

Our second goal is to maintain the high National Geographic magazine standard of accuracy as we grow. Most high schools and colleges reject Wikipedia as a resource. We aim to be the trusted source on every topic we cover.

If you're an expert, please join in. If you have a question, send it along and give us a chance to answer, or send us a link we should know about. And if you'd like to comment on the GeoPedia feature, write me in this space.

Video Hub
We're also launching a new hub page for video so that you can view the magazine's video collection in one centralized spot. We've gathered more than 150 videos from our archive for you to enjoy. And we'll be adding to our collection regularly, as our reporters and photographers expand their use of video as a reporting tool. Check it out here.

Map of the Day
This recent addition is one I'm particularly fond of. Map of the Day is a fun feature that connects historical maps with today's events and milestones. Check out the day's map here. Now you can also scroll through and explore 20 high-resolution maps from the pages of the eighth edition of the National Geographic Atlas of the World. Check out the Atlas Explorer and, while you're at it, you might want to try putting together a map puzzle, also based on the eighth edition of the atlas.

Our Shot
Each weekday our photo editors post a selection of current and recent fieldwork by National Geographic's world-renowned photographers. Think of it as a preview of what's to come.

For the techno prone, we now offer two recently launched widgets: one for each day's Daily Dozen selection and the other for the new daily Our Shot image. Both can be placed on social networking sites such as Facebook, iGoogle, or MySpace. Stay tuned for more new widgets coming out later this month.

Your Shot/Animal Minds
In conjunction with this month's cover story on smart animals, we're asking you to send us photos and stories of your smart pets. Check out the first few that have come through here. Send us yours today.

Your Shot Voting Machine
We're in month number four of online voting for your favorite images selected by Your Shot editor Susan Welchman. What's new is that you can now vote on each Daily Dozen selection (only vote once for each photo). The highest-scoring image will appear in the pages of National Geographic magazine. Vote now.

Your Shot Puzzles Hub
We've put our thousand-plus puzzles (yes we do have more than a thousand puzzles online) into a new and easy-to-navigate hub so that you can now sort by type of puzzle: landscape, animal, etc.

NGM Blogs
We've launched a wide variety of NGM blogs. Three are photo-related, while the others range from the elements of writing style (Roger's Rules of Order) to archaeology (Stones, Bones 'n Things). Sample each on the Blog Central home page.

Signing up for one of our two monthly newsletters is a great way to keep in touch with all the exciting things we have going on. Photo of the Month and Your Shot will keep you up-to-date on everything that's new and exciting on

I hope you like the changes we've made and that you'll decide to come back often.
I look forward to hearing from you.


Rob Covey
Managing Editor/Creative Director

Posted by Rob Covey | Comments (50)


Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

WOW! And WOW again! Great new design, Rob.

Keith Heiberg
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

As a former Web Developer as well as a photographer, I love the new design. And as a haiku poet, I enjoyed the story and photos of "Basho's Trail."

However, I'd like to correct some common misconceptions that found their way into the text.

"Haikai no renga" (comic linked verse) is now usually known as "renku." "Haikai" by itself often refers to haiku and its related forms: senryu, tanka, haiga, renku, and haibun.

Everyone was taught in grade school that "traditional" haiku are written in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. But in Japanese one counts moras, which tend to be shorter than syllables. And haiku were usually written in one line, leaving the reader to recognize where the pauses would naturally fall.

There's a quick summary in this article from the "Harvard Book Review":

Thanks, and keep up the good work!

Keith Heiberg

Ed Worthy
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

The website has a clean design, brilliant phototgraphs, and engaging new features. I haven't visited the site in 2-3 months and am delighted to note the improvements. I am especially intrigued by the Map of the Day (how appropriate for Nat. Geographic!). The site has also increased interactive opportunities for visitors. My hearty congratulations to Rob Covey and his creative staff. I will become a regular visitor and look forward to the continuing improvements.

Sharon Hardy
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

I like the new design a lot and love this website. I have one complaint however - the advertisements on the jigsaw puzzle pages are very distracting! I really enjoy viewing the daily your shot and then doing a few of the puzzles - I love to see how the pictures form. The blinking ads really take away from the meditative experience. Can you do away with the ads on those pages?
Everything else is awesome.

Kay Earle
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Love the design. What company did it for you?

Judy Mills
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Nice clean design ... pity the jigsaw puzzle generator no longer works on pages 1 or 2.

Bruce Elliott
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

I too love the design nice and clean , However some of the links were not working for me - submit your shot and the picture gallery for animal minds were two specifics. I am using Micro soft explorer as a browser if that makes a difference

Judy Mills
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Other problems on the Jigsaw Puzzle page ... there isn't enough room around the puzzle frame to place puzzle pieces so that all of a piece is visible, and the whole page is cut off at both sides (the OurShot ad is chopped in half).

Rob Covey
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Thank you all for writing and saying so many nice things about the design. Kay asked about who did the design. The credit goes to Shawn Greene, our Art Director. Shawn brought his keen eye for design to us from the Miami Herald and has coded every line of the css that drives the site. Hold your applause though. It does take a village. I'll list and credit our villagers in a full blown column in the near future.

In the meantime, Keith, I made it to your Harvard Book Review page and enjoyed it all. Thank you.

Judy, we were having problems all day Friday with the Puzzle Generator. I was on the site just now ( Saturday) and it seems to be working again. Please note that we are very close to launching a whole new navigational scheme for the puzzles. it will allow us to create categories that will hopefully make it easier to navigate the thousands of images.

Regarding the moving ads, Sharon, I understand perfectly. We are an ad supported site and advertisers prefer ads that move. That said, our ad space is sometimes filled by our own house ads. I will see if I can substitute static house ads for our current ads that move. Hopefully that will help.

I do expect we will have some other bumps in Your Shot over the next week or so as we move from one data source to another. Hang in there with us. It is going to get better.

We will have some exciting news to announce quite soon. My Shot, a whole new feature that will allow you to have your own National Geographic page to keep your very best photos, is nearing a beta launch. To get your own My Shot page you will have to register and submit a photo to Your Shot. At that point you'll be offered your own My Shot page.

Once you have a page you'll be able to upload 100 of your best images. And on your own page you'll be able make puzzles at the click of a button with any of your own images. I'll have more to say about My Shot soon.

Thanks again,

Davor Gabino
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Well, new look is good, but, the old one is better!


Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Site is great. I haven't come to this site, really ever. And I immediately thought to keep it as a reference, as an entertainment, as a site for just browsing. You got me hooked quick on this site.


Sara A. Vera Beltrán
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #


The new design looks great! I'm biased though because you used my butterfly photo as the "My Shot" button... AWW!!! I'm thrilled.

But, self-steem boost aside, I love the new design. It's clean, with more "air" around the text and it loads faster than the old one. And the photographs are stunning as always!!

Congratulations NGM!!!

Charles CB
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

The new design is beautiful. Best improvement: it's easy to know where you are, and navigation is simple and powerful.

Your team really delivered on making the site clean and helping to showcase the kind of imagery that National Geographic is famous for.

I'll look forward to visiting this newly designed site every day.

Thank you!

Joseph Flaig
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Just a small point regarding your map of Iceland in the March issue. The city of Kópavogur is actually just south of Reykjavík, across the cove Fossvogur, rather than east as indicated on the map on page 70.

Thanks for a very interesting article. It provides good insight into the issues my Icelandic friends are facing.

Sam Barbican
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Great site!

Are there now two sites? What is the difference between this site and the bigger one at Would be great if it was all in one place!

Love the photos.


Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

It's absolutely gorgeous.

But I have been searching the new National Geographic magazine site for an hour now, after email to some editors. I am close to tears now. Why on earth do you make it so hard for me to contact you? I like the photo intensive front page and the light layout. I find great photos and I got completely hooked on the videos, these are great features, but a web page must have id card functionality first as an absolute minimum. Have I missed it or do you have a non contact policy?

Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

I see Geopedia and Animal Minds being a big part of my online viewing. Now, I just have to get a photo of my cat Rudy, opening the kitchen drawers to climb up onto the counter. He was 'handicapped' in his ability to jump by Legg Perthes disease but found a way to get back to the one place he's not allowed, to show me he could. He was so proud of himself and made sure I knew it.
Also, there's Gato who mourned the loss of his companion for two years in very obvious and human ways.
No one can tell me that humans are the only species that have feelings of pride, ambition, loss or happiness. I've seen too much proof to the contrary.

Rob Covey
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Joakim, we added back our Contact Us link at the bottom of every page. Thank you for reminding us. Sorry to have stressed you out!

Scott Sorenson
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

In the January issue, page 117, first colum, second to the last sentance, about the Polish clumbing Nanga Parbat, it states that Annapurna is 29,502 ft. This is wrong it is 26,545 ft. Everest is 29,035 ft.

Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Subscription No. 425001005

"Fantastic Voyage" reminded me of Kon-Tiki Expedition by Thor Heyerdnal in 1947
by balsa raft. His theory that polynesians came from a mounntainais land to East is proved by the fact
that ocoean currents and prevailing trade winds would have neabled the
East-to-West travel easier than the reverse route mentioned in the article.

Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

As a geography teacher, I reference the archives page regularly and was very disappointed to find how much more difficult it is to use. Looking for past issues and articles was very easy in the old format, now only 2005-2008 issues are available. Also, the site will only allow you to access the January articles for each year. In addition, the search function by "browse archives" does not come up with results for title of articles. Please consider putting past years from the archives back up on the website for those of us who reference past National Geographic articles. Thank You!

Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Congratulations on winning the Magazine Publishers of America first prize for "Best Web-Only Tool" for the Your Shot Jigsaw Puzzles:

The new puzzle widget is fun too: I've got it on my Facebook page now, even though it doesn't have that deliciously Pavlovian CLICK of the full-size puzzles when you put the pieces together correctly.
I would like to suggest that you make the Jigsaw Puzzles easier to find on your homepage, like have a dedicated button on your toolbar that says "Puzzles" so people don't have to hunt around for them on your site. I don't think newcomers would intuitively pick the words "Your Shot" if they were looking for jigsaw puzzles.

Clarence Gilbert
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

Hello. I just received my March issue of NGM; I have an inquiry regarding a photo on page 14. Bob Miller's photo of an off beaten path of the Thomas Jefferson National Forest captured my attention. I have tried to no avail to find it on the NGM website in the section of Your Shot. After reviewing the three previous months of photos I still could not locate that particular photo. Is it still on your website? If so WHERE? I would LOVE it make it my background on my pc. It's truly inspirational.

Thanks for your help

christopher goh
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

I am trying to subscribe NGM for my daughter . But I found your subsription page and your Singapore contact not user friendly.
1) to subcribe , one needs to to have Toy R US Star Card membership no, otherwise unable to submit. What's Toy R Us all about ?.

2) +65 65136196 your Singapore no. Impossible to get through. Because one need to press the person's mailbox no. How does a potential customer know the mailbox no.

Tried very hard for several days . submit, email n call . to no avail.

Jim Treadway
Feb 14, 2008 4PM #

i am really confused by NGs web site. why isn't there just one site where I can find the things I want like pictures of hippos or snowy mountans? why is everything here all divided up by magazine and tv channels and kids magazines and videos and educatoin and other things? that makes not sense. why do you do it this way?

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