Maps of the Maya Area
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EAAMS, the Electronic Atlas of Ancient Maya Sites

You may download and use the copyrighted maps on this site (citing them properly as in the end note on this page.)

Download simple maps

The simple maps below are JPG files, sized for 8.5 x 11 " paper.   Click on map for full size version. Right-click, "save as" to save the full-size version to your computer.


Zoom in on the Maya Area

Detailed high-resolution elevation map, tiled with Zoomify (c) Zoomify, Inc., so you can see the detail in any area without downloading the entire map. Click here. We have had trouble with Firefox here, so we advise using Internet Explorer to view the map.


Download Large maps of the Maya area

Larger maps in PDF format. Note files sizes!

Very Large Maya map (83 megabytes), still in draft form, but up-to-date through December 2008. Our newest map of Maya sites, and sites near the Maya region. Most recent updates to the map include sites shown on the 1940 map of the Maya area by the Middle American Research Institute of Tulane University. (See the 1940 MARI  map on the MARI web site (here).

Earlier versions of the Atlas map.

Small Maya map         (3 megabytes)
Medium Maya map     (6 megabytes)
Large Maya map         (50 megabytes)

All maps are in PDF format.


The Fine Print

The four file names (“small, medium, large") refer to the file size, but also carry implications about the level of resolution. The large file (about 50 megabytes) has the best resolution and can be blown up further without the pixelation becoming apparent. 

On the screen of my [WRTW] laptop in Acrobat, 15% magnification reveals the whole map (a size E sheet). At 100% magnification, the screen will show from west of Merida to east of Cozumel. At 600% magnification, when pixilation becomes apparent for road lines, the screens shows the area encompassing Chichen Itza, Valladolid and Ek Balam. 

These can be viewed in Adobe Acrobat easily, and we also import them into Photoshop CS where they can be blown up and cropped to produce maps of smaller areas than the entire Maya region.  

Corrections welcome. (Seriously! Please! email Witschey

The base map is a Digital Elevation Model produced from data collected on the SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) flown on STS-99 in February 2000. It is false colored here, in such a way that the 255 colors do NOT correspond to EQUAL elevation changes.

From sea level, the colors are

0- 70 meters blue-green-yellow one meter increments
70-100 meters yellow into brown two meter increments
100-700 meters brown into purple five meter increments
700-1000 meters purple 25 meter increments
1000-1500 meters purple 50 meter increments
1500-3000 meters faint purple-white 100 meter increments
3000-5000 meters white 

Our perverse thinking was that we wished to see small terrain changes in the lowlands, and could tolerate large terrain changes in the highlands to get it. (Other views are possible). 

The base map has a slight transparency to it, and overlays a “hillshade” map produced from the same data, such that the east side of hills is in “shadow” and the west side of hills in “sunlight.” This effect can be seen by zooming in near Copan for example, where the east sides of the ridges are obviously darker than the west sides at the same elevation. 

Drainage data (now being thoroughly edited) is from several sources, chiefly the “Digital Chart of the World” (DCW) a set of Arcview coverages distributed with ArcGIS, produced by the US military. 

Road, railroad, and city/town info is from DCW and other Arcview datasets dated 2002. 

Site data is from numerous sources, details available upon request. It includes the Garza & Kurjack Atlas for Yucatan; other state atlas data for Mexico (Muller/Piña Chan); and Guatemalan sites from Guatemala military maps. The database includes ~4,400 unique sites and a small amount of sacbe data. Where available, GPS coordinates are used. {Details available on request}

Rendering of 2006 maps is by ArcGIS 8.3 into Encapsulated Postscript (producing a 1.6 gigabyte map file). Here ArcGIS renders at 600 dpi for a Size E sheet (34” x 44”). 

The Very Large Map (Dec. 2008) was rendered in ArcGIS 9.2 into a 300 dpi JPEG image (for use in Zoomify) and then converted to a PDF file for download. It is also designed to print on a Size E sheet.

The EPS file is then post-processed by Acrobat Distiller 7.0. One of three distiller settings is used (smallest file; standard; press-quality). The “large” files on the disk are 2400 dpi press quality renderings of the 600dpi EPS file.

  © Copyright 2001, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010 Walter R. T. Witschey and Clifford T. Brown, The Electronic Atlas of Ancient Maya Sites   Updated 01/31/2010