About the County Map Project
James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.

Updated July 19, 2006

Just as birders have life lists of the birds they have seen, I keep a life list of the places I have been within the United States. This began around 1990 with a paper map of the United States, on which I shade in all of the counties I have ever visited. The entire family does the same. Even our beloved beagle, Pablo (1989 - 1998) kept a county map based on his extensive travels in the U.S.

These maps are both keys to good memories and an incentive to create new memories - by taking the time to get off the beaten path.

The map on the County Map Project page (with the yellow and blue) presents all of the U.S. counties I have visited to date. (Regrettably, I have not yet been to Alaska or Hawaii.) Maps of each state -- with many stories, links, and photos -- are available from the list above, or by going to the clickable map .

The map was prepared with ArcInfo 3.2 from ESRI, which I have also used to update several of the county maps. Eventually I hope to use ARC IMS to provide a more dynamic version of this part of my web site.

I decided to put my county map on my geography web site, in order to encourage other geographers and travelers to do the same. I have done so one state at a time so the maps would be clearer and so that I can provide additional information about each state.

I once thought this was the only county-counting site on the web. I then learned that  Christopher Swindle and Paul Apollo have each created an online county map, using their own approaches. More recently, I learned about an entire association of county-counters, known as the Extra Milers Club. It even has a newsletter. I learned of the organization from Dave Schul, a fellow geography professor whose county commitment is even greater than my own!

If you would like to create your own county maps, or perhaps join a county-map web ring, please let me know, and I will help you get started! You can get files containing the blank county maps on my new Building Your Own County Maps page. To purchase paper reproductions of historic U.S. county maps, see Maps of the Past.

Learn more about U.S. counties from the National Association of Counties, especially the "about" page. From this page I learned that I have been to the smallest, most populous, and least populous counties, but not to the largest county.

The same color scheme applies at both the national and state scales on this site. Those states and counties I have visited - however briefly - are shown in yellow. Places I have not yet visited are shown in white, and blue signifies both states and counties in which I have resided. You will find four states that I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting at all and six in which I have visited all of the counties.

For many of the places I have lived, I include a link to an areal photograph of that place, along with instructions for finding my former home. This is made possible by a joint venture of Microsoft and the U.S. Geological Survey. When you get to one of these photos, you can use the menus on the left-hand part of your screen to zoom out and/or to toggle to topographic maps of the area, in order to gain an understanding of the landscapes in which I have lived.

ZIPPY!For another site that catalogs the glories of the American Road (including Canada), see the World's Largest Roadside Attractions. I've had the privilege of visiting some of these. Roadside America is a comprehensive site devoted to offbeat tourist attractions throughout the United States. The comic strip Zippy the Pinhead features roadside attractions so often that it is now possible to search the Zippy archives geographically!

Oddly enough, although I was born on the U.S. mainland, I was not born in any county or state. Where was I born? Hint: It is also known as "that town of Northern Charm and Southern Efficiency."

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