The World by National Geographic



Virtual globe chock full of facts, flags, and photos.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Pinching and zooming around the globe is easy -- and quite captivating. And the app's simple navigation at the bottom of the screen makes it easy to explore. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

The app is meant to promote education and the National Geographic Society, which sells magazines and other merchandise. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Minor privacy concerns. Users can share information from the app via Facebook or Twitter, but this is optional.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The World by National Geographic is an educational app that teaches users about major countries of the world. The focus is chiefly on the app's interactive map, which is chock-full of information and still a lot of fun to pinch, zoom, and spin. Kids will also be able to see pictures from those countries as well as broad descriptions. An Internet connection isn't necessary for all of the app's features, but is suggested if you plan on zooming in and out around the globe.

What kids can learn


Social Studies

  • geography

Engagement, Approach, Support


Makes maps fun again. Loaded with bright pictures, interesting facts, and an interactive map that is a lot of fun to play with. May disappoint regular user of Google Earth, since you can't zoom in as effectively.

Learning Approach

By simply exploring the globe, kids can dig deeper into countries that catch their eye, gathering information through pictures, critical facts and concise but fact-filled descriptions.


The app's simple navigation at the bottom of the screen makes it easy to explore. Users can share information via Facebook or Twitter.

What kids can learn


Social Studies

  • geography

Kids can learn all about the world they live in, not only discovering where countries are located, but also by getting a few pictures, critical facts (like life expectancy and languages spoken) and concise but fact-filled descriptions of the country. The World by National Geographic expands on the experience kids get with a real-life globe but could make better use of the interactive platform.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chris Morris

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What's it about?

Kids explore the world by spinning a virtual globe and pinching and zooming in on areas of interest. Views can range from typical map layouts to looks at ocean formations to 3-D terrain layouts. Those wanting more information on a country can touch a button to see the flags of the world and details (and pictures) of each country by tapping its flag.

Is it any good?


Maps have lost some of their sexiness these days, but The World by National Geographic manages to make them fun again. The app is a geographical educational tool, but it's loaded with bright pictures (a trademark of the National Geographic Society's magazine), interesting facts, and an interactive map that is a lot of fun to play with.

The app falls a bit short, though, for anyone who is a regular user of Google Earth. Instead of being able to zoom into territories as you can with that app, The World stops short, transitioning to a paper map appearance. It's a minor frustration, but given how deep you can go with other apps, it's a bit disappointing not to have that option here. The reliance on an Internet connection is an annoyance, as well, but all-in-all, this is a solid app. 

Families can talk about...

  • Be on the lookout for cultural festivals you and your child can attend to learn about customs, food, music, and life in other countries.

  • Provide a real-life globe or atlas kids can access anytime.

App details

Release date:August 29, 2011
Size:187.00 MB
Publisher:National Geographic Society
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.2 or later

This review of The World by National Geographic was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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