Over the years, one of my hobbies has been playing with maps. I used to map all my hikes in California with the Topo software, and now I use Garmin’s MapSource in association with their GPS. The first gift my wife got me on Kauai was the set of 11 7.5-minute series topological maps (on paper) covering the entire island. Still, I had seen posters and books with some nifty views of Kauai, which I finally found online.

This first one is a hillshade map of Kauai. The artificial shadow is drawn by computer based on the elevation data of the topographical maps. The original is 2.4 MB and available from this link:

Black and white relief map of Kauai

This second one is technically a Landsat photograph, but it has many map qualities. With computers and tools such as Google Maps, the distinction between map, data, and photo is getting blurry. The original is 4.9 MB and available from this link:

Cloudless color satellite photo of Kauai

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© 2019.


  1. Alaya says:

    I’d like to use your map of Kauai as a graphic in a small book I’m publishing. Is this possible?
    Thank You

  2. Andy says:

    Hi, these are not mine to give, they are produced and published by the state of Hawaii. You’d have to follow the links above each map and find their policy for use in publications (click JPG version under “Metadata” to find the email of the person who made them. I suspect they are free to use, but I really don’t know.

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I love maps and one nice thing about islands is that they are usually easy to fit on one map. Or rather, it is easy to find a map that covers everywhere you can “go,” which may be why I like islands. I use “go” in the broad sense because in reality, there are endless places to drive, bike, walk, climb, or bushwhack on Kaua`i.

However, putting a chain of islands on a map is always a challenge, especially when the chain is as long as the Hawaiian islands. And I’m only considering the inhabited ones. Still, I am always bothered by tourist maps such as this one:

Pretty antique looking map of Hawaii, but cartographically inaccurate

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© 2019.

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