Randy McNally: The Man Behind the Maps

Randy McNally: The Man Behind the Maps

You have come to the right place if you are looking for a dependable and simple way to create and share maps. For more than 150 years, Rand McNally has been the top supplier of maps, atlases, and travel manuals. In this article, we will show you how to use Rand McNally maps to plan and enjoy your trips. The best routes, attractions, and services can all be found using Rand McNally Maps, whether you are traveling by car, bicycle, plane, or foot. In addition, we will discuss some fascinating tidbits and anecdotes about Randy McNally, the company’s founder. You will learn how he came to be one of history’s most important cartographers and how his maps altered the course of human history. So let’s get started without further ado.

Early Life and Career

In Kentucky, where he was born in 1856, Randy McNally discovered his love of geography and art. He relocated to Chicago in 1876, where he worked for some map publishers as a printer and engraver. Together with his business partner Andrew McNally, he established Rand McNally & Co. in 1879.

Innovation and Expansion

Thanks to its creative application of technology and design, Rand McNally & Co. quickly rose to the top of the map business. The company released the first road map of the nation in 1904, the first auto trail map in 1917, and the first railroad map of the United States in 1879. Additionally, it was a pioneer in the use of color printing, lithography, and aerial photography in the creation of maps. Over time, Rand McNally & Co. increased the range of goods and services it offered by publishing atlases, globes, books, travel guides, and digital maps. Additionally, the business expanded into new industries like publishing, education, transportation, and tourism.

Legacy and Impact

Randy McNally died in 1910, but his company continued to grow and thrive under his successors. Today, Rand McNally & Co. is one of the largest and most respected map publishers in the world, with millions of customers and fans. The company’s maps have helped generations of travelers, explorers, students, and professionals navigate the world. Randy McNally’s legacy is not only in his maps but also in his vision and values. He was a civic leader, an innovator, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. In his opinion, maps can connect, enlighten, educate, and inspire people. Along with supporting topics that he cared about, he also thought about giving back to his community.

Randy McNally is more than just a name on a map. He is a man who made a difference in the world.

Interesting Facts About Randy McNally

  • Randy McNally was not his real name. William Rand was his birth name, but he changed it to avoid being confused with another mapmaker of the same name.
  • Cartographer Randy McNally was self-taught. By examining existing maps and experimenting with various methods and tools, he learned how to create maps.
  • To numerous organizations and charities, Randy McNally gave generously. Among others, he supported the University of Chicago, the Chicago Public Library, the YMCA, and the Salvation Army.
  • A well-known figure in the Chicago community is Randy McNally. He presided over the Chicago Historical Society, the Chicago Association of Commerce, and the Chicago Board of Trade. Additionally, he contributed to the planning of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
  • The family was important to Randy McNally. In 1880, he wed Harriet McNally, with whom he had four children. His wife and business partner, both named McNally, inspired the name of his company.

How to Use Rand McNally Maps

No matter if you are traveling by car, bicycle, foot, or air, Rand McNally maps are made to make your trip planning and enjoyment easier. Here are some tips on how to use them effectively:

  • Select the appropriate map for your needs. Numerous maps, including road maps, city maps, state maps, national park maps, and world maps, are available from Rand McNally. Additionally, you can design unique maps and routes using their online tools and apps.
  • Read the symbols and legends on the map. For example, roads, landmarks, attractions, services, and distances are all indicated on Rand McNally’s maps using various colors, shapes, and icons. Make sure you understand what they mean and how to use them.
  • Utilize the orientation and scale. Rand McNally atlases compare the areas they cover to one another in terms of size and direction. The scale bar can be used to calculate distances, and the compass rose can be used to determine directions.  Furthermore, you can find yourself and your destination using landmarks and coordinates.
  • Follow the advice and instructions. In addition to scenic routes, points of interest, ideal travel times, and safety advice, Rand McNally Maps frequently offers useful tips and suggestions for your travels. For further travel guidance and inspiration, visit their website and social media pages.


We trust this article was interesting to you and that you learned something new about Rand McNally and its maps. As you can see, Rand McNally’s maps are useful for a variety of purposes. Additionally, they serve as resources for knowledge, instruction, inspiration, and connections. They can support your journey of discovery as you travel the globe. Additionally, they can assist you in appreciating Randy McNally’s legacy and influence, who created the maps. He was a pioneer, businessman, philanthropist, and community figure. His values and vision had a positive impact on the world. Therefore, we urge you to use Rand McNally maps on your upcoming journey to personally experience how they can improve your travel. Thank you for reading, and safe travels!

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