Mkulu NatGeo Navigator

Audience: Everyday Folks
Operating System: Windows 32 and 64 bit
Tested Under: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
Development Language: C#
.NET Version: 4.0
License: Apache License 2.0
Latest Release: 1.0


The first edition of The Complete National Geographic on CD-ROM was released way back in 1997 for PC and Mac. The PC version was a 16 bit app that no longer runs on more modern version of windows. However, the magazine scans themselves are stored as JPEG files on the CD's and can still be viewed with any image viewer. The Navigator was written to simplify the process of browsing and viewing the contents of the CD's.


You can download this app from Navigator/

This app started as a hobby project. I was looking at my old and now useless to me copy of the NatGeo CDs when it occured to me that there might be a way to reverse engineer the old app. In the end, I abandoned that approach, but I did learn that while all the old index data wasn't going to be useable, all the actual image files that made up the scans were useable. This app grew out of that.

Now, before we go any further, it's really important that I make two things clear:
1. You must have your own copy of the first edition of the Complete National Geographic on CD-ROM. You don't have that, this app won't be of much use to you.
2. You must take the time to copy all the image folders off the CDs and in to a single folder on your hard drive. The app is not designed to work with the CD-ROM drive. Details on how to do this copying are below and in the app's help file.

There is a help file that describes how to use the app that is included in the download. The bit about putting all the image folders into a single folder on your hard drive is important though, so I'm including it here as well:

On each CD there is a folder called Images.  Inside this folder you will see a lot of child folders with four character names, like 188A or 264F.  Each one of these folders represents a single issue of the magazine.  Copy all the child folders from the Images folder on the CD to a folder on your hard drive. When you are done, there should be 1,272 folders copied over, ranging from 188A (Vol1 No1 January 1888) to 297L (Vol192 No 6 December 1997).  These 1,272 folders contain 193,517 images.


To give you an idea of what the app can do, here are some screenshots. Click on any image to enlarge it to full size.

This is the Issue Browser, showing us all the issues from 1984.

Whenever you open a new issue, the first thing you see is it's covers. Watching the covers evolve over the years is one of the many interesting aspects of the magazine.

Here's a tri-fold page. The viewer handles tri-folds automatically. Note that the Bookmark button is highlighted, indicating that this page has been bookmarked.

This shows a page rotated 90 degrees.

Here's the same rotated page, but zoomed to full size to allow us to actually read the captions.

Here's what the search results screen looks like.

You can manage, export and import bookmarks.

Download and Support Information

You will find all the downloads at Navigator/

If you want to check out the latest source from Subversion, the URL is
If you just want to browse the source code in Subversion, you can do so at this link

For support or to create a bug report, please use the tools at

File ngn.shtml last updated Friday, 26-Apr-2013 09:38:57 PDT