Link to Map of Vietnam and surrounding area from 1945-1963: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/maps/map_pop_01.html
I chose a map of the Vietnam area for my artifact because I feel that it is a necessity to familiarize oneself with the area to help gain an understanding of the conflict as a whole.
After looking at the map, I find it interesting how Vietnam is such a long and skinny country. That must have changed the tactics of war because the actual length of the land border is so short. Also the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin border almost the entire eastern coast of Vietnam. The small land borders and the easy access by sea may have contributed to a heavily naval oriented war.
I also found it interesting how the capitals Hanoi and Saigon were located in the far north and south parts of the country, respectively. This way maybe it gives them more distance between each other, and neither of them are located on the sea, isolating the cities even more.
Laos, Cambodia, and China are the neighboring countries of North and South Vietnam. China borders only the very north edge of North Vietnam while Cambodia borders the west side of South Vietnam, leaving Laos to border the west side of North Vietnam. Laos played a key role in the war as the Ho Chi Minh trail ran through it, connecting much of North Vietnam.
The geography of Southeast Asia was crucial in the war because it offered protection, transportation and diversity.