When National Geographic published its first "Atlas of the World" more than 35 years ago, the world was indeed a different place. In order to cover today's world--including its oceans, stars, climate, natural resources, and more--National Geographic has published its seventh edition of the Atlas of the World. With each new edition, National Geographic strives to make its atlas more than just maps. You'll learn that the coldest place in the world is the Plateau Station in Antarctica, where the average daily temperature is minus 56.7 degrees Celsius; the most populated continent is Asia, with more than 3.6 billion people, or 60.8 percent of the world's population; the driest place on earth is the Atacama Desert in Chile; a flight from New Delhi to Rio de Janeiro covers 14,080 kilometers; life expectancy in the Republic of Zambia is 37 years; and the literacy rate in Turkmenistan is 98 percent.
For the new millennium, the National Geographic Society has completely revised its full-size (47-cm.) world atlas, last published in 1992. It reflects all of the most recent geopolitical changes, including the reversion of Zaire to the Democratic Republic of Congo with renamed provinces, the return of both Hong Kong and Macao to China, new provincial boundaries in post-apartheid South Africa, the establishment of the Canadian territory of Nunavut (incorporating Inuit communities in Eastern Arctic Canada), and the demarcation line between the Bosniak-Croat Federation and the Serbian Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The map text refers to the political evolution in East Timor, but it would have been helpful to have actually shown the boundaries of that troubled territory. More than 75 large-format color maps grouped by continent portray the world with detailed, digitally painted terrain modeling. Each continent is introduced by satellite, political, and physical maps and a section with country summaries (with official flags and demographic and economic data for all independent nations arranged alphabetically).
Political maps for regions and specific countries follow, and there are also detail maps of 243 major cities. In addition, new thematic maps treating environmental issues, natural resources, and human culture have been added. The index includes more than 140,000 entries for cities and natural features. The atlas will be continually updated via the National Geographic Society's new web resource (nationalgeographic.com/mapmachine), where patches will be available for downloading, printing, and pasting. This outstanding publication is highly recommended for all reference collections.
Edward K. Werner
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