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Subject: Atlas, Map projection, History of cartography, Linguistic map, R-hadron
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Imperii Orientalis et Circumjacentium Regionum by Guillaume Delisle (1742)

An atlas is a collection of multimedia formats. In addition to presenting geographic features and political boundaries, many atlases often feature geopolitical, social, religious and economic statistics. They also have information about the map and places in it.


A travel atlas is made for easy use during travel, and often has spiral bindings so it may be folded flat. It has maps at a large zoom so the maps can be reviewed easily. A travel atlas may also be referred to as a road map.[1]

A desk atlas is made similar to a reference book. It may be in hardback or paperback form.

Modern atlas

With the coming of the global market, publishers in different countries can reprint maps from places made elsewhere. This means that the place names on the maps often use the designations or abbreviations of the language of the country in which the feature is located, to serve the widest market. For example, islands near Russia have the abbreviation "O." for "ostrov", not "I." for "island". This practice differs from what is standard for any given language, and it reaches its extremity concerning transliterations from other languages. In particular, German mapmakers use the transliterations from Cyrillic developed by the Czechs, which are hardly used in English-speaking countries.

World Atlas published by Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography, Croatia

Selected general atlases

Some cartographically or commercially important atlases include the following:

17th century and earlier
18th century
19th century
20th century
21st century

See also


  1. ^ "Road map". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 

External links

  • On the origin of the term "Atlas"
Online atlases
  • World Atlas
  • ÖROK-Atlas Online: Atlas on spatial development in Austria
  • Geography Network
  • MapChart EarthAtlas, free online atlas with interactive maps about topics like demography, economy, health and environment.
  • National Geographic MapMachine
History of atlases
  • Atlases, at the US Library of Congress site - a discussion of many significant atlases, with some illustrations. Part of Geography and Maps, an Illustrated Guide.
Historical atlases online
  • Centennia Historical Atlas required reading at the US Naval Academy for over a decade.
  • Historical map web sites list, Perry-Castañeda Library, University of Texas
  • Ryhiner Collection Composite atlas with maps, plans and views from the 16th-18th centuries, covering the globe, with about 16,000 images in total.
  • Manuscript Atlases held by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries - fully digitized with descriptions.
Other links
  • Google Earth: a visual 3D interactive atlas.
  • NASA's World Wind software.
  • Wikimapia a wikiproject designed to describe the entire world.
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