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Atlas

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For the Titan condemned to hold the heavens on his shoulders, see Atlas
(mythology). For other uses, see Atlas (disambiguation).

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Imperii Orientalis et Circumjacentium Regionum by Guillaume Delisle (1742)


An atlas is a collection of maps; it is typically a bundle of maps of Earth or a
region of Earth.

Atlases have traditionally been bound into book form, but today many atlases are in
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.

Contents
1 Etymology of atlases
2 History of atlases
3 Types of atlases
4 Selected atlases
5 See also
6 References
7 External links
Etymology of atlases

Frontispiece of the 1595 atlas of Mercator


The use of the word atlas in a geographical context dates from 1595 when the
German-Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published Atlas Sive Cosmographicae
Meditationes de Fabrica Mundi et Fabricati Figura. (Atlas or cosmographical
meditations upon the creation of the universe, and the universe as created.) This
title provides Mercator's definition of the word as a description of the creation
and form of the whole universe, not simply as a collection of maps. The volume that
was published posthumously one year after his death is a wide-ranging text but, as
the editions evolved, it became simply a collection of maps and it is in that sense
that the word was used from the middle of the seventeenth century. The neologism
coined by Mercator was a mark of his respect for the Titan, Atlas, the "King of
Mauretania", whom he considered to be the first great geographer.[1]

History of atlases
The first work that contained systematically arranged woodcut maps of uniform size,
published in a book, thus representing the first modern atlas is conventionally
awarded to the Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius who in 1570 published the
collection of maps Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.

Types of atlases
A travel atlas is made for easy use during travel, and often has spiral bindings so
it may be folded flat (for example Geographers' A-Z Map Company famous A�Z
atlases). 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.[2]

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


paperback form.
There are atlases of the other planets (and their satellites) in the Solar System.
[3]

Atlases of anatomy exist, mapping out organs of the human body or other organisms.
[4]

Selected atlases
Main article: List of atlases
Some cartographically or commercially important atlases include the following:

17th century and earlier


Atlas Sive Cosmographicae (Mercator, Duisburg, in present-day Germany, 1595)
Atlas Novus (Blaeu, Netherlands, 1635�1658)
Atlas Maior (Blaeu, Netherlands, 1662�1667)
Cartes g�n�rales de toutes les parties du monde (France, 1658�1676)
Dell'Arcano del Mare (England/Italy, 1645�1661)
Piri Reis map (Ottoman Empire, 1570�1612)
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Ortelius, Netherlands, 1570�1612)
Klencke Atlas (1660; one of the world's largest books)
The Brittania (John Ogilby, 1670�1676)
18th century
Atlas Nouveau (Amsterdam, 1742)
Britannia Depicta (London, 1720)
Cary's New and Correct English Atlas (London, 1787)
19th century
Andrees Allgemeiner Handatlas (Germany, 1881�1939; in the UK as Times Atlas of the
World, 1895)
Rand McNally Atlas (United States, 1881�present)
Stielers Handatlas (Germany, 1817�1944)
Times Atlas of the World (United Kingdom, 1895�present)
20th century
Atlante Internazionale del Touring Club Italiano (Italy, 1927�1978)
Atlas Mira (Soviet Union/Russia, 1937�present)
Geographers' A�Z Street Atlas (United Kingdom, 1938�present)
Gran Atlas Aguilar (Spain, 1969/1970)
The Historical Atlas of China (China)
National Geographic Atlas of the World (United States, 1963�present)
Pergamon World Atlas (1962/1968)
21st century
North American Environmental Atlas
See also
icon Atlas portal
Atlas of Our Changing Environment
Bird atlas
Cartography
Cartopedia
European Atlas of the Seas
Fictitious entry
Geography
Google Maps
Manifold
NASA World Wind
National Atlas of the United States
Star atlas
TerraServer-USA
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
References
Mercator's own account of the reasons for choosing King Atlas are given in the
preface of the 1595 atlas. A translation by David Sullivan is available in a
digital version of the atlas published by Octavo. The text is freely available at
the New York Society Library Archived March 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., pdf
page 104 (corresponding to p34 of Sullivan's text).
"Road map". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
Greeley, Ronald; Batson, Raymond. The NASA Atlas of the Solar System. ISBN 978-
0521561273.
Schwartz, John (2008-04-22). "The Body in Depth". The New York Times. Retrieved
2015-05-07.
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Atlas.
Sources
On the origin of the term "Atlas"
Online atlases
World Atlas
�ROK-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�Casta�eda 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.
Historical Atlas in Persuasive Cartography, The PJ Mode Collection, Cornell
University Library
Other links
Google Earth: a visual 3D interactive atlas.
NASA's World Wind software.
Wikimapia a wikiproject designed to describe the entire world.