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The Macmillan World Atlas Hardcover – October 23, 1997

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 415 pages
  • Publisher: *Webster's New World; 1 edition (October 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0028622448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0028622446
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 1.8 x 14.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,446,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap


Experience the beauty and majesty of our planet as never before in Macmillan's revolutionary new atlas. Peerless in quality, design, and practicality, The Macmillan World Atlas combines precise, completely digitized maps and glorious satellite photographs to display the world with an accuracy and splendor unprecedented in atlas publishing.

The Macmillan World Atlas has been created by the distinguished Bertelsman Cartographic Institute/GeoData to meet the changing needs of a changing world. For the past several years, the institute has been collaborating with leading cartographers and geographers throughout the world to develop a database of fully digitized cartography that is without equal in accuracy of its information, the usefulness of its content, and the contemporary elegance of its design. The result is a book at once fresh and cosmopolitan. Its mapping harnesses the most recent advances in computer cartography; its content incorporates an explosion of new knowledge about our planet; and its central informing philosophy is to show the world as the unified, interdependent community it has become.

The cartographic choices and innovations that make The Macmillan World Atlas unique bear out these qualities. Among the features of the atlas are the following:

Thanks to satellite photography, we now know more than ever before about how the planet actually appears from space. Taking advantage of this information, and paying homage to the beauty of the Earth, The Macmillan World Atlas opens with a series of spectacular aerial photographs that show the colorful array of mountains, deltas, deserts, glaciers, and rivers that will be portrayed schematically in the map sections that follow. Satellite photographs also open each map section, so that you can see the continent as it looks from space before turning to the maps of the same area.

The major advantage of creating a digitized cartographic database is that it allows continuous updating as the world changes. Shifts in boundaries, names, and features are incorporated as they occur. Thus the maps in The Macmillan World Atlas are completely up-to-date. In addition, the plotting of latitude and longitude of every coastline, river, city, and mountain is more precise and accurate here than in any previous atlas.

Some mapmakers show contour by assigning elevation a different color, resulting in maps that may portray a snow-topped mountain range in an artificial purple or orange. Others use strong shading for contour but color all the land in various shades of beige. In The Macmillan World Atlas, new, more realistic use of color lets you see the world as it appears from space. Maps are colored naturalistically, and according to ecological zones instead of altitude. Ice floes and snow-covered mountain ranges appear as white, rain forests as green, deserts as brown. Altitudes are still shown, through shading and the use of graded colors within individual ecological zones. Thus the maps appear three-dimensional but not artificial.

The Macmillan World Atlas departs from the standard practice of using a variety of scales for different continents and countries and thus perpetuating cartographic misinformation. Here, for the first time in any major atlas, the entire world is shown in a single, unified, and detailed scale of 1:4.5 million. The uniform scale allows you to see accurately the relative size of various places throughout the world. It facilitates direct comparison of geographic regions: No longer does the entire subcontinent of India appear to be the same size as the relatively tiny British Isles. It is a remarkable experience to leaf through the book and see country after country in the same scale.

At the same time, The Macmillan World Atlas includes an additional section of maps tailored for a U.S. and Canadian readership: 64 pages of maps on a scale of 1:2.25 million showing details of each state and province of the United States and southern Canada.

The Macmillan World Atlas is designed to be as useful to the business and leisure travelers as it is attractive to the map lover. It includes details of continental road networks not found in any other atlas of its kind. The maps show the varying size of roadways through color and width, include route numbers and classifications, and indicate distances between points. They also show the location of airports and important natural and cultural sites. This combination of physical, cultural, and road information is unique, and makes The Macmillan World Atlas especially useful.

The atlas has been carefully designed to be easy to navigate through as soon as you open it up. The table of contents includes photo icons quickly directing you to each section. Sample maps explain from the outset how the book functions. Each continent opens with its own contents page that includes small locator maps and photos of important cultural and natural sites. Each map spread includes a time zone; a small locator map indicating where the area is on its continent; pointers showing where to go to find the continuation of the map; and the scale, in both kilometers and miles.

Bound in durable linen and printed on heavy coated stock, The Macmillan World Atlas is produced with the highest quality materials designed to showcase the beauty of its content and to last through many years of use.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I collect atlases in a modest way and this is the most disappointing one I have ever purchased. The satellite pictures were a novelty on publication (although not now) and the context outline at the top right of each righthand page is an idea worth copying, but the style of cartography only works for large areas of vacant land. The maps of Western Europe in particular are incomprehensible even with a magnifying glass. In one map for example the name LONDON is printed on an opaque yellow background that entirely eliminates an area of land some sixty miles by fifteen - none of which is actually in London itself. It is in parts more of a low-resolution road atlas than a genuine geographical work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lachlan McLaine on January 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
What makes the this fine atlas so special is that it covers the whole world's landmass at exactly the same (generous) scale. True, it is not very useful for the most densely populated parts of the globe such as Western Europe or Japan, but coming from Australia I appreciate that there is no such thing as 'vast areas of vacant land' - all land deserves detailed mapping. To further my local example, the MWA covers Australia in ten detailed pages whereas a typical British or American atlas would see fit to cover the entire continent in two pages at best. This atlas is highly recommended to all map lovers as it both puts all parts of the world into proper perspective and covers most parts of the world in better detail than any rival.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Our planet is beautifully presented in this large and accurate, handsomely bound world atlas. The CD-ROM allows you to print custom maps and measure any feature.
Bertelsman Cartograph Institute/GeoData created The MacMillan World Atlas from a database of fully digitalized cartography. This atlas features uniform scale throughout the world with a special section in closer scale, (at 1:2.25 million scale), for the United States and southern Canada. Included are 288 pages of precise computer maps and 28 extraordinary satellite photographs, featuring spectacular satellite images of rivers, glaciers, deserts and deltas. The maps are colored realistically and altitudes are depicted through shading and the use of gradated color within individual ecological zones.
This is one of the most attractive and accurate atlases I have owned. The detail is excellent and the CD-ROM is very useful in printing all kinds of customized maps. Given the quality of this atlas, the price is right! Highly recommended.
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