- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Thames & Hudson; First Edition edition (October 27, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0500514259
- ISBN-13: 978-0500514252
- Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,963,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Atlas of the Real World: Mapping the Way We Live First Edition Edition
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This atlas will change the way we look at geography. By using a combination of computer-generated maps and various types of demographic information, the maps, called cartograms, alter the size of the countries of the world to represent more or less of whatever the map is showing. For example, on the “Exports of Machinery” map, western European countries and Japan are shown as very large areas because they are the main net exporters in terms of dollar value of exports per person per year. All the other countries of the world are slivers of color, or completely disappear. Some 366 different cartograms are grouped under 16 topics, among them “Natural Resources and Energy,” “Wealth and Poverty,” “Housing and Education,” and “War and Crime.” Users can easily see where in the world are the most forests loss, the most patents granted, the most books published, the highest number of road deaths, and the most birds at risk, just to name a few examples. To make the atlas easier to read, each region and country (dark blue for the U.S.) are always shown in the same color. Each map is accompanied by graphs, tables, brief explanatory text, and, in many cases, a quotation. The data for the maps is from reliable sources, mainly from 2005 and 2006. For libraries that cannot afford to purchase the atlas, the Worldmapper Web site (www.worldmapper.org) includes all 366 maps available as free downloadable PDF posters and close to 200 additional maps not included in the book. For those libraries that can afford it, the atlas is highly recommended. --Christy Donaldson
“Anyone with a yen for maps and statistics will be fascinated…enough unusual maps and mind-boggling data to appeal to a wider readership.”
- Star Tribune
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Top customer reviews
If you can distort the globe for the purpose of showing population concentrations, why not distort it to show, say, exports of toys, or imports of toys? Those maps are here, too. There are 366 colorful maps in this big, glossy, handsome, and thought-provoking book. Some of the distortions are mild, some are so extreme as to look more like Jupiter than Earth. The authors have designed the book beautifully to promote an understanding of its graphics. There is one map on every page, each map made to the same scale as all the others. Every country has the same color on each map, and to make it easier to find them, and to see geographical patterns, the countries are grouped into twelve regions, each with its own color (the nations within are shades of that color). Every map has a commentary and a table to indicate in numbers some of the data that are displayed graphically. Maps that are related are grouped together in chapters, and some maps come in pairs on opposite pages. The toy export map, for instance, faces the toy import map. The export map shows an enormous China and Taiwan, and a surprisingly large Hungary, Italy, and Mexico. The US is shrunk to nothing. It is, however, swollen on the import map, as is England and other parts of Europe. Africa, which shows up exaggeratedly large or exaggeratedly small in many of these pages, is a pinpoint for export and a small blob (mostly South Africa) for import. Looking at toys this way is not frivolous; the comments remind us that since toys are not necessities, the import map is a fair display of disposable income. Other maps show female domestic labor, deaths from rabies, demonstrations against the war in Iraq, newspaper circulation, use of radios, housing prices, HIV rates, refugee origins and destinations, nuclear weapons, fuel consumption, train use, child obesity, and plenty more. There are worrisome maps about what is happening to forests or birds or amphibians. There is some hopefulness in the way the world has improved access to electricity or to the internet.
There is a profound lesson in the data displayed this way. "In a sense," the authors say, "these maps are doing just what maps have always done: showing us where we are now, allowing us to navigate our way through the world." The maps may have funhouse-mirror images of countries, but they show real links and interrelatedness. Some of the themes in the maps may be disturbing, but the volume itself reflects our increased ability, largely through computers and the internet, to gain and use statistics from all over the Earth about all sorts of subjects. It is thus a beautiful and awe-inspiring document of new ways of understanding, and it is one of the most visually fascinating books ever.
The US thinks of itself as highly educated, but map 247, "Growth in Secondary Education Spending" shows the US as almost nonexistent in proportion to other countries. The highest is western Europe, India, China, Japan and Brazil. For wealth China is about to come full circle by 2015 and exceed the US in wealth. At a glance you see the net importers and exporters of goods and services. The Middle East stands out for fuel exports while the US is the largest fuel importer. These are all cartograms, there is no need to look at a data table. Through color and distortion, you know, immediately, who is larger, smaller, richer, poorer, and more.
There is a significant quote on each page for each topic. 'At City Toys Ltd, . . . . Shenzhen, youngsters worked 16-hour days, seven days a week.' The cartogram shows China far and away the largest exporter of toys. Deaths from Cholera overwhelm Africa and India while the rest of the world shrinks away.
[...] is a site that compliments the text and makes the information all the more accessible and useful. It gives you a full, cross-referenced index and makes the information in all the maps easily accessible. The 400 page text (28 * 24 cm) is too big to carry around, the web site makes the information accessible almost anywhere.
l use the text and the web site in the Human Geography, Geomorphology and Meteorology courses I teach. Students love the colors, shapes and easy access to data. This sets a high standard for other map - data combinations.