Chris Wayne’s article for Directions Magazine, “Stories and Lies: What an Atlas Reveals,” does something interesting that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before (which at this point is saying something): it talks about atlases as a class, exploring what they do and how they’re arranged. For example: “Page pairs are arguably the most effective format for blending narrative and cartography. With two facing pages, a self-contained story is told; then each page pair becomes a building block in the epic of the atlas itself.” In other words, it looks at atlases as objects in themselves. [WMS]
World atlases are still a thing, and the first of this month saw the publication of two new editions of venerable world atlases.
First, the National Geographic Atlas of the World, a new edition of which comes out every four years. This year’s is the 11th.
I have to confess that I’m fond of the National Geographic: compared to other atlases it does its own thing with political maps that eschew coloured relief and explain every little boundary dispute and controversy in little red letters. It’s also enormous, larger in dimension than the Times Comprehensive (though not as heavy) and with a list price of $215/£170 is slightly more expensive. National Geographic’s page doesn’t go into detail as to what changes were made for the 11th edition, which is a pity. (Does it have Eswatini and North Macedonia, for example?)
The Oxford Atlas of the World is a lot smaller and more affordable. At $90, it slots between the Times Universal and Concise atlases in terms of list price, though its page count is that of the more expensive Concise. It’s also updated every year; this year’s edition is the 26th. And the publisher’s page does list some of the updates. (Eswatini and North Macedonia? Yes!)
As for the Times line of atlases, the most recent to be updated was the third-tier Times Universal Atlas ($50/£80), the 4th edition of which came out in August. Prior to that, the 5th edition of the affordable Times Desktop Atlas ($35/£20) was released in February. The 15th edition of the top-of-range Times Comprehensive Atlas ($200/£150) came out in the fall of 2018: I reviewed it here.
Today* is the publication date for We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa (Massey University Press), a visual atlas of New Zealand by geographer Chris McDowall and designer Tim Denee. An excerpt of the book can be viewed online here. The authors have open sourced the code and data that went into making the book: it’s all available here.
* Well, yesterday: it’s already tomorrow in New Zealand.
Estonia’s first national atlas is coming next month, ERR News reports. Among its 500-odd maps “will also be less serious themed maps, such as the spread of kama and blood sausage in Estonia, a map of 1938 with the birthplaces of the Estonian elite, and a map of the location of public saunas in 1967.” The atlas will be published in Estonian and English.
The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada is finally on the verge of publication. First announced in June 2017, and unveiled in its final form in June 2018 (Canadian Geographic, CBC News, Ottawa Citizen, press release), the atlas is a massive project several years in the making and involving input from indigenous communities across Canada. The result of a collaboration between the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis Nation, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and Indspire, the atlas project includes a four-volume physical atlas, an online version, and additional teaching resources, including new giant floor maps from Canadian Geographic.1
The physical atlas’s four volumes include one for First Nations, one for the Inuit, one for the Métis, and one focusing on Truth and Reconciliation. It has a list price of C$99.99 (online sellers will have it for less) and comes out in one week, on September 25th: Amazon. A French-language version comes out next month, on October 23rd: Amazon.
The online version of the atlas has the text but very little in the way of maps: I can only assume that this is not the case for the book versions. The companion app, for iOS and Android, does little more than link to the web version and includes a location finder for land acknowledgment.
The news buzz about this atlas in this country is considerable: see recent coverage from the Canadian Press, CBC News and the Globe and Mail. This looks to be a cultural watershed event the likes of which I have not seen since the publication of The Canadian Encyclopedia in 1985. I expect a lot of copies to be sold.
The Reference is right in the middle of the Times atlas range: it’s inexpensive (£30 list, compared to £150 for the Comprehensive, £90 for the Concise and £50 for the Universal) and presumably a bit less unwieldy. The Mini, on the other hand, is positively dainty: at 15.1 × 10.6 cm, it’s smaller than a mass-market paperback! (Obviously the covers above are not to scale; see the somewhat-out-of-date comparison chart for the various atlas sizes.)
The 13th edition of the The Times Concise Atlas of the World came out last week. The HarperCollins listing sets out the updates and changes from the previous edition (including changing “Czech Republic” to “Czechia,” argh). The Concise is the second-largest of the Times world atlases and slots between the Comprehensive and the Universal in terms of physical size, page count, number of maps and place names. Here’s a handy chart showing the differences between the various Times atlases. [Collins Maps]
Related: Map Books of 2016.
Ever since Garmin announced it was purchasing DeLorme last February, there has been considerable anxiety in Maine over the possibility that the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer would be discontinued. Everyone in Maine can now relax: Garmin has announced that it’s keeping DeLorme’s entire Atlas and Gazetteer line of paper atlases.
“As a part of the acquisition earlier this year and subsequent integration efforts, Garmin recently completed its analysis of DeLorme’s Atlas & Gazetteer business. We have concluded that these venerated, highly respected products will not only remain as a part of Garmin’s offering, but will continue to be enhanced in the coming months and years,” said Ted Gartner, director of corporate communications for Garmin.
“Because the DeLorme name is so well-known and closely associated with the unique feature set and style of the Atlas & Gazetteers, which combines digital cartography with human editing, the product line will continue under the same iconic brand and familiar appearance. Furthermore, we will be revising and updating the atlas series in the coming years, by investing in additional resources and cartography staff based in the Yarmouth facility, formerly the DeLorme headquarters,” Gartner added.
Previously: It’s ‘Too Early’ to Announce the Fate of the Maine Atlas; Mainers Speak Out on the DeLorme Atlas; ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Gazetteer’; Maine Reacts to DeLorme’s Acquisition by Garmin; Garmin Is Buying DeLorme.
It’s been three months since Garmin announced its purchase of DeLorme, and there’s still no word on the future of DeLorme’s Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, at least if this item in the May 2016 issue of Down East is any indication.
As of press time, Garmin hasn’t committed either to keeping or killing the Gazetteer, but the PR mumbo jumbo doesn’t sound good: “We’re currently evaluating the DeLorme product roadmap, but it’s too early to make any official announcements on our plan going forward,” one press rep told us. “We are still continuing to sell [Gazetteers] and we don’t expect that to change, um, right away,” said another.
The article also notes that, unlike the atlas, Google Maps and GPS don’t indicate road quality—which in rural Maine is very much a thing. [MAPS-L]
Coming next month from Policy Press, the third edition of People and Places: A 21st-Century Atlas of the U.K. by Danny Dorling and Bethan Thomas. The Independent has a long profile of the book, which makes extensive use of cartograms to illustrate data about the British population, and one of its co-authors, Oxford geography professor Danny Dorling. Pre-order at Amazon (direct Amazon U.K. link—it’s more likely to be in stock there). [via]
When I reviewed the Ninth Edition of the National Geographic Atlas of the World in 2010, I compared it virtually plate-by-plate with the Eighth Edition. With the Atlas’s Tenth Edition, which came out in the fall of 2014, Christine Newton Bush does something similar in her review for Cartographic Perspectives: emphasize what’s new and changed. When you have a reference product that updates every few years, people may well wonder each time a new edition comes out whether now is the time to replace their older copy, so this approach makes a lot of sense. And not just because I’ve done it myself. Buy at Amazon.
DeLorme isn’t the only one with a Maine atlas. About a year ago the University of Maine Press published the Historical Atlas of Maine, edited by Richard Judd and Stephen Hornsby. “The atlas, the result of a 15-year scholarly project led by University of Maine researchers, offers a new geographical and historical interpretation of Maine, from the end of the last ice age to the year 2000,” says the university. “The 208-page atlas features 76 two-page plates with a rich array of 367 original maps, 112 original charts and 248 other images—historical maps, paintings and photos—in addition to its text. The result is a unique interpretation of Maine, a rich visual record of the state’s history, and a major achievement in humanities research.” Last month it won the 2016 AAG Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography. Buy at Amazon or via the publisher. [via]
The result of a decade’s worth of research, The Old North State at War: The North Carolina Civil War Atlas, written by Mark Anderson Moore with Jessica Bandel and Michael Hill, is now available. The book “is a comprehensive study of the impact of the war on the Tar Heel State, incorporating 99 newly prepared maps. The large format (17″ by 11″) volume highlights every significant military engagement and analyzes the war’s social, economic and political consequences through tables, charts and text.” Produced by the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, it can be ordered through their online store, at the North Carolina Museum of History or selected state historic sites. Read historian John David Smith’s review in The News & Observer. [via]
Some Mainers consider DeLorme’s Atlas and Gazetteer their own backwoods bibles. The collection of maps works perfectly for planning expeditions afield, and can prompt plenty of discussion around a wood stove after a long day of hunting or fishing.
When the BDN asked for readers to share their thoughts on the iconic map book, dozens responded, telling us how much the maps have mattered to them.
DeLorme publishes other state atlases and gazetteers, but the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer is the one that started it all, the one Mainers rely on heavily, the one they’re worried might disappear now that DeLorme’s been bought by Garmin. Hence screeds like Troy Bennett’s (I should warn you, there are song lyrics):
Is there any other publication so complete, showing roads, trails, campgrounds, public reserve land, rivers, coves, islands and city streets? Am I the only one who didn’t know what an esker was before they picked up a Gazetteer? I doubt it.
If the new owners kill the map that helps define the state, what will happen to us? How will we know the Crocker Cirque even exists, let alone how to find it. (Map 29, D3, by the way.)
So, I’m looking at you, Garmin, out there in Kansas: Keep your hands off my Gazetteer.
Of course, nothing’s happened yet, and nothing may necessarily happen, but Maine losing the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer would be like London losing the A to Z or Winnipeg the Sherlock atlas: paper maps that are local, idiosyncratic, and essential. [via]
Previously: Maine Reacts to DeLorme’s Acquisition by Garmin.