Interesting Facts About The Atlas

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An atlas is a collection of maps in the form of a book. There are different kinds of atlases available in the market today.

A collection of maps bound into book form is called an ATLAS. There are also atlases in various multimedia formats today. It has geographic features and political boundaries. An atlas usually features:
– Geopolitics
– social aspects
– religious traditions and
– economic statistics

Claudius Ptolemy, a geographer, constructed from his calculation the first book of atlas. He worked in Alexandria in 150 A.D. In 1477, his first edition was published in Bologna. It was illustrated with a set of 27 maps. This means it was not known then whether these maps were original engraved versions or otherwise.


In 1544, trading centers in Rome and Venice produced many maps. The publishers worked separately and produced maps based on their needs. These maps vary in sizes and later on, they bound them together into composite works. These works were called IATO or Italian, Assembled to Order. It was more often called Lafreri Atlases.

Abraham Ortelius was recognized in issuing the first modern atlas in May 20, 1570. The Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of Ortelius has about 53 map-sheets. It actually covers the whole world. This work reduced the available maps into a uniform size.

Gerardo Mercator introduced the earliest atlases in 1595.

The word ATLAS is a common basis of mistaken belief. This is because two mythical figures are connected with the making of maps.

– King Atlas – the mythical king of Mauretania.
A great philosopher, mathematician and astronomer based on legend who allegedly made the first celestial globe. It was possibly Mercator’s atlas that the legend was referring to. This was when “Atlas” was first coined. This was also where even a description of the King on the title page was included.

– Atlas (from Greek Mythology) – He is the son of Titan Iapetus and Clymene (or Asia). He is also the brother of Prometheus.
Atlas was punished by Zeus so as to bear the weight of the heavens on his back. In Homer’s Odyssey, he refers to Atlas as the one who knows the depths of the whole sea. He kept the tall pillars that hold the Heavens and the Earth.

In arts, Atlas is represented as the one carrying the heavens or the Celestial Sphere on his shoulders. The earliest representation is the Farnese Atlas. You will see this at Museo Archeologico Nazionale Napoli in Naples, Italy. This figure is more often found on the cover or title-page of atlases.

In modern times, publishers in different countries can reprint maps from different places. Maps displaying roads and transport links are known as Road Atlases. These show transport links and not geographical information.
Road Atlases come in many shapes, sizes and scales. It has motoring organizations in:
– UK
– Republic of Ireland
– Mainland Europe
– North America
– Australia and
– New Zealand

There are different styles of maps, depending on individual countries on a large scale. Thus, it is the user who can find this more useful for them. An example of this is the AA’s Close-up map of Britain. The map is of a large scale. It is good for driving on and off road. The scale helps place tracks and conventional roads.

European maps differ in scales as well. When people buy maps of Europe they also need to consider where they are traveling to. Thus, maps are sold in the United States and Canada, having scales that more often the best. These maps can be used for businesses. It can also be used either by tourists or just for general interest.

Australian and New Zealand maps have smaller scale. It is made to be sold for the European market. It was made by motoring organizations or map makers. This was made so that they will have an advantage on knowing the layouts of:
– Roads
– railways and
– rivers

Source by Jayesh Bagde

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