What's your favorite atlas?

(No, not Atlas Shrugged.)

My friends and I played pub trivia last night, and came to an important realization: we suck at geography questions, and we need to get better at them.

(We also suck at sports questions, but no one’s interested in trying to develop that knowledge base. And there are generally fewer sports questions. Anyway…)

So I’d like to get an atlas, one of the table-covering ones that features all of the countries on all of the continents with some info on cities, rivers, mountains, and other features of note.

Just one thing: there are a lot of atlases out there. Many of them are expensive. And I don’t know which one(s) are quality reference works, and which are a waste of time.

So I open the question to my fellow Dopers: which atlases do you like? Which one would be best for general reference work and knowledge building? Priorities: a survey of the whole world that isn’t incredibly expensive. While good quality illustrations would be nice, they needn’t be pristine.


Well, I recently bought a new atlas from my local bookstore. I ended up picking the Hammond Explorer World Atlas . The atlas itself is pretty good quality, it goes for more regional maps than maps by country which can be frustrating.
The three reasons I choose it over others was: [list=1]
[li]It was cheap (around $14)[/li][li]It did a good job of showing various seas of the world. This was a kick I was on at the time. (Did you know that there is a Cosmonaut Sea?)[/li][li]Finally, a CD-ROM was included with it. This has proved to be the biggest reason to get this atlas. The CD-ROM has an interactive map and almanac. You can look up 1990 population figures for towns, do a search for a certain town which it will locate for you, find distances between places, and so on. [/li][/list=1]

I would highly recommend this atlas to anyone who is looking for a cheap entry level atlas for general reference and for enjoyment. The CD-ROM in itself is worth the $14 I paid for it.

[esprix voice]
[/esprix voice]

Ew? White boy?



Glen Baxter’s.

I’m partial to my National Geographic World Atlas (or “Big Blue”, as I like to call it…) Nice, not too cluttered, it has the easy-to-read typefaces that I like best, with the border-shading style that I’ve adopted when I make maps myself…

The newest edition is here…ONLY $150! :eek:

But really, I usually just use ArcView to do a custom job, but that’s a lot less conveinent…:eek:

The only atlas I own is The National Geographic Atlas of the World, Seventh Edition. It’s big and tall, but I agree with Caveman that it’s a nice looking atlas. The border-shading (as opposed to coloring in the entire country) is a nice touch. I still think it’s the best $100 I ever spent.

Hero of the beach!

I asked this question here shortly before Christmas. I wound up getting the Times Atlas of the World, and am quite happy with it, but you might like reading some of the responses in that thread; some were pretty informative.

Erp, upon reading that thread again, I realized that most of the answers in it were, unfortunately, NOT that informative. I think I must have been thinking of the user reviews I read on Amazon. Sorry about that.

I visited one of my local libraries this weekend to scope out their atlas collection, and they have a copy of the Times Atlas. Very nice. Very expensive, but very nice, and I’ll have to put that on my “to covet” list.

Looking at the “little” atlases demonstrated that, for generally increasing my geographical knowledge, I’ll probably just end up browsing through a bookstore or two and picking one that way. Whichever atlas I pick won’t be a keepsake, but it’ll be educational.