Largest world atlas released
Australian publisher Millennium House debuted Earth Platinum, the largest world atlas ever produced, at the National Center for Documentation and Research (NCDR) on Tuesday.
The 128-page book containing maps, photographs and text measures 6ft x 9ft (1.8m x 2.7m) and weighs 150kg, said Millennium House managing director Gordon Cheers, who joined NCDR Director-General Dr Abdulla Al Reyes for the unveiling.
“Dr Abdulla was the first person who said yes to the book, who had the vision to see it,” said Cheers, explaining Millennium House’s decision to introduce “Earth Platinum” in the UAE.
Another 31 copies of the atlas are currently in transit to England, he added.
Dr Al Reyes welcomed the addition to NCDR’s archives. “I am confident that the new acquisition shall be of great help and benefit to users of the Emirates Library [at NCDR]. Geography is still history and this tremendous volume has been prepared by elite cartographers, topographers and photographers,” he said.
Earth Platinum was produced by 120 people over six years, at a total cost of more than $1 million. Each copy costs $100,000. At the unveiling, Cheers spoke of how technological advancements made the project both possible and necessary.
“With a lot of people getting their information from GPS and the Internet, cartography is less popular today. I think you’re looking at the last big atlas to ever be published,” he said.
“Children today have more access to maps than any generation before them, and yet many people say that our children know less about the world’s geography than their parents did.”
Standing before a detailed, 54sq.ft. (5sq.m.) atlas map with the Middle East at its centre, Cheers commented: “I think a map like this helps place people in context. There’s something about the sense of scale and size that helps you understand.”
In addition to 61 pages of maps, Earth Platinum contains more than 27 images formed through the GigaPan photographic process, which combines thousands of photographs into a single, seamless image.
As he presented one such massive photograph of Singapore’s urban landscape, he said, “I wonder what this area will look like 50 or 100 years from now, or indeed, what Abu Dhabi will look. It’s important we record what’s happening now.”
The atlas’s depiction of current physical and political realities, said Cheers, will serve as a historical record for future generations.