am 31. März 1999
With all the activity going on in Kosovo, my children were asking a lot of questions about that area of the world. It was time to invest in an Atlas that could benefit my family for years to come. The Oxford Atlas of the World renders spectacular graphics and more detail about our world than I even imagined. It's a great investment for anyone wanting to know more about the world we live in.
am 27. Februar 2000
I've been collecting atlases for over 30 years, including three different editions of this one. I still have the 8th edition, and now I've lived with the 10 edition for a couple months and am ready to state my opinion, and compare it to previous editions.
First, I'd like to make a general observation about these Times Atlases. They have all carried about 20% of their maps in a vertical orientation. This is all right in atlases that are of a more manageable size, but for a book that weighs 11 pounds, it is burdensome to be flipping it around every few pages. I just had to get that out of the way, because it has always bothered me.
The strength of the Times Atlas of the World has always been the details and accuracy of its physical maps, showing the topographic layout of the land. The colors chosen to do so were more garish in previous editions than in this 10th, and on a first impression, the maps in the 10th edition look strikingly more beautiful. They are works of art. However, I am not convinced that the new colors are more useful. As was pointed out in a review below, what is missing is the sharp contrast from one elevation interval to the next, so it is actually more difficult to figure out the details of the typography, without using a magnifying glass. I think utility was sacrificed to sheer beauty in this case. But let there be no misunderstanding. These maps are probably the most beautiful physical representations of the land that have ever been published at this scale, and due to the digital database upon which the printing was based, without doubt, the most accurate.
Continuing with the theme of this book's utility, I find that I can't see the forest for the trees with this edition. For example, I found it much easier to trace out the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the old editions, with their use of more contrasting colors. There is almost too much detail at all scales to figure out what's actually going on with the layout of the land. Even plate 37, which is a 1:15,000,000 map of north Asia, there is an almost bewildering amount of data shown in the European regions of this map. Only in the Siberian wastelands can you see what's really going on, and who cares about that except the intrepid geographer (that's me, actually)? I suspect that what is going on here is that the computers that generated these maps have been allowed to run amuck, without enough editorial control and selection over the results.
Since 90% of this atlas consists of physical maps of stunning detail and beauty, I would think that this atlas would appeal most strongly to individuals who were interested in the physical features of the surface of our planet. Yet, what do we get in the opening 60 pages of thematics? Well, it starts out with 14 pages of satellite maps covering the whole Earth. That would seem like a fine start, except very little commentary is provided interpreting what we're looking at. These are beautiful plates, but I don't see that they're very useful. Then we have several obligatory pages showing the Earth's place in the universe, which to my mind is just fluff in an atlas (admittedly, most atlases waste space doing this). Of the remaining 34 thematic pages, less than half are devoted to describing physical features of the world. The rest are more concerned with political and economic issues. There isn't even a map showing world precipitation (which was presented in Plate 2 of the 8th edition), only a tiny map showing the CHANGES in precipitation we might expect by the year 2050, which is highly speculative! I shouldn't be too critical here, because thematic maps have never been the strong suit of the Times Atlas of the World, and were even more impoverished in the 8th edition. But I do wish there were more, of the same caliber as the main body of the work.
On the whole, the selection of the maps is good, although the selection seems to be politically, rather than physically, based. So there are some favorites of mine missing. The 8th edition had superb, separate maps of Alaska and the Canadian Northwest Territories at 1:5,000,000 that are missing in this edition. Also missing are superb 1:500,000 maps of Switzerland and Israel that appeared in the 8th edition. On the other hand, there are great, two page spreads of Poland and Turkey that didn't appear in previous editions.
In spite of my criticisms, I wouldn't be caught dead without this latest, gorgeous 10th edition of the Times Atlas of the World. But I am a map fanatic, and I'll buy maps just because of their aesthetic appeal. This 10th edition has beauty like no other atlas that I have ever seen before. But I do think that, when it comes to usefulness, this atlas is a specialty item, especially at its price. If you're looking for some obscure place, the 220,000 entries in its index will probably let you find it. But unless you do this for a living, there are probably better options out there, unless you just love maps for the sake of maps, like me. Heck, in spite of everything I've said in this review, I have to give it five stars, because there's simply nothing else comparable, for what it is.
am 23. Januar 2001
Der Times Atlas ist vom ersten Aufschlagen an ein Genuss. In übersichtlicher und aufwendiger Weise führt der Atlas in aktuelle Daten der Welt ein: in hervorragenden graphischen Darstellungen, teils in Tabellen und ansprechendem Text. Viele Abbildungen berreichern die Übersichten. Der umfangreiche, einfach gegliederte Kartenteil zeigt Kontinente und Staaten unter verschiedenen Sichten. Die einzelnen Karten sind mit Verweisen auf benachbarte Karten und mit Teilausschnitten versehen. Im Register schliesslich sind die Namen kategorisiert und leicht zu finden. Kleine Übersetzunghilfen für lokale Sprachen helfen beim Suchen. Ein gelungenes, reichhaltiges Werk, das sich für Weltreisen im Wohnzimmer eignet und um Kindern Freude an Geograhie zu vermitteln. Und wer während des Studierens der Karten noch ein Hemd bügeln will, wird auch bedient: der Atlas ist sehr schwer.
am 15. Oktober 1999
This atlas is the best international atlas for production graphics shops. Its gazetteer of latitude longitude for place names makes answering "Where is it?" questions nearly as fast as a computer search. It has more place names than any other souce I know except the U.S. State Department's online search, but this atlas is so much nicer to use.
My only criticism is the colors have been toned down compared to my old 7th Edition from 1980. The elevation colors went from vivid oranges and browns to light greens. The 10th Edition now has pail greens and light buffs. The contrast from 1000 to 3000 meters is much less. Your eye has to work harder to discern elevations. The very light water blues compared to the light land colors don't seem to offer as much "figure ground" contrast as my old 7th Edition Times Comprehensive atlas did. These lighter colors do help in two ways. They make the black text of feature names stand out. Also, the populated areas' color has been changed from black hatching to a bright solid yellow. It raises the visual importance of urban areas, which is good. Political and administrative boundaries have gone from violet to a dull purple, thus this theme has been pushed back in importance.
I notice that city names seem to have gotten smaller. I guess this means more information can be shown on a page, which is good. Also it will push the 'small towns' theme back in importance so as to make clearer trends in physical geography, of valleys, plains, passes, major rivers etc. to be recognized more easily. There has been an editorial update in what is important to show now. My old atlas has one whole plate for Iran with an insert of Tehran. Now, it shares a plate with three other countries. In contrast, there are now three new full plates for the Los Angeles area, the San Francisco Bay area and the New York City area, all very nice.
The thematic geography section located in front of the map plates has all been redone. It has grown from about thirty pages in 1980 to over fifty pages now. The shift in the style of presentation of the world's environment and mapping is timely and an improvement. This is the kind of stuff any geography teacher might curl up with on a rainy night. These are difficult, yet vital concepts to relate to a world populace and The Times does a good job. My older edition simply had four sections of physical geography including: Physiography, Oceanography, Climatology and vegetation. This was followed by two sections of cultural geography including: Political, and Cultural (religious, population) and Airline routes. The tenth edition changes and improves the format. Instead of a discussion of space flight and satellite imaging, it actually has a beautiful series of composite processed imagery that shows off what this marvelous science can do to illustrate the lands we live in, in a way different than from the regular atlas sheets. These large regional highly processed composite 'Photos' are on the cutting edge of geo-description. It's about time that 30 years of space exploration has been encapsulated so well to cover all the continents. The small section on the science and history of cartography makes a sometimes boring topic come alive.
If you love atlases buy this now. Don't wait five years. This will be the standard for awhile. When you hear of some far off place on the six o'clock news, you can I.D. it quickly and get an idea of some of the physical and cultural conditions fellow human beings will have to go through to be there.
am 24. Juli 2000
Being in the market for a one definitive atlas for my home I've been doing some shopping and was able to carefully study the Times Atlas. The strongest point it has is its index which is very comprehensive and easy to use. If you want to find a something in the world, the fastest way is with this atlas. Booting a computer and inserting a CDRom takes way more time. The smaller fonts on the maps are good as they still allow you to read the place names without cluttering up the maps unnecessarily. I was comparing this work to the 'Book of the World' and I must say that both of them have very strong points and the ideal atlas would be a combination of both. The 'Book of the World' (96 edition) has much nicer looking maps which include some information not found in the 'Times Atlas' such as highway numbers, and locations such as parks, reservations, military and governmental installations, airports, etc. Also, more roads were found in the 'Book of the World'.
The perfect atlas would be the map design of the 'Book of the World' with its glossy and high-quality pages combined with the shear number of locations in the 'Times Atlas'.
am 21. Oktober 1999
Having owned the 1975, 1980 and 1990 editions of this atlas, I have waited for much anticipation for this new edition. It is totally redone with digital cartography.
The front section is completely new and is vastly improved. Many interesting and important thematic maps on climate, population, economics, land cover and the physical earth are up=to=date and very topical. Subjects include global warming and income inequality. One of the best features is the satellite images of each continent.
The maps themselves are an overall improvement from previous editions. One set of fonts is used throughout and the contour coloring is standardized. Previous editions had there own schemes depending on which part of the world being shown.
While coverage of some areas has decreased (esp. Russia) overall the coverage is balanced, with an emphasis on Europe (nearly 1/3 of the map plates). New, larger scale coverage of Poland, parts of China stand out.
Most of the atlas plates are highly detailed, crammed with place names. That's why most will need a magnifying glass since the type is so small on many maps.
The atlas is well-organized with a political map of each continent followed by the detalied map plates. There are no maps of cities or metro areas, unlike in previous editions (which wasted two whole plates on London and Paris). A 200,000+-entry index follows. In the front of the index is an extensive glossary of foreign terms.
I would recommend this atlas as the cartography is superb. If you can live with the tiny print, this is a great atlas.
am 16. Mai 2000
I hate to write such a brief review of an excellent book, but having little experience with past editions of the Times Atlas I have no basis for comparison there. Compared to any other atlas I own, the Times simply blows them all away, and I have a fair number. I, like another reviewer, am an atlas collector and map freak and the lush two page spreads are simply awesome. I can agree with other remarks about the text being almost too small for easy reading. Also, there are regions that seemingly get covered multiple times at various scales (Iran in particular) and others that seem to be almost left as afterthoughts. Alaska was particularly disappointing, meriting only a portion of one page and nowhere nearly as detailed as even Northern Africa which is jammed with place names.
These are small issues for me, though. It's so easy to lose one's self following obscure rivers and exotic placenames that I feel completely satisfied with the product in a way no other atlas has made me feel. The satellite photos are stunning, the quality of the printing is top-notch, I couldn't find a single bit of color bleeding or fuzzy text. And any atlas that manages to squeeze in my own little hamlet in Utah is a winner in my book ;-). In short, if you love atlases and maps and want to see the latest in computer assisted (dominated, perhaps?) cartography, this is your atlas.
am 16. November 1999
Almost every new major atlas claims to set a new standard in world atlases, but this new atlas is one of the very few that actually do just that. It contains almost 30% more place names than its nearest competitor, the Rand McNally International Atlas. In this respect, it is the largest printed atlas ever published. This tenth edition (dubbed the "millennium" edition) is the first complete redesign since its original publication in 1967, and it shows. The color coding has improved, the number of maps has increased, and, very important, the consistency factor has improved; e.g. the same fonts and same accuracy for all pages. The previous edition has sometimes been accused of being a mere "collection of reference maps". In this new tenth, no less than 72 pages of thematic content have been added, thus making it a really all-round reference atlas. It also contains more large-scale reference maps of more densely populated regions than before, and this noticeably increases the chance of finding just the spot you were looking for. The 217-page gazetteer contains just over 200,000 names. The price is somewhat shocking: more than 200 US dollars for an atlas is not something people spend lightly. But to anyone committed to following the world news, planning holiday or business trips, or travellers-in-dreams, you really can't afford NOT to have this atlas - it's certainly worth its price.
am 5. Juni 2000
If, like me, you love and can spend hours poring over a map, then the Times Atlas will blow you away. A massive heavy tome (well it maps the whole earth after all!), it is meant to be laid flat on the carpet while the reader sprawls on his / her stomach to browse. The most important thing about an Atlas, apart from accuracy, is that it should be up to date and the Times scores high here. The maps are large, the colors gentle and easy on the eye, the print quality is superb. Some of the text is sadly a bit small for my aging eyes but the maps, which most readers will concentrate on are top notch. Perhaps a bit expensive for home usage, though I like to think that this one is a keeper; you need to amortise its cost over a decade or more. Small businesses and homes with growing children wanting to learn about the world will love this book. Worth a splurge.