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The Atlas Portal

Political and physical world map from the end of 2005

An atlas is a collection of maps, traditionally bound into book form, but now most often found in multimedia formats. As well as geographic features and political boundaries, many often feature geopolitical, social, religious and economic statistics.

The first known book that could be called an atlas was constructed from the calculations of Claudius Ptolemy, a Greek geographer working in Alexandria circa A.D. 150. The first edition was published in Bologna in 1477 and was illustrated with a set of 27 maps, though scholars say that it is not known whether the printed maps were engraved versions of original maps made by Ptolemy, or whether they were constructed by medieval Greek scholars from Ptolemy's text.

Atlas of Greek mythology

The origin of the term atlas is a common source of misconception, perhaps because two different mythical figures named 'Atlas' are associated with mapmaking. King Atlas, a mythical King of Mauretania, was, according to legend, a wise philosopher, mathematician and astronomer who supposedly made the first celestial globe. However, the more widely known Atlas is a figure from Greek mythology.

An atlas is a collection of maps; it is typically a map of Earth or a region of Earth, but there are atlases of the other planets (and their satellites) in the Solar System. Furthermore, atlases of anatomy exist, mapping out the human body or other organisms.[1] Atlases have traditionally been bound into book form, but today many atlases are in multimedia formats. In addition to presenting geographic features and political boundaries, many atlases often feature geopolitical, social, religious and economic statistics. They also have information about the map and places in it

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Featured map

Maris Pacifici
Credit: Abraham Ortelius
The Maris Pacifici is believed to be the first printed map of the Pacific. It was published in Abraham Ortelius' 1589 Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, considered to be the first true modern atlas.

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Portion of an electronic chart of the Bering Strait

A nautical chart is a graphic representation of a maritime area and adjacent coastal regions. Depending on the scale of the chart, it may show depths of water and heights of land (topographic map), natural features of the seabed, details of the coastline, navigational hazards, locations of natural and man-made aids to navigation, information on tides and currents, local details of the Earth's magnetic field, and man-made structures such as harbors, buildings and bridges. Nautical charts are essential tools for marine navigation; many countries require vessels, especially commercial ships, to carry them. Nautical charting may take the form of charts printed on paper or computerised electronic navigational charts.

Conventional nautical charts are printed on large sheets of paper at a variety of scales. Electronic navigational charts, which use computer software and electronic databases to provide navigation information, can augment or in some cases replace paper charts, though most mariners carry paper charts as a back up in case the electronic charting system fails.

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Captain George Comer

Captain George Comer (April 1858 – 1937) was considered the most famous American whaling captain of Hudson Bay, and the world's foremost authority on Hudson Bay Inuit in the early 20th century.

Comer was a polar explorer, whaler/sealer, ethnologist, cartographer, author, and photographer. He made 14 Arctic and three Antarctic voyages in his lifetime. These expeditions (ca. 1875-1919) commonly began in New London, Connecticut or New Bedford, Massachusetts. Comer's circle of friends and colleagues included other notable explorers of the time, such as Robert Peary and Capt. Frederick Cook, and his mentor, Franz Boas, the "Father of American Anthropology".

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