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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 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.

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Featured map

U.S. states by date of statehood
Credit: Astrokey44
An animated image showing the U.S. states by date of statehood, that is, the date when each U.S. state joined the Union. Although the first 13 states can be considered to be members of the United States from the date of the Declaration of Independence, they are presented here as being "admitted" on the date each ratified the present United States Constitution. The secession of states to form the Confederacy is not addressed here.

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Global view of visible satellite imagery and topography

A geographic information system (GIS) is a system for capturing, storing, analyzing and managing data and associated attributes which are spatially referenced to the earth. In the strictest sense, it is a computer system capable of integrating, storing, editing, analyzing, sharing, and displaying geographically-referenced information. In a more generic sense, GIS is a tool that allows users to create interactive queries, analyze the spatial information, edit data, maps, and present the results of all these operations. Geographic information science is the science underlying the geographic concepts, applications and systems.

Geographic information system technology can be used for scientific investigations, resource management, asset management, Environmental Impact Assessment, Urban planning, cartography, criminology, history, sales, marketing, and logistics.

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A "Romweg" map by Erhard Etzlaub

Erhard Etzlaub, was an astronomer, geodesist, cartographer, instrument maker and physician. From letters from a third party dated 1500 and 1507, we learn that he was a well-known instrument ("compass") maker and a geodesist, and from a letter dated 1517, that "he had also practicised as a physician for at least four years". His death is noted in as the 15th entry in an official list of 20 people buried between December 20, 1531 and February 21, 1532.

On occasion of the Holy Year 1500, when many pilgrims were expected to go to Rome, he designed his famous "Rom-Weg" map, a 41 x 29 cm wood engraving in stereographic projection of app. scale 1:5,6 mio., the earliest printed road map of central Europe. It is, as all of Etzlaub's maps, "South-up". Distances between cities can be computed by dotted lines, where a one-dot-step means one German Mile (7400m). If the prints were coloured, they show political regions, too.

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Things you can do

Things you can do

WikiProject: Geography
Here are some Geography related tasks you can do: