"Inside map making factory." Engraving from Orbis Terrarum, by Braun and Hogenberg. 1700. Image from Art Museum Image Gallery.
Atlases are collections of maps, but also, a whole lot more.
Yes, there are still traditional atlases which focus on geography, but many of the atlases listed in this guide are interpretive. The use the concept of the map to show relationships - How much fresh water is in the world, and who has access to it? How has religious belief changed over the last century? How has China's economy grown over the last decade?
This interpretive aspect of atlases needs a basis in facts, or statistics. So, while we think of atlases as maps, we don't think of this other feature. They are a great source for statistics, especially as seen over a period of time.
Also, as part of the "map" function of atlases, they are a form of visual information. So, if you need to jazz up your presentation, don't forget the great visual impact that the information in atlases can provide.
Please feel free to use my contact information in the right-hand column if you have questions.
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