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Review: Hammond World Almanac 2006 World Atlas

Publisher: Hammond World Atlas CorporationISBN: 0843709375

Hammond World Atlas Corporation has partnered with the best-selling World Almanac and Book of Facts to create an excellent and educational publication, Hammond World Almanac 2006 World Atlas.

You can probably call this Almanac the bible of world-class mapping and data with its 200 pages of facts and figures on people, ethnic groups, languages, religions, area, capital, GDP, head of state, and governments. And then there are TerraScape’s 100 pages of digital maps that present three-dimensional relief of land and ocean terrain.

When I looked at the “Contents” section of the Almanac, I was delighted to see that there is a section dealing with map interpretation. How many times have you looked at a map and have no idea what all the symbols or scales and projections on the map mean?

In clear and precise language, the authors of this publication explain what map projections are and explore some of the most commonly used projections. They also present us with a new projection, the Hammond Optimal Conformal.

For those of us unfamiliar with the term map projection, we are told that the challenge cartographers face is projecting the curved surface of the Earth onto a flat plane. Consequently, to accomplish this feat, cartographers have developed map projections or formulas that govern this conversion of geographic data. It is possible to identify each point on the earth with the help of a geographic coordinate grid, and this grid is projected onto a flat surface.

From this starting point, explanations of general principles and terms, how to flatten a sphere, selected examples of projections, conic projection, and Hammond’s optimal conformal are provided.

This initial section is followed by a full explanation of how to use the map section. It is here that we discover how boundaries, name sources, map symbols, colors, labels, and map scales are determined.

Armed with all of this introductory data, we are now ready to examine the maps of the world starting with Europe and North Asia and then Asia, Australia and the Pacific, Africa, Antarctica, South America, and North America. At the bottom of each map there are color codes that differentiate the population of the different cities and towns. There is also a mileage scale indicated in miles or kilometers. Also included are detailed and comparative thematic maps, tables, graphs of each continent, topography, population, land use, mineral resources and consumption.

The final section or the World Almanac Section presents key facts and figures about each nation, such as its classification by population and area, major oceans, ocean depths and islands, rivers, waterfalls, continental altitudes, lakes, reservoirs, dams, highest mountains , temperatures, main languages, rainfall, population growth, energy and environment.

When examining facts and figures about a particular nation, we notice that what is included is the following: topography, capital city, date of independence, type of government, who is the head of state and head of government, GDP, industries, crops minerals, life expectancy at birth, literacy rate and link to country website.

This almanac is a magnificent achievement to be savored and enjoyed over and over again. It fills an educational niche and is a perfect addition to libraries, classrooms, and personal book collections, where vital geographic data is at your fingertips.

The above review was contributed by: STANDARD GOLDMAN Editor of Bookpleasures. CLICK TO SEE MORE Norm Goldman Reviews