Best dead-tree atlas?
June 23, 2005 11:47 AM   Subscribe

What's the best dead-tree world atlas you can buy?

My wife wants one for her birthday. There seem to be a fair number for the taking. Any recommendations or personal favorites?
posted by selfnoise to Shopping (12 answers total)
This one, IMHO.
posted by aramaic at 12:05 PM on June 23, 2005

Oooh...I second that. The Spousal Unit got one for his birthday, and it's amazing.
posted by frykitty at 12:12 PM on June 23, 2005

Response by poster: What about the National Geographic Atlas? Is the Times atlas worth the extra cost?
posted by selfnoise at 12:13 PM on June 23, 2005

Is the Times atlas worth the extra cost?

Warning: I am a map dork. Having said that, yes I think the Times atlas is worth the extra cost. I'm primarily an antique map dork, but even so I appreciate the Times atlas....but again, I'm the sort of person who'll buy a map of Kent from 1420 without batting an eyelash.
posted by aramaic at 12:21 PM on June 23, 2005

The DK World Atlas. I have it and am very happy with it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:06 PM on June 23, 2005

I was given an atlas that I found completely amazing: anything you can find that maps the world using the Peters Projection is worth buying.
posted by Pericles at 1:18 PM on June 23, 2005

This is a self-link and it's full of affiliate-program links besides, so apologies all around and warnings in advance, but this question came up on The Map Room back in January; the answers from my readers might be helpful (I was especially impressed with Jim's answer).
posted by mcwetboy at 1:20 PM on June 23, 2005

Is the Times atlas worth the extra cost?

Yes. The poster didn't ask about cost or anything else, just "What's the best dead-tree world atlas you can buy"—and that's the Times, no ifs, ands, or buts. When asked "what's the best dictionary" I hedge my responses with all sorts of qualifications, but for atlases there is a clear Best of the Best.

At mcwetboy's site (which I highly recommend; the guy is a total map maven) the answer he links to has two negative things to say about the Times atlas: it's expensive and it's big. Yup, and if either of those things puts you off, the other atlases recommended in this thread are excellent... but they're not the best. (EB, are you seriously claiming the DK is better than the Times? Have you used both?)
posted by languagehat at 2:30 PM on June 23, 2005

When I was in library school, I was told the Times was the best. I was also told the public would respect me, so consider the source.

Public libraries tend to have quite a few of them. You can go, and see which one you like best.

A small globe to go with it, and you've covered all four corners of the world.
posted by QIbHom at 4:11 PM on June 23, 2005

And thinking ahead to next year....
posted by IndigoJones at 5:19 PM on June 23, 2005

Best answer: Don't try to save money on an atlas.

There are two excellent atlases being published now. The Times Atlas of the World is best if you want a political map with lots of cities, roads, county borders, etc. The DK Great World Atlas is best if you want a geography atlas, with lots of information on climate, geology, etc. Of the two I greatly prefer the DK Great World Atlas for browsing, because it's a lot more interesting. If I'm looking for some specific place the Times Atlas is better, but then I immediately open the same page in the DK to learn more about the area. Note: I'm basically repeating what Phil Greenspun wrote in two spot on mini-reviews of atlases on Amazon.

For something different, the DK Atlas of World History is very interesting. But it's much more a history book than an atlas.
posted by Nelson at 5:50 PM on June 23, 2005

Response by poster: Followup - I bought the new 11th edition of the Times Atlas for my wife. She loves it and is showing it off to everyone she knows. Thanks! I'll keep the other ones in mind for future gifts.
posted by selfnoise at 5:53 PM on October 23, 2005

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