An atlas is a collection of maps; it is typically a bundle of maps of Earth or a region of Earth.

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.

Banduri, Covens et Mortier and Lisle. Imperii Orientalis et Circumjacentium Regionum.1742
Imperii Orientalis et Circumjacentium Regionum by Guillaume Delisle (1742)

Etymology of atlases

Mercator - Atlas - 1595
Frontispiece of the 1595 atlas of Mercator

The use of the word atlas in a geographical context dates from 1595 when the German-Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published Atlas Sive Cosmographicae Meditationes de Fabrica Mundi et Fabricati Figura. (Atlas or cosmographical meditations upon the creation of the universe, and the universe as created.) This title provides Mercator's definition of the word as a description of the creation and form of the whole universe, not simply as a collection of maps. The volume that was published posthumously one year after his death is a wide-ranging text but, as the editions evolved, it became simply a collection of maps and it is in that sense that the word was used from the middle of the seventeenth century. The neologism coined by Mercator was a mark of his respect for the Titan, Atlas, the "King of Mauretania", whom he considered to be the first great geographer.[1]

History of atlases

The first work that contained systematically arranged woodcut maps of uniform size, published in a book, thus representing the first modern atlas is conventionally awarded to the Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius who in 1570 published the collection of maps Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.

Types of atlases

A travel atlas is made for easy use during travel, and often has spiral bindings so it may be folded flat (for example Geographers' A-Z Map Company famous A–Z atlases). It has maps at a large zoom so the maps can be reviewed easily. A travel atlas may also be referred to as a road map.[2]

A desk atlas is made similar to a reference book. It may be in hardback or paperback form.

There are atlases of the other planets (and their satellites) in the Solar System.[3]

Atlases of anatomy exist, mapping out organs of the human body or other organisms.[4]

Selected atlases

Some cartographically or commercially important atlases include the following:

17th century and earlier
18th century
19th century
20th century
21st century

See also


  1. ^ Mercator's own account of the reasons for choosing King Atlas are given in the preface of the 1595 atlas. A translation by David Sullivan is available in a digital version of the atlas published by Octavo. The text is freely available at the New York Society Library Archived March 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, pdf page 104 (corresponding to p34 of Sullivan's text).
  2. ^ "Road map". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  3. ^ Greeley, Ronald; Batson, Raymond. The NASA Atlas of the Solar System. ISBN 978-0521561273.
  4. ^ Schwartz, John (2008-04-22). "The Body in Depth". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-05-07.

External links

Online atlases
History of atlases
Historical atlases online
Other links
Atlas (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Atlas (; Greek: Ἄτλας, Átlas) was a Titan condemned to hold up the celestial heavens for eternity after the Titanomachy. Atlas also plays a role in the myths of two of the greatest Greek heroes: Heracles (the Roman equivalent being Hercules) and Perseus. According to the ancient Greek poet Hesiod, Atlas stood at the ends of the earth in extreme west. Later, he became commonly identified with the Atlas Mountains in northwest Africa and was said to be "King of Mauretania". Atlas was said to have been skilled in philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy. In antiquity, he was credited with inventing the first celestial sphere. In some texts, he is even credited with the invention of astronomy itself.Atlas was the son of the Titan Iapetus and the Oceanid Asia or Clymene. He had many children, mostly daughters, the Hesperides, the Hyades, the Pleiades, and the nymph Calypso who lived on the island Ogygia.The term Atlas has been used to describe a collection of maps since the 16th century when Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his work in honor of the mythological Titan. The "Atlantic Ocean" means "Sea of Atlas", while "Atlantis" means "island of Atlas", with some myths calling the deity a king of Atlantis.

Atlas (rocket family)

Atlas is a family of American missiles and space launch vehicles. The original Atlas missile was designed in the late 1950s and produced by the Convair Division of General Dynamics, to be used as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It was a liquid propellant rocket burning liquid oxygen and RP-1 fuel in three engines configured in an unusual "stage-and-a-half" or "Parallel Staging" design: its two outboard booster engines were jettisoned during ascent, while its center sustainer engine, propellant tanks and other structural elements were retained through orbital insertion (for orbital flights).

The missiles saw only brief ICBM service, and the last squadron was taken off operational alert in 1965. From 1962 to 1963, Atlas boosters launched the first four American astronauts to orbit the Earth whereas Redstone preceded Atlas with two sub-orbital launches. Various Atlas II models were launched 63 times between 1991 and 2004. There were only six launches of the Atlas III, all between 2000 and 2005. The Atlas V is still in service, with launches planned until 2020.

The Atlas name was originally proposed by Karel Bossart and his design team working at Convair on project MX-1593. Using the name of a mighty titan from Greek mythology reflected the missile's place as the biggest and most powerful to date. It also reflected the parent company of Convair, the Atlas Corporation.More than 300 Atlas launches have been conducted from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and 285 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Atlas Air

Atlas Air, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, is a cargo airline, passenger charter airline, and aircraft lessor based in Purchase, New York. The airline was named after Atlas, a Titan in Greek mythology, who carried the heavens on his shoulders. Their symbol on the plane's tail is a golden man carrying a golden world. With a total combined fleet of 54 Boeing 747 aircraft, Atlas is the world's largest operator of this iconic fleet type. The airline has 2870 employees and operates to 425 destinations in 119 countries.

Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains (Arabic: جِـبَـال الْأَطْـلَـس‎, translit. jibāl al-ʾaṭlas; durar n waṭlas) are a mountain range in the Maghreb. It stretches around 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The range's highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of 4,167 metres (13,671 ft) in southwestern Morocco. It separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert. The Atlas mountains are primarily inhabited by Berber populations. The terms for 'mountain' in some Berber languages are adrar and adras, which are believed to be cognates of the toponym Atlas. The mountains are home to a number of animal and plants unique in Africa, often more like those of Europe; many of them are endangered and some have already gone extinct.

Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged is a 1957 novel by Ayn Rand. Rand's fourth and final novel, it was also her longest, and the one she considered to be her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing. Atlas Shrugged includes elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance, and it contains Rand's most extensive statement of Objectivism in any of her works of fiction.

The book depicts a dystopian United States in which private businesses suffer under increasingly burdensome laws and regulations. Railroad executive Dagny Taggart and her lover, steel magnate Hank Rearden, struggle against "looters" who want to exploit their productivity. Dagny and Hank discover that a mysterious figure called John Galt is persuading other business leaders to abandon their companies and disappear as a "strike" of productive individuals against the looters. The novel ends with the strikers planning to build a new capitalist society based on Galt's philosophy of reason and individualism.

The theme of Atlas Shrugged, as Rand described it, is "the role of man's mind in existence". The book explores a number of philosophical themes from which Rand would subsequently develop Objectivism. In doing so, it expresses the advocacy of reason, individualism, and capitalism, and depicts what Rand saw to be the failures of governmental coercion.

Atlas Shrugged received largely negative reviews after its 1957 publication, but achieved enduring popularity and consistent sales in the following decades.

Atlas V

Atlas V ( "V" is pronounced "Five") is an expendable launch system in the Atlas rocket family. It was formerly operated by Lockheed Martin and is now operated by United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture with Boeing. Each Atlas V rocket uses a Russian-built RD-180 engine burning kerosene and liquid oxygen to power its first stage and an American-built RL10 engine burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to power its Centaur upper stage. The RD-180 engines are provided by RD Amross, while Aerojet Rocketdyne provides both the RL10 engines and the strap-on boosters used in some configurations. The standard payload fairing sizes are 4 or 5 meters in diameter and of various lengths. Fairings sizes as large as 7.2 m in diameter and up to 32.3 m in length have been considered. The rocket is assembled in Decatur, Alabama and Harlingen, Texas.

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand (; born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982.

Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and classical liberals.Literary critics received Rand's fiction with mixed reviews and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings. She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives.

Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World

The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World is a large-format English language atlas of ancient Europe, Asia, and North Africa, edited by Richard J. A. Talbert. The time period depicted is roughly from archaic Greek civilization (pre-550 BC) through Late Antiquity (640 AD). The atlas was published by Princeton University Press in 2000. The book was the winner of the 2000 Association of American Publishers Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Multivolume Reference Work in the Humanities.

Cloud Atlas (film)

Cloud Atlas is a 2012 fantasy film written and directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer. Adapted from the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell, the film has multiple plots occurring during six different eras in time; Mitchell described it as "a sort of pointillist mosaic." The film's synopsis describes it as "an exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution." Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Jim Broadbent star as part of an ensemble cast.

The film was produced by Grant Hill and Stefan Arndt, in addition to the Wachowskis and Tykwer. During its four years of development, the project met with some difficulties in securing financial support. However, the film was eventually produced with a $128.5 million net budget provided by independent sources, making it one of the most expensive independent films ever produced. Production for Cloud Atlas began in September 2011 at Babelsberg Studio in Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany.

Cloud Atlas premiered on 8 September 2012 at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival, and was publicly released on 26 October 2012 in conventional and IMAX cinemas. Film critics were polarized, causing it to be included on various "Best Film" and "Worst Film" lists. It was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score for Tom Tykwer (who co-scored the film), Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil. It received several different nominations at the Saturn Awards (which focus on Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror), including Best Science Fiction Film. It won Saturn Awards for Best Editing and Best Make-up.

Club Atlas

Fútbol Club Atlas (Spanish pronunciation: [kluβ ˈatɬas]) is a Mexican football club. Atlas plays in Guadalajara, Mexico, in the Liga MX. The club's home stadium is Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara.


A constellation is a group of stars that forms an imaginary outline or pattern on the celestial sphere, typically representing an animal, mythological person or creature, a god, or an inanimate object.The origins of the earliest constellations likely go back to prehistory. People used them to relate stories of their beliefs, experiences, creation, or mythology. Different cultures and countries adopted their own constellations, some of which lasted into the early 20th century before today's constellations were internationally recognized. Adoption of constellations has changed significantly over time. Many have changed in size or shape. Some became popular, only to drop into obscurity. Others were limited to single cultures or nations.

The 48 traditional Western constellations are Greek. They are given in Aratus' work Phenomena and Ptolemy's Almagest, though their origin probably predates these works by several centuries. Constellations in the far southern sky were added from the 15th century until the mid-18th century when European explorers began traveling to the Southern Hemisphere. Twelve ancient constellations belong to the zodiac (straddling the ecliptic, which the Sun, Moon, and planets all traverse). The origins of the zodiac remain historically uncertain; its astrological divisions became prominent c. 400 BC in Babylonian or Chaldean astronomy, probably dates back to prehistory.

In 1928, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) formally accepted 88 modern constellations, with contiguous boundaries that together cover the entire celestial sphere. Any given point in a celestial coordinate system lies in one of the modern constellations. Some astronomical naming systems include the constellation where a given celestial object is found to convey its approximate location in the sky. The Flamsteed designation of a star, for example, consists of a number and the genitive form of the constellation name.

Other star patterns or groups called asterisms are not constellations per se but are used by observers to navigate the night sky. Asterisms often refer to several stars within a constellation or may share stars with several constellations. Examples include the Pleiades and Hyades within the constellation Taurus and the False Cross split between the southern constellations Carina and Vela, or Venus' Mirror in the constellation of Orion.


In mathematics, a manifold is a topological space that locally resembles Euclidean space near each point. More precisely, each point of an n-dimensional manifold has a neighbourhood that is homeomorphic to the Euclidean space of dimension n. In this more precise terminology, a manifold is referred to as an n-manifold.

One-dimensional manifolds include lines and circles, but not figure eights (because they have crossing points that are not locally homeomorphic to Euclidean 1-space). Two-dimensional manifolds are also called surfaces. Examples include the plane, the sphere, and the torus, which can all be embedded (formed without self-intersections) in three dimensional real space, but also the Klein bottle and real projective plane, which will always self-intersect when immersed in three-dimensional real space.

Although a manifold locally resembles Euclidean space, meaning that every point has a neighbourhood homeomorphic to an open subset of Euclidean space, globally it may not: manifolds in general are not homeomorphic to Euclidean space. For example, the surface of the sphere is not homeomorphic to the Euclidean plane, because (among other properties) it has the global topological property of compactness that Euclidean space lacks, but in a region it can be charted by means of map projections of the region into the Euclidean plane (in the context of manifolds they are called charts). When a region appears in two neighbouring charts, the two representations do not coincide exactly and a transformation is needed to pass from one to the other, called a transition map.

The concept of a manifold is central to many parts of geometry and modern mathematical physics because it allows complicated structures to be described and understood in terms of the simpler local topological properties of Euclidean space. Manifolds naturally arise as solution sets of systems of equations and as graphs of functions.

Manifolds can be equipped with additional structure. One important class of manifolds is the class of differentiable manifolds; this differentiable structure allows calculus to be done on manifolds. A Riemannian metric on a manifold allows distances and angles to be measured. Symplectic manifolds serve as the phase spaces in the Hamiltonian formalism of classical mechanics, while four-dimensional Lorentzian manifolds model spacetime in general relativity.

Mercury-Atlas 6

Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) was the third human spaceflight for the U.S. and part of Project Mercury. Conducted by NASA on February 20, 1962, the mission was piloted by astronaut John Glenn, who performed three orbits of the Earth, making him the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth.The Mercury spacecraft, named Friendship 7, was carried to orbit by an Atlas LV-3B launch vehicle lifting off from Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. After four hours and 56 minutes in flight the spacecraft re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, splashed down in the North Atlantic Ocean and was safely taken aboard USS Noa.

The event was named an IEEE Milestone in 2011.

Moon landing

A Moon landing is the arrival of a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. This includes both manned and unmanned (robotic) missions. The first human-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union's Luna 2 mission, on 13 September 1959.The United States' Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon, on 20 July 1969. There have been six manned U.S. landings (between 1969 and 1972) and numerous unmanned landings, with no soft landings happening from 22 August 1976 until 14 December 2013.

To date, the United States is the only country to have successfully conducted manned missions to the Moon, with the last departing the lunar surface in December 1972.

National Biodiversity Network

The National Biodiversity Network (UK) (NBN) is a collaborative venture set up in 2000 in the United Kingdom committed to making biodiversity information available through various media, including on the internet via the NBN Atlas—the data search website of the NBN.

Norton Atlas

The Norton Atlas was a Norton motorcycle made between 1962 and 1968, until it was replaced by the Norton Commando.

Project Mercury

Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States, running from 1958 through 1963. An early highlight of the Space Race, its goal was to put a man into Earth orbit and return him safely, ideally before the Soviet Union. Taken over from the US Air Force by the newly created civilian space agency NASA, it conducted twenty unmanned developmental flights (some using animals), and six successful flights by astronauts. The program, which took its name from Roman mythology, cost $2.2 billion adjusted for inflation. The astronauts were collectively known as the "Mercury Seven", and each spacecraft was given a name ending with a "7" by its pilot.

The Space Race began with the 1957 launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik 1. This came as a shock to the American public, and led to the creation of NASA to expedite existing US space exploration efforts, and place most of them under civilian control. After the successful launch of the Explorer 1 satellite in 1958, manned spaceflight became the next goal. The Soviet Union put the first human, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, into a single orbit aboard Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961. Shortly after this, on May 5, the US launched its first astronaut, Alan Shepard, on a suborbital flight. Soviet Gherman Titov followed with a day-long orbital flight in August 1961. The US reached its orbital goal on February 20, 1962, when John Glenn made three orbits around the Earth. When Mercury ended in May 1963, both nations had sent six people into space, but the Soviets led the US in total time spent in space.

The Mercury space capsule was produced by McDonnell Aircraft, and carried supplies of water, food and oxygen for about one day in a pressurized cabin. Mercury flights were launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, on launch vehicles modified from the Redstone and Atlas D missiles. The capsule was fitted with a launch escape rocket to carry it safely away from the launch vehicle in case of a failure. The flight was designed to be controlled from the ground via the Manned Space Flight Network, a system of tracking and communications stations; back-up controls were outfitted on board. Small retrorockets were used to bring the spacecraft out of its orbit, after which an ablative heat shield protected it from the heat of atmospheric reentry. Finally, a parachute slowed the craft for a water landing. Both astronaut and capsule were recovered by helicopters deployed from a US Navy ship.

The Mercury project gained popularity, and its missions were followed by millions on radio and TV around the world. Its success laid the groundwork for Project Gemini, which carried two astronauts in each capsule and perfected space docking maneuvers essential for manned lunar landings in the subsequent Apollo program announced a few weeks after the first manned Mercury flight.

SM-65 Atlas

The SM-65 Atlas was the first operational intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) developed by the United States and the first member of the Atlas rocket family. It was built for the U.S. Air Force by Convair Division of General Dynamics at the Kearny Mesa assembly plant north of San Diego. Atlas became operational as an ICBM in October 1959 and was used as a first stage for satellite launch vehicles for half a century. The Atlas missile's warhead was over 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped over Nagasaki in 1945.

An initial development contract was given to Consolidated Vultee Aircraft (Convair) on 16 January 1951 for what was then called MX-1593. It initially had a relatively low priority. The 1953 testing of the first dry fuel H-bomb in the Soviet Union led to the project being dramatically accelerated. The initial design completed by Convair in 1953 was larger than the missile that eventually entered service. Estimated warhead weight was lowered from 8,000 lb (3,630 kg) to 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) based on highly favorable U.S. nuclear warhead tests in early 1954, and on 14 May 1954 the Atlas program was formally given the highest national priority. A major development and test contract was awarded to Convair on 14 January 1955 for a 10-foot (3 m) diameter missile to weigh about 250,000 lb (113,400 kg). Atlas development was tightly controlled by the Air Force's Western Development Division, WDD, later part of the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division. Contracts for warhead, guidance and propulsion were handled separately by WDD. The first successful flight of a highly instrumented Atlas missile to full range occurred 28 November 1958. Atlas ICBMs were deployed operationally from 31 October 1959 to 12 April 1965.On 18 December 1958, the launch of Atlas 10B sent the missile into orbit around the Earth (without use of an upper stage) carrying the "SCORE" (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) communications payload. Atlas 10B/SCORE, at 8,750 lb (3,970 kg) was the heaviest man-made object then in orbit, the first voice relay satellite, and the first man-made object in space easily visible to the naked eye due to the large, mirror-polished stainless steel tank. This was the first flight in what would be a long career for the Atlas as a satellite launcher. Many retired Atlas ICBMs would be used as launch vehicles, most with an added spin-stabilized solid rocket motor upper stage for polar orbit military payloads. Even before its military use ended in 1965, Atlas had placed four Project Mercury astronauts in orbit and was becoming the foundation for a family of successful space launch vehicles, most notably Atlas Agena and Atlas Centaur.

Mergers led to the acquisition of the Atlas Centaur line by Lockheed Martin, which later became part of United Launch Alliance. Today Lockheed Martin and ULA support a new Atlas rocket family based on the larger "Atlas V" which still uses the unique and highly efficient Centaur upper stage. Atlas V stage one is powered by a Russian RD-180 oxygen/kerosene engine and uses conventional aluminum isogrid tanks, rather than the thin-wall, pressure-stabilized stainless steel tanks of the original Convair Atlas. Payload weights have increased along with launch vehicle weights over the years, so the current Atlas V family serves many of the same types of commercial, DoD, and planetary missions as earlier Atlas Centaurs.

Tony Atlas

Anthony White (born April 23, 1954) better known by his ring name Tony Atlas is an American bodybuilder, powerlifter, and professional wrestler who has held multiple titles and championships in each sport. He is also known by his bodybuilding title, "Mr. USA" (a distinction he earned three times), the nom de guerre the "Black Superman", as well as an alter ego named Saba Simba. He returned as an on screen manager for WWE, appearing on its now-defunct ECW brand. He re-signed with WWE in a Legends deal in mid-2012.

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