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## Review: Hammond World Almanac 2006 World Atlas

**Publisher: Hammond World Atlas Corporation****ISBN: 0843709375**

Hammond World Atlas Corporation has teamed up with the best-selling world almanac and fact book to produce an excellent and educational publication,* **Hammond** World Almanac 2006 World Atlas.*

This almanac can probably be called a world-class cartography and data bible with 200 pages of facts and figures on people, ethnic groups, languages, religions, region, capital, GDP, head of state and governments. And then there are 100 pages of digital TerraScape maps with three-dimensional relief of land and ocean floor terrain.

When I looked at the “Contents” section of the almanac, I was pleased to see that there was a card interpretation section. How many times have you looked at a map and had no idea what all the symbols or map scales and projections meant?

The authors of this publication explain in clear and precise language what map projections are and explore some of the most widely used projections. They also introduce us to a new projection, the Hammond Optimal Conformal.

For those of us unfamiliar with the concept of map projection, we know that the challenge mapmakers face is projecting the curved surface of the Earth onto a flat plane. Consequently, to achieve this feat, cartographers have developed map projections or formulas that govern this transformation of geographic data. Each point on the globe can be identified using a geographic coordinate grid, and this grid is projected onto a flat surface.

From this starting point we are given an explanation of the general principles and terms of how to flatten a sphere, selected examples of projections, conic projection and the Hammond Optimal Conformal.

This introductory section is followed by a thorough explanation of how to use the map section. Here we learn how boundaries are determined, sources of names, map symbols, colors, labels and map scales.

Armed with all this introductory information, we are now ready to explore world maps, 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 are color codes that distinguish the population of different cities. There is also a mileage scale marked in miles or kilometers. Also included are detailed and comparative thematic maps, tables, graphs for each continent, topography, population, land use, mineral resources and consumption.

The summary section or world almanac section provides key facts and figures for each nation, such as their ranking by population and area, major oceans, ocean depths and islands, rivers, waterfalls, continental heights, lakes, reservoirs, dams, highest mountains, temperatures, top languages , precipitation, population growth, energy and environment.

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

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

The above review was contributed by: **NORM GOLDMAN** Editor of Bookpleasures magazine. Click to SHOW MORE Norm Goldman reviews

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