Kiwis leave their mark on world's biggest atlas

1.8 x 1.4 metres. That's the size of the world's biggest atlas, to be published next month – with the mark of Kiwi cartographers on every page.

1.8 x 1.4 metres. That's the size of the world's biggest atlas, to be published next month – with the mark of Kiwi cartographers on every page. 

Wellington cartographic company Geographx was responsible for the coordination of cartography of the 128-page Earth Platinum, of which just 31 copies will be available at US $100,000.

Printed and handbound in Italy, the book weighs an enormous 150kg. The pages are so large the atlas had to be printed in Milan, one of the few places capable of creating a book of this size to the required standard. 

Geographx director Roger Smith said it was a major project for the company.

“We coordinated and worked with dozens of cartographers in six different continents to make the maps. We were also responsible for developing the relief mapping, the colour and textural backgrounds, oceans and seas for the entire atlas," he said.

“We also did a myriad of what we’d call ‘little jobs’ but they weren’t really! This included helping to source data and there was some major innovation – our Kiwi No 8 wire abilities were very much to the fore. Absolutely nothing in Earth Platinum was straightforward. The IT challenges were the most significant; the file sizes were massive as they contained a great deal of data and complex relief images."

Geographx is a mapping company that creates custom maps for print and electronic media, specialising in topographic representation and 3D visualisation using applied GIS, virtual reality, digital imaging and vector graphics.

The publication of Earth Platinum was a truly international effort, however.

The editing, checking, proofing and correction processes were carried out by teams of different people in different countries, which took almost 12 months to complete.

Two sample pages of Earth Platinum will be exhibited at the Spatial Expo, a public open day to be held in the Wellington Town Hall from 10am-4pm on Tuesday November 22. The expo is part of the Surveyors and Spatial Sciences Conference 2011. 

Smith will present a paper on ‘The Making of the World’s Biggest Atlas’ to the conference on Thursday November 24.

Until now the world’s biggest atlas has been the Klencke Atlas, published in 1660, which measures 1.75m x 1.9m when open and has 39 pages.

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