Atlas offers giant window on the world

01:14, Nov 22 2011
Earth Platinum
TWO TO TURN: Gordon Cheers, of publisher Millennium House, with a mockup of how the biggest atlas in the world, Earth Platinum, will look.

A New Zealand company has helped create the world's biggest atlas – a monster almost two metres tall, which needs two people to turn one page.

Earth Platinum measures 1.8 metres by 2.8m when open, weighs 150 kilograms, and has 128 pages of maps, text and photographs.

The atlas is not quite a reality yet – it will be printed in Italy in December. Just 31 copies will be printed and will go on sale for US$100,000 (NZ$132,000) each.

But sample pages are on display in Wellington today.

Geographx, based in Wellington, co-ordinated the cartography of the huge book.

Its director, Roger Smith, said some copies had already been ordered from Middle Eastern countries. Another key market would be museums and galleries. "They would put it on display and turn one page a day. That would take two people."

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Until now, the world's largest atlas has been the 1660 Klencke Atlas, a gift from a group of Dutch merchants to Britain's Charles II. It is 1.75m by 1.9m and is on display at the British Library.

Earth Platinum is the brainchild of Australian publisher Gordon Cheers, who wants the books to last 500 years or longer. "This is his legacy to the world, really," Mr Smith said.

Geographx is a mapping company that creates custom maps for print and electronic media. "This has been a major project for our team. We co-ordinated and worked with dozens of cartographers in six 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."

Two sample pages of Earth Platinum will be on show at the Spatial Expo in Wellington Town Hall from 10am till 4pm today.

The Dominion Post