Map Quests – The New York Times

As the daughter of a geography professor, I grew up in a home full of maps, which papered the partitions of our front room and crammed my father’s cramped examine. In a digital age the place maps have turn out to be all however out of date, I nonetheless love them. I comb flea markets and secondhand bookstores on the lookout for previous maps of the locations I’ve lived. I at all times have a highway atlas in my automotive, which turns out to be useful in locations with no cell service, just like the distant hollows of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And I gather atlases of all types and spend far an excessive amount of cash on them.

If you’re going to purchase only one atlas this fall, make it the 11th version of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ATLAS OF THE WORLD (National Geographic, $215), a 7.eight-pound behemoth that’s a foot and a half lengthy and a foot broad. Its mammoth dimension permits you to recognize the main points in its dozens of maps — satellite tv for pc maps, cultural maps and bodily maps, all of them hanging. The greatest one, “Life on a Warming Planet,” lays out the place temperatures are rising (and by how a lot), the place permafrost is melting, what nations emit probably the most carbon dioxide and which massive cities are at excessive threat.

Betsy Mason and Greg Miller’s ALL OVER THE MAP: A Cartographic Odyssey (National Geographic, $50) is an absorbing and quirky history of mapmaking. Divided into categories (waterways, cities, landscapes, economies and so on), it tells the stories behind scores of maps, ranging from the odd (one from 1858 showing the kinds of meat sent to Paris’s butchers from different parts of France) to the imagined (a 2015 map of Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time”). There’s a wonderful early example of medical cartography — an 1856 map, made by a doctor, which documents three outbreaks of cholera in England — and a World War I-era German map pinpointing submarine attacks.

“Maps don’t just show people the way. In the early days of flight, they showed that the impossible was now achievable,” says Maxwell J. Roberts, who wrote AIRLINE MAPS: A Century of Art and Design (Penguin, paper, $30) with Mark Ovenden. The first commercial route maps — vividly colored and often geographically improbable — bear little resemblance to the sterile ones found in today’s in-flight magazines.

Part history, part geography, AN ATLAS OF GEOGRAPHICAL WONDERS: From Mountaintops to Riverbeds (Princeton Architectural Press, $50) illuminates the world of famous 19th-century expeditions. The authors — Jean-Christophe Bailly, Jean-Marc Besse, Philippe Grand and Gilles Palsky — have amassed drawings, maps, graphs and tableaus that trace the adventures of various explorers and show how the science of measuring altitude developed.

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