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National Geographic has new atlas

One of the US’s most venerable mapmakers, the National Geographic Society, is updating its massive Atlas of the World. The eighth edition of the classic volume goes on sale Oct. 14, featuring more than 15,000 changes and updates from the last version.

It shows the Earth’s highest point is higher: More accurate measurements of Mount Everest show a height of 29,035 feet, up 7 feet from previous measurements. And the lowest point is lower: The Dead Sea is now listed at minus 1,365 feet, down 26 feet. There’s a new nation, the first in this century: East Timor.

Other changes include showing the locations of spaceports for the first time, a newly defined boundary between Yemen and Saudi Arabia and new administrative divisions in Slovakia and Czech Republic, updated shorelines for Lake Chad and the Aral Sea.

It’s a hefty book — 416 pages and seven pounds — with a price to match, $165. But it’s also more than just a book. The atlas includes access to the society’s online atlas Internet site, providing updates that can be printed, and access to more detailed maps and views of places around the world.

Viewers can watch a turning globe display such data as cloud cover, sea-surface temperatures and physical geography. Other displays allow the viewer to zoom in from a look at the globe to detailed images of specific places, such as Buckingham Palace in London or the Capitol in Washington.

In the massive atlas itself the traditional political maps are supplemented with a section of thematic maps such as wildlands, population and energy, transportation and communication, fresh water and conflict and terror.

And many other parts of the atlas are updated including the city section, which features detailed downtown street maps and many photos.