Kiwis on Every Map in the World’s Biggest Atlas   22 Nov 2011

The mark of Kiwi cartographers will be on every map in Earth Platinum, the world’s biggest atlas to be published in December. Wellington’s internationally-recognised cartographic company Geographx has been responsible for the coordination of cartography of this huge book.

Earth Platinum measures 1.8m x 2.8m when open, weighs 150kg, and has 128 pages of maps, text and photographs. The pages are so large that the atlas has to be printed in Milan, Italy, one of the few places capable of printing and hand binding a book of this size to the required standard. Just 31 copies of Earth Platinum will be published; each copy costs US$100,000.

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

Geographx director Roger Smith says, “This has been a major project for our team. 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.

“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.

“The publication of Earth Platinum has been a truly international effort. The editing, checking, proofing and correction processes were carried out by teams of different people in different countries – a major coordination project in itself. These final stages took almost 12 months to complete, it really was a marathon effort by all concerned.

Earth Platinum has been a wonderful project for the Geographx team to work on. It’s tested us greatly – in all the right ways. We’re very proud of what our team has achieved, sometimes over enormous odds. It’s been a pleasure to work on this and with all the other people involved with the project,” says Roger Smith.

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, 22 November. The Expo is part of the Surveyors and Spatial Sciences Conference 2011. Roger Smith will present a paper on ‘The Making of the World’s Biggest Atlas’ to the conference on Thursday, 24 November. Geographx has a trade stand at the conference; its maps will be for sale, $20-$30 each, including the map A Visitor’s Guide to Dubious, Dodgy & Dangerous Destinations: South Island*.

Geographx is a mapping company that creates custom maps for print and electronic media. It specialises in topographic representation and 3D visualisation using applied GIS, virtual reality, digital imaging and vector graphics. The company produces feature wall maps, atlases, interpretative and interactive maps, aerial obliques and panoramas, recreation maps, thematic maps, and dynamic 3D models of the past, present and future.

The company is based in the historic Dominion Observatory in Kelburn, in the Botanic Garden close to the Cable Car’s top station.

*The map is a light-hearted take on some of our more colourful and evocative place names. Places referred to on this map are all listed in the New Zealand Geographic Place Names Database.

(Adroite Communications)

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