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VINE VOICEon 27 October 2011
As a reference Atlas, this must be the best - even in an age of online maps I keep checking this Atlas in the library. Not instead of online maps, but in addition to. With 125 enormous plates, it is a pleasure to browse and dream away - for the general overview, for planning, for finding connections. There is some lovely satellite imagery as well, 20 pages of 'the world today' with maps on diversity, energy, climate and the like; a few pages on mapping; 10 pages on geographical info (sizes, lenghts, depths, heights, population, flags, capitals...)
But most people come to this Atlas for the maps, and they are many, good and accessible, with pretty clear colour codings and symbols. The Greenland map howler apart (I think they are going to send out replacement maps for those) they are classy!

And this comprehensive one is the biggest, the heaviest, and the most comprehensive - here is a comparison list with all the others called "Times atlas of the world", as I was terminally confused. Until I did a bit of homework, and came up with the following: (all prices quoted from Amazon, October 2011)

The biggest is called COMPREHENSIVE, costs £80, is 47x32 cm, weighs a ton, has 125 map plates (not pages, as most spread over 2 pages) and a 217-page index.

The next is the CONCISE, costs £40, is 37x27 cm, has 105 plates on 198 map pages, and a 140-page index to 130,000 names. And 32 city maps, which is something the biggest lacks (apart from a few titchy ones on the main plates)!

The next is the UNIVERSAL, costs £ 28, is 32x27 cm, has 170 pages of maps (not plates - probably 90 plates), an index to 50,000 names, and 32 city maps.

The next is the REFERENCE, costs £25, has 104 pages of maps (not plates - probably 60 plates), an index to 45,000 names, and 46 city maps.

The next is DESKTOP, costs £ 13, 25x19 cm;
then the COMPACT, costs £ 8, 21x15 cm;
then the MINI, costs £ 5, 15x11 cm.

Are those names logical, or what? I don't think so - but I hope this little guide helps. I got myself the CONCISE (that is, number two) and am well-pleased. Beautiful clear mapping, and it just fits into the bookcase; the COMPREHENSIVE one is very beautiful, but will have to live permanently on some large, weight-bearing surface - you can't even read this like a book, you have to consult it flat!
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on 17 March 2017
Measuring 322.58 x 469.9 x 48.26mm and weighing almost 5.9kg, this is a tremendously large atlas. You certainly need to lay it on a table or the floor to read it. It feels like you are literally holding the world in your hands - it is that heavy! There are smaller editions of the Times Atlas, but it makes sense to go for the largest and most detailed.

Following a very intimidating contents page, there are various introductory sections, including images of the earth showing satellite images of the world's continents and an overview of the stars and planets. Also, information about the world today including earthquakes, volcanoes, climate change and population growth. A very interesting section is how the mapping of the world has changed due to new techniques and technologies. And there is detailed geographical statistical information about continents, islands, mountains and oceans.

The main part of the atlas is divided by continents: Oceania, Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica and the Oceans. All the map images are very clear and sharp - it is very easy to read the the place names and follow rivers and mountain ranges. It has to be said that reading place names in India is quite a challenge - maybe the compilers could have been more selective with the number of settlements for this country.

The incredibly detailed and long index is very useful if you are looking for a place name, but it may have been better to have it in a separate volume. The atlas would be much lighter and more maneuverable if it did not contain the index.

Overall, this is a fantastic atlas - possibly the best one available. The "National Geographic" atlases are also very impressive, but they are weighted more towards the Americas, where as "The Times" atlases have much more evenly distributed worldwide coverage.

There is a newer edition of this atlas, but for a much reduced price you can obtain a quality product that is only a few years out of date. If you keep the atlas for decades, you will not miss out much by purchasing an earlier edition.
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on 27 July 2016
My last purchase, I've skipped the 14th edition.
This is the best atlas available however. Lacks more in depth detail of China, India and some parts of Asia. Central and South America deserve more attention. Improvement in highways and high speed trains (like national geographic). Huge index.
More maps and a separate book with the index (accurate but takes a lot of pages) or publish a 650 or 700 page. Pricier, probably but at £150 more £40 or £50 for a perfect product it's well worth.
Excellent needs some improvement.
Waiting the foreign the 15th edition
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on 1 May 2017
I have many, many atlas in my house, but this is my reference one. best atlas ever put together by cartographers.
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on 14 January 2012
I have just purchased this atlas and I would like to say that all the critism in the press about the Greenland ice data last year doesn't detract from the fact this publication is still the finest geograpical referance tool any one could own and it was to the credit of Harper Collins to admit that they had made a mistake in the current edition and have now rectified this by producing an insert with a new map of Greenland that reflects the revised data I received mine in the post this morning the new information now contains all you need to know about the revised decision they made.

Now back to the atlas the one thing that I was impressed with was the wealth of information you get before you get to the world maps each chapter you come to is well represented and incredibly infromative and tells you everything you need to know about the world you live in today it will take you a little while to read this but you will be rewarded by this.

The maps themselves are incredibly detailed to look at and the one thing I was impressed with from the start was how clear you could see each countries internal boundries no other atlas on the market that I know of show them with this kind of clarity you really get to see a true repesentation of how each country is because there are 220,000 place names the fonts are small you may need a magnifying glass to see some of them but they are easy to find most of all the major towns and cities are clear to look at with the naked eye or if you wear glasses without any trouble.

With over 220,000 place place names this is by far the biggest atlas on the market today no other publication offers this much geographical knowledge and with the care the time and dedication that the publishers put into this atlas after all it takes 4 years to produce it is well worth the money you pay for it.

At 150 pounds it is expensive but you can find it cheaper online so there is no excuse for you not to buy one for me it will be the most treasured of possessions and I hope it will give me many years of pleasure and enjoyment to look at this atlas would be an asset to any home I would recommend it to anyone.

Stephen Turner

Ash Green Surrey

United Kingdom.
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on 15 January 2012
Would just like to say my daughter was really pleased with it, she is a Ph.D Geology student so she has seen an atlas or two. She is planning to visit every page on her travels! There is so much more to look at than just maps and although you can get information from the Internet, Google Earth etc there is nothing like a book to hold and treasure. Would like to add it was a superquick delivery and well packaged so would recommend all round.
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on 9 October 2011
As the two previous reviews elaborate at length (and, oddly, exclusively), there is a controversy about one map in this 13th edition of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World. This pertains to Greenland - an issue of importance to geographers and climate scientists certainly, but let us keep things in perspective. The one-star reviews appear to be part of a campaign against Murdoch; nothing wrong with that, but here I will consider this as an atlas for everyday use by the informed but casual user - and there, it still shines.
The Greenland map, with 56,000 inhabitants or 0.0008% of the world population (and a few thousands of tourists visiting each year), is hardly relevant to the vast majority of buyers who will use it to visit past and future travels, look up obscure places in the news, etc.
Like the 12th edition, the 13th edition falls short of the exemplary coverage of all regions of the world at a minimum scale of 1:5,000,000 (and often much less) that was found in earlier editions. It uses computer rendering rather than the elegant copper plate renderings of earlier editions. Of course, the upside is that it is updated, and other than Greenland relatively error-free. As such, this remains the best current atlas out there for the curious, casual everyday user - unless perhaps you want to spend all your time in Greenland, or staring at the Greenland map.
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on 3 February 2012
It is good to have an up to date World Atlas which gives such a broad range of information over and above the superb maps which,for their scale, give a great deal of detail. I have been pleasantly surprised to find some quite small towns and other features.
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VINE VOICEon 8 December 2011
Editions One to Nine of the Times Atlas of the World Comprehensive Edition were based on the Five Volume, Mid Century Edition using hand engraved copper plates, and I strongly reccommend anyone interested in fine maps to obtain a clean second hand copy of one of these earlier editions (bearing in mind that many library copies are sold due to the theft of some of the plates)as I prefer the map style to that of the newer digital editions (just compare the plates showing Sicily with Mount Etna and those of the Grand Canyon to see how much better they looked).The Tenth Edition (origionally called the Millenium Edition) was completely redrawn using digtal techniques. This Thirteenth Edition is an update of the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Editions, the main difference being the introduction of town plans as included in the Concise Edition. Also, the Alaska plate, missing in the Tenth Edition, was reinstated in the Eleventh Edition.

The main difference between the old copper plate editions and the new computer drawn editions is in the slight swing away from Western Europe with a more even balance with Eastern Europe, and the loss of the superb 1:5,000,000 plates of the whole of Russia which first became available in the Five Volume Mid Century Edition and were based on those from the newly published Atlas Mira. The new editions are still very heavily biases towards Europe (mostly at 1:1,000,000 and 1:2,500,000) and North America (USA and S Canada at 1:2,5000). Much of the rest of the world is at 1:5,000,000 and less (Russia is now at only 1:8,000,000 and Arctic Canada is at 1:12,500,000). Also, contour lines are absent on the newer digital maps and I think this gives them an out of focus appearence compared to the old, copper plate maps. I would love to see an atlas with the whole world at 1:2,500,000 (including Arctic Canada). Such an atlas would be physically possible, especially if all the superfilous encyclopaedic entries and photos were removed, but would it be economically viable? I doubt it! Most people still judge a world atlas by how well it maps their own country and continent. The AA published a much smaller format world atlas about ten years ago that managed to map the whole world at the uniform scale of 1:4,500,000World Atlas (AA Atlases). Dispite the fact that this beat the Times Atlas for minimum world scale (who could only manage 1:12,500,000 for Arctic Canada), the AA World Atlas soon went out of print. People would look at Europe at 1:4,500,000 and exclaim "rubbish!"

Sheena Barclay's statement on the Times Atlas video that "at 2,100,000 place names,100,000 more than any other world atlas" is not entirely true. Only last year, I purchased a new copy of the Atlas Mira (mentioned above) now published as 'The World Atlas' in English, from Omni Maps in the USA, (ISBN 5-85120-055-3) but strangely, unavailable in this country and not even listed on the Amazon website, which also has 220,000 entries. However, this atlas is not nearly as up to date or reliable as the Times Atlas, (it spells 'Aberystwyth' as 'Aberystwith') and is a lot more expensive. Another even bigger world atlas the Earth AtlasEarth: The World Atlas, is hugely expensive at £3,700, and mainly consists of photographs and text. Dispite its huge size and price and the undoubted beauty of its maps, the index consists of only 111,000 place names. The only other atlas that can compete with the Times Comprehensive for size of index is the Rand McNally, The New International World Atlas: 25th Anniversary Editionan American Atlas with 177,000 place names. Another large American Atlas is the National GeographicNational Geographic Atlas of the World, a political atlas with 149,000 place names. The page size of 1410 square cm is second only to the Earth Atlas at 2,220 square cm, and the maps are beatifully drawn, but coverage of areas outside of North America and Antarctica is disappointing. The other large world atlas which is readily available in Britain is the Philips Universal Atlas Philip's Universal Atlas of the World (Philips Atlas)which has a similar map area to the Times (both 28 square metres), but this is even more polarised towards the USA, has a poor coverage of Asia, Africa and South America, and has an index count of only 120,000. This is not necessarily a bad thing as due to the lower concentration of place names on the maps, they are easier to read than those of the Times Atlas. One of the criticisms of the Times Atlas maps is that they are often cluttered and difficult to read. Take Poland at 1:1,500,00 for instance. The map is far too cluttered, and would have been much better over two plates at 1:1,000,000.

In conclusion, dispite the criticisms mentioned above, the Times Atlas Comprehensive Edition is the finest World Atlas available in this country, and thus comes highly recommended. For anyone who already owns the Tenth to Twelfth Edition, I would not personally bother to update it with the new one, (much smaller and cheaper atlases are available to update boundary changes etc.) but would rather supplement it with one of the other atlases mentioned in the review.

Andrew Taylor

Worsley, Manchester
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on 8 March 2013
Tired of explaining to my beloved that the Cape of Good Hope wasn't the most southern part of Africa and to help her answer the numerous geographical questions in the afternoon quiz shows WE purchased this atlas. Great, it does what it says on the tin, even making allowance for the ice around Greenland. However our next purchase will be a lectern, it weighs a tonne and best consulted on a table not spread on your lap
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