The Times Atlas of the World is an excellent, if not the canonical, single-volume reference for geography, much as the OED is for the English language.

Large-format (12" x 18"), with eight-color maps covering:

  • topography
  • climate vegetation
  • population
  • political boundaries

    210,000 place names. Boondock, Egypt is not represented, but there's a Bompoka in Nicobar and a Bamfumungu in Zaire...

    I find the alternative projections very cool; we all know about Mercator, but there's also:

  • orthographic
  • equidistant
  • Lambert azimuthal
  • gnomonic
  • Mollweide
  • Gall's stereographic
  • Bartholomew's
  • the ever-popular Sanson-Flamsteed

    Costs about US$80 and well worth it; however look for older editions (it's at eight now) on remainder, or even as a bonus with Book-of-the-Month Club membership.

    ISBN: 0-8129-1298-5

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