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Posted April 3, 2003
It should be noted that there is considerable controversy surrounding the so-called 'Peters' projection/atlas. Arno Peters announced his 'new' projection in 1973, but it was actually first published in 1855 by James Gall and is referred to by cartographers as the Gall Orthographic Equal-Area Projection, or now occasionally as the Gall-Peters Projection. Gall considered this projection to be a novelty with no practical value. What this projection does is show area accurately, but it distorts shapes, directions, and distances. The real strength in the 'Peters' atlas has been in its PR. It has received great marketing that stresses its comparison to the inaccuracies of the essentially defunct Mercator projection (which is accurate for direction but not for area, shape, and distance). So basically Peters' supporters are promoting a map that is overall no better than the one they seek to replace, even though the Mercator is not used anymore. The truth is that neither the Gall-Peters nor the Mercator is ideal or very useful in today¿s day and age. The Mercator was at least ideally suited for maps used in exploration, but modern technology has consigned it to the history books. The Gall-Peters only provides interesting looking maps, but like Gall said it is merely a novelty. There are far better projections available for atlases, for example the Robinson's projection that the National Geographic Society and others have adopted. As for this particular book the text gives the typical marketing hype promoting the Peters projection, but it is visually a well-done book that does a very good job at displaying Gall-Peters maps if you have an interest in them. As a college geography instructor I find this book useful as a teaching tool and utilize it in a map lab by having students compare the maps in it to those of other projections to try to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each projection. It is for the visual quality of the maps in the book and that this book is a useful tool for showing the inadequacy of the Gall-Peters projection that I give this book 3 stars.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.