Best World Atlases Reviews

National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of the World, Fourth Edition
It is a science-related magazine that started in 1888
This particular world atlas is at its fourth edition
The best thing about this world atlas is that the company used the latest technological advances and satellite data
Octopus Publishing Group Limited Atlas of the World
Oxford's Atlas of the World
Updated every single year
There are a lot of beautifully captured photographs, charts, graphs, tables etc.
Merriam Webster’s Student Atlas
Meriam Webster’s world atlas is meant mainly for children
Contains 132 pages of valuable and accurate information
Merriam Webster’s world atlas is colorful and engaging

Best world atlases

In a world where the internet has taken over and represents the primary source of information, world atlases are less and less purchased. People usually use maps they find online, as well as Google Earth. I am not saying that using the internet to acquire information is a bad thing, but for some reason, it makes me sad to see such books thrown into oblivion. The same fate has the cookbooks and any other book that may provide general information in science and other fields.

A world atlas, in my opinion, should be a cherished book in any household. Looking for a map online is fine, but you get another feeling when you take the book from the shelf and start looking for what you need to know. It is like reading a book on Kindle. A lot of people do it, and that is fine because it saves the paper and all that, but you have a whole other feeling when you have a hard copy in your hands.

Why you should go for a world atlas

I know that the internet is known for its speed and efficiency, but that does not mean the old-school world atlas should be forgotten. There are still reasons you should always have one on your bookshelf. I think you should buy one, and here are my reasons why.

You get more information from a world atlas

When you look for a location online, you just type in the name of that particular location and the internet will provide it for you. It is fast, and you get what you need in just a second. A world atlas, on the other hand, will give you so much more than that. Since online searches are far more popular, atlases must make up for it by giving you something extra. You will also receive info on the area’s geographical relief, flora, fauna, and much more. You do not get only the physical information of the location, but you get some additional details that will make you learn something, even if it is for your general knowledge.

There are several kinds of worlds atlases

If all world atlases were alike, everyone would buy the same copy. However, you have where to choose from. You have political maps, climatic maps, natural disasters map, and every other kind of map you can think of. It depends on your interests, to be honest. For example, if you like to learn about earthquakes, there is a world atlas that will show you where the events occur. Plus, you get some additional info about earthquakes, which I find as lovely.

Both adults and kids can learn how to read a map

You would think that everyone would know how to read a map, but you would be wrong. It is not as common now as it used to be. Now, you just insert your destination into your GPS, and some lady tells you when to make a right or left turn. However, with a world atlas, you can teach your child how to actually find a location on a physical or political map. Your kid may never use it, but who knows? It is not a valued skill, at least not as before, but I find it useful to know how to read a map.

World atlases are interesting

To be honest, I miss those books when I was a child that helped us learn things that interested us. I am not saying that the internet is bad because it provides easy fixes, but the idea of taking out a book and finding the piece of information you need is somewhat forgotten. I think that people should do that more often. You probably think that I romanticize the idea of a book, but it does give you a nice feeling.

How to choose the best world atlas

There are probably hundreds of copies of world atlases. While they may not be used as before, they are still printed by several publishers, including famous companies such as National Geographic. When it comes to making a choice, you should establish some criteria upon which you can base your decision. If you do not have any, here are some things you need to consider.

  • Your interests – as I stated before, world atlases reveal information on one or two areas, but it will never be able to provide all the information at once. Unless you want a world atlas that is a few hundreds of pages. For example, if you are interested in the fauna of the world, I bet you will find a world atlas that will teach you where are all the animals. Of course, you will receive some history on them, but that makes things even better.
  • Age group – not all world atlases are meant for the same age group. Children have a more difficult time understanding complicated wors, for example, which is why publishers came up with world atlases for children. Most of them have appealing animations, and pictures are the primary means of communication. Not big fancy words.
  • Hardcover or paperback – this is mostly a matter of preference, but I always find hardcovers to be more appealing. You have a different feeling when you hold one in your hands. Also, if the atlas is meant for your kids, a hardcover is more suitable because it will last longer. Kids do not always pay attention, and that may ruin the covers too fast.
  • Make sure that it is recent – as you can imagine, the world geography does not change from one year to the other, but new information comes up almost every year. Whether some political maps have changed, or the climate has gone a different way, this information needs to be accurate. Otherwise, you may be wrongly informed. Lucky for you, publishers update their world atlases quite often. It is just that there still must be some copies from a few years back. Make sure that you stay away from them.
  • Look at the publisher – I know that the publisher may be that last on your list of concerns, but unfortunately, it does matter. While I do not want to underestimate the seriousness of small publishers, the big ones have more resources and tend to provide more and accurate information. For example, look at National Geographic. You know that they have loads of resources and they cannot afford mistakes that could ruin their reputation. That is why they make some of the best world atlases in the world.

What are the best world atlases?

Well, if you have to ask, it means that you need some help in choosing the right one for you. As I said, you should never buy a random book because you may end up with an atlas that does not contain the information you are interested in. You can also read some world atlases reviews online to see what other buyers have to say about their purchase. That way you will know whether or not a particular product is worth buying. Another thing you could do is to buy one of the world atlases below. I am sure that they are what you are looking for.

National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of the World, Fourth Edition

Click here to buy it on Amazon

I imagine that you have heard about National Geographic, and I have yet to meet anyone who did not. It is a science-related magazine that started in 1888. Since then, it has known great success, and the National Geographic Society is very proud to bring science to everyone’s home. They have a TV channel as well, but my point is that National Geographic is a company that can produce the best world atlases.

This particular world atlas is at its fourth edition. The previous three were excellent at their time, but they became outdated. The company updated it and released as the fourth edition. It is family world atlas, which means that it explains things so that everyone can understand. It does not matter whether you are an adult or a child, the book is easy to comprehend either way.

The best thing about this world atlas is that the company used the latest technological advances and satellite data, and the result is a compilation of over 1400 images of maps, diagrams, graphs, and tables. And let’s not forget that National Geographic is world-renowned for it signature color photographs. People have won awards for those pictures. Overall, this is a world atlas that has it all: the understandable information, accuracy, and the beautiful photographs, all comprised of 400 pages. There is nothing you could not like about it.

Octopus Publishing Group Limited Atlas of the World

Click here to buy it on Amazon

The world atlas from Octopus Publishing is another book that I think you will enjoy reading. This is, in fact, Oxford’s Atlas of the World, and it is updated every single year. Every year, the publisher adds new pieces of information so that you can stay on top of whatever it is you want to know.

This time, the atlas has 448 pages, and it includes clear cartography of urban areas, as well as uninhabited places around the globe. The book opens with some information on world statistics, and this year’s special is on Land and Maritime boundaries. It contains satellite images taken by Nasa’s latest Earth Observation Satellite, Landsat 8 which launched in 2013.

The language of the atlas is a bit difficult. I do not think a small child can understand everything in it, but it is an excellent world atlas for adults. It is accurate, it comes with a ton of information about the world’s map on matters of climate, environment, political, religious, and many more aspects. There are a lot of beautifully captured photographs, charts, graphs, tables, and whatever else you can think of. You will learn a lot if you choose to go for this one.

Merriam Webster’s Student Atlas

Click here to buy it on Amazon

Unlike the other two products, Meriam Webster’s world atlas is meant mainly for children. They may not have the same understanding of some concepts as an adult does, which is why the author thought of bringing the information to children in a more comprehensive style. And that is how she came up with this edition.

The student world atlas contains 132 pages of valuable and accurate information. It is intended for children in grades from 5 to 8. The last time it has been updated was back in 2016, which is barely two years ago, so the information is still fresh. It includes details on every important aspect of the world.

Merriam Webster’s world atlas is colorful and engaging, just as you would expect from a children’s world atlas. Your child can use it in the classroom. It includes full-color maps, photos, charts, and graphs that are easy to understand. You will also find details on the continental drift, the ocean floor, natural resource, environment, as well as a map skills section that introduces key geography concepts. I am sure that you or your child will find it most useful.

My recommendation

Depending on what you are interested, you should be able to make the right choice on your own. However, if I had to choose one of the three products above, I would go with the National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of the World, Fourth Edition. It is complete, accurate, and it has gorgeous photos. I think it is by far one of the best world atlases I have ever seen.


World atlases may be a little outdated, but you have to admit that they are interesting to browse through. You can find all sorts of information about the world, learn new exciting things, and of course, know the joy of browsing through an actual book. One of the world atlases above should help you experience that. Click here to buy on Amazon

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