Atlas & Geography
Small Blue Planet: The Real Picture World Atlas
Small Blue Planet: The Real Picture World Atlas (Now What Software/Cambrix Publishing) will be of major interest to anyone obsessed with satellite imagery and maps. Or acronyms. In fact, there are enough NOAA’s, AVHRR’s and DMSP’s in this disc to make your head spin, and unfortunately many of them aren’t defined for you. At one point you are given a choice of viewing a half-dozen types of images, all identified by acronym. What the acronyms stand for isn’t revealed until you make a selection, and even then the definition is visible only for a moment before the screen changes. Once you do access an image you are able to zoom in on it, and there are corresponding political maps available with very basic information provided for each country. For multimedia, you get audio clips of 15 different phrases being spoken in 70 languages, which quickly wears thin. There’s no denying that some of the satellite images are quite beautiful, and zooming in on them and poking around is the main attraction of the disc. Ironically, one of the highest-resolution images on the disc is of downtown Baghdad – although the publisher apparently didn’t see the humor in it, as the associated text makes no reference to the Gulf war. NASA rejects, former pilots, and all those thrilled by seeing our world from above will appreciate this CD-ROM.