The world's largest ever atlas has today been unveiled at the British Library in London.
The record-setting Earth Platinum atlas, one of only 31 copies in existence, measures 1.854m x 1.45m with a depth of 6cm and required six members of Library staff to carry its 200kg weight through the doors.
Launched by Australian publishers Millennium House, theEarth Platinum, consists of 61 pages of maps, all of which are produced using satellite images and another photographic technique which overlays thousands of photographs into a single, seamless image.
TheEarth Platinumsupersedes another atlas in the British Library as the largest ever. The Klencke atlas, which is outsized by theEarth Platinumby 30cm on each side, was produced as one of a handful of monster atlases in 1660, and was presented to King Charles II to mark his restoration to the throne.
It was given to the Library in the 1820s as part of King George III's map collections.
Head of Cartography and Topography at the British Library, Peter Barber OBE, who wrote the introduction toEarth Platinum, says "The Library's collection of maps is one of the greatest in the world, and the maps are important not only for their use as geographical aids, but also as mirrors of the cultures in which they were created.
"While the Klencke Atlas provides an insight into the world of British monarchs in the seventeenth century, and what they thought was important about it, the Earth Platinumwill offer a reflection of what people of 2012 felt was worth recording about their very different world. It will be an astonishing resource for researchers in ten, twenty or two hundred years time."