Changing Planet

2013 — A Cartographic Recap

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It’s that time of year—a time to reflect on how our world has changed over the past 365 days. There are many ways to gauge such changes, but none more tangible than comparing National Geographic maps published in 2012 to those published this year. Changes have been many: from the renaming of the west African nation of Cape Verde to Cabo Verde, to the adoption of Vietnamese toponyms. Since May, our cartographers have been diligently updating our database to have all of these changes reflected in the plates of our new tenth edition Atlas of the World—fifty years since our cartographers finished work on the first edition.

Due for publication in fall 2014, the new tenth edition atlas will portray such recent place-name and administrative changes as Brüssel, the German variant name for the Belgian capital, and the newly formed Namibian regions of Kovango East and West, to more subtle changes like the use of the schwa, or the letter ə, for place-names in Azerbaijan. What will this atlas portray? A  world where place-names and boundaries are ever more reflective of the aspirations of the people who live on our planet.

Juan José Valdés
The Geographer
Director of Editorial and Research
National Geographic / National Geographic Maps

Juan José Valdés is The Geographer and National Geographic Maps' Director of Editorial and Research. He guides and assists the Map Policy Committee in setting border representations, disputed territories, and naming conventions for National Geographic. As NG Map's Director of Editorial and Research, he is responsible for ensuring the accuracy and consistency of its maps and map products.

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