Mapquest has launched a useful new site: Atlas.Mapquest.com. As the name suggests it’s an interactive atlas, directed toward students and teachers, with tons of useful data and information — from the CIA.
There’s a wealth of information here (as one might expect from the CIA) about populations, culture, the economy (and of course the military). There are numerous charts and photos. There’s also an interesting “compare countries” feature. Those interested can click the “find the insurgents” button to locate political agitators in each geography (just kidding about that last one).
You can get information about climate, languages, religions and other data on a global basis. For example, you can quickly discover that Mandarin Chinese is spoken by 13 percent of the world’s population or that Buddhists constitute 6 percent of the world’s religious populations.
Ultimately if you drill down you get to Mapquest’s Open site (featuring OpenStreetMap data).
My one criticism is that the data aren’t available at the level of individual cities or population centers (e.g., New York). Otherwise it’s a valuable and easy to use site, perfect for its intended audience of students.
It’s great to see new stuff coming out of Mapquest, which Tim Armstrong & Co. at AOL appear to recognize is one of their “crown jewels.”