'The physical atlas' by Alexander Keith Johnston
Detail from 'The physical atlas: A series of maps & notes illustrating the geographical distribution of natural phenomena' by Alexander Keith Johnston. Edinburgh, 1848.
Combining the latest scientific discoveries with fine engraving and hand colouring, 'The physical atlas' by Alexander Keith Johnston is the first English language atlas devoted to thematic maps.
distribution in Britain.
February's Map of the Month display from the atlas shows 'Outlines of botanical geography, the distribution of plants in a perpendicular direction, in the torrid, the temperate & the frigid zones; with indications of the mean temperature of the year and of the coldest and warmest months.'
Half of the atlas's maps were based on Heinrich Berghaus's 'Physikalischer atlas', which conveyed the discoveries of Alexander von Humboldt. Johnston added as many again from other scientific authorities.
Cartographer August Petermann was staying in Edinburgh at the time and helped with the venture. Petermann made the first population map of Great Britain, also on display in 'You are Here'.