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Ask mapman[TM].

As Junior Scholastic's Mapman, my job is to design maps. This column gives you the chance to ask me anything about cartography (mapmaking) and geography (the study of the relationship between people and land, climate, and resources).

Throughout history, every culture has created maps of one form or another. Take, for instance, the people of the ancient Middle East. The Babylonians (who lived in what is now Iraq) made clay-tablet survey maps, while the Egyptians used graphic symbols for canals, gold mines, and tombs on their papyrus maps.

Since geography takes in so much of human experience, both past and present, I expect your questions to cover every corner of the globe!

Your first question arrived via e-mail:

Ali A. has a Two-part question about the lost island of Atlantis.

Q: Where was Adantis located? If it was a legendary place, who started the legend?

A: The story of Atlantis, an island of untold wealth, natural beauty, and clever citizens, has captured the attention of scholars for more than 2,000 years.

The Greek philosopher Plato was the first to describe Atlantis, in 360 B.C. Plato wrote, "There was an island situated in front of the Pillars of Hercules (see map); the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together." He then explained that the island sank into the ocean several thousand years before he learned of its history.

Today, many scholars believe that Plato created the story of Atlantis to describe his model of a utopia (perfect society). But a few determined experts think the lost island exists and that they will eventually find it.
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Author:McMahon, Jim
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Date:Sep 20, 2004
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