Atlas by Collins

Harper Collins Publishers. 2012. iOS, requires 5.0 or later. Version 1.0.3. $6.99.
Gr 6 Up—This expansive app contains seven globes: satellite, physical, political, population, environment, communications, and energy. For each thematic section text and illustrations combine to provide an overview of the subject."Living Earth" explores the natural world and a variety of landscapes, as well as changes in and threats to the planet, among other topics. "People and Power" considers where energy reserves are located, where energy is produced and consumed, how technology connects the world, and more. These and other subjects are addressed through questions and detailed answers are provided along with captioned photos, charts, and graphs (sources cited).Viewers swipe to spin the 3-D globes; pinch and pull to zoom in and out. While zooming in the globe will switch to Google Maps with an Internet connection. A location bar at the top of each screen marks the city and country or region displayed. A tap on the information symbol opens a window that reveals country statistics and information on the nation's land, climate, economy, demographics, and transportation, and a few images. Each entry also includes links to the country's web site.Menus below each globe provide readers with additional facts about our planet including birth rates, pollution hotspots, and Internet usage. Color-coded keys and symbols help readers interpret the information. (The app contains no narration or sound effects.)The satellite globe is the only one that downloads when users purchase the app. The others must be installed individually, and the amount of time required to do so is considerable. While the breadth of information in Atlas is impressive, its tendency to shut down and the substantial amount of storage space required (1.3 GB) may prove problematic for some users.—Cathy Potter, Falmouth Elementary School, Falmouth, ME

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