“Geography has made us neighbors,” John Kennedy said a half century ago. Now, in the interconnected world of the 21st century, geography is key to making us much more than neighbors. The time-honored tools of geography allow us to appreciate the challenges and aspirations of cultures around the globe and to grasp the interplay of forces shaping all our lives. Maps, more than any other tool, can help us decipher our complex world. Maps have been around in some form since humans understood the need to record their physical space. But today’s technology lets us see the planet from a perspective our ancestors could never have imagined. Satellites beam back images of every square mile of Earth, but these are like microscopic views of an elephant; there is much more to learn about the bigger picture. The outstanding visual images in this Third Edition of the National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of the World were designed to provide concise and relevant views of that larger canvas, either at a glance or in lingering detail. From physical geography to geopolitics, from new weather patterns to the geologic forces that for millennia have shaped and reshaped the continents, this single volume clarifies the forces and trends that affect our lives. Raw data from space-age technology and from the most preeminent sources have been compiled and compressed to create some 1,400 uncluttered images—maps, diagrams, graphs, tables, and more. These elements track critical global issues, from health and education to population dynamics, energy consumption, religions, and even terrorism. National Geographic’s signature color photographs bring these issues to life, while bathymetric maps reveal the nuances and beauty of the ocean floor and geologic maps examine the immense context of the past and what our landforms could look like in the future. Each section of the atlas opens with a map of natural—physical—forms and continues with a political map of the same area at the same scale, compiled and designed by National Geographic’s renowned cartographers. Accompanying text, regional political and thematic maps, and fact capsules track the emergence of new countries, new capital cities, changing elevations and shrinking seas, as well as explain the economies, social structures, and geophysical conditions that together create the on-the-ground realities of life. In a time when political, health, climatic, and environmental crises seem to erupt without warning, this atlas can be a valuable tool for understanding and even navigating the realities of our fast-changing world. At the same time, it offers a rare celebration of the marvels of the planet that is our home.