World Map Replaces Place Names With Their Original Meanings [Pics]

World Map Replaces Place Names With Their Original Meanings [Pics]
Arts & Culture

The Atlas of True Names replaces the names of geographical areas with their etymological origins.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 21 june 2013

Cartographers Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust invite people to ‘look at the world with fresh eyes’ through their compilation of special maps that use the etymological origins of places instead of the familiar names that they currently go by.

The Atlas of True Names displays the original meanings of states, countries, land formations, and even bodies of water. To give you an example, instead of ‘Sahara’ the atlas is labeled ‘The Tawny One’, which is derived from Arab, es-sahra or ‘the fawn coloured, desert.’

The maps also include a comprehensive index of the derivations. On their website, the cartographers write about how places got their original names. Some geographical names seemed to be rooted in what man saw in his environment. Some places got their names based on the characteristics of the people who lived there.



Hormes and Peust have compiled the maps of the world, the British Isles, Canada and the United States. Aside from the Atlast of True Names, the duo have also come up with the Atlas of Viticulture, which shows the world’s wine production areas.

These ‘true name’ maps are available for sale on Maps Online and Omnimap.

Take a peak at the Atlas of True Names in the gallery below.


Atlas of True Names


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