The Essentials

Travel Tip: How an Atlas Can Be Deceiving

Each year, my favorite Christmas present to give friends is an Atlas. I always want to encourage them to have a better sense of place.

But sometimes, the maps don’t actually tell the truth.

Want to visit Sandy Island near Australia or the historic Filippo Isle? You can’t. They may be on some maps, but they don’t exist. They just appear there by accident.

Ever hear of Crocker Land in Northern Canada? It showed up on maps courtesy of a shameless map by explorer Robert Perry. He used the fictitious island to lobby for expedition money from an investor who just happened to be named George Crocker.

And there are many more. But it still doesn’t stop me from buying more Atlases.

By Peter Greenberg for