Author Topic: Desktop Atlas can show you geographical coordinates for any populated place  (Read 765 times)

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Software Santa

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Desktop Atlas can show you geographical coordinates for any populated place in the world

Introduction to Desktop Atlas

Sometimes you want to know geographical coordinates of some locality in the world. There are many ways to find this information if the locality you are interested in is rather well-known, i.e. included to common maps and atlases. But if it is not well-known, it is sometimes difficult to find the exact coordinates. In this case you have to either query some full-length resource or just interpolate.

Well, there are full-length resources in the Internet. E.g. you can check at (objects in the whole world), (objects in US), (objects outside US). You can search online with these sites. But as normally it takes some time to formulate your query and get the answer, you may once realize that you want to look it up in a quicker manner. Is it possible? Yes. For this the Desktop Atlas is designed and written. All the information is maintained on your local hard drive, so the access to it takes a second.


Desktop Atlas is FreeWare Open Source program distributed under the MIT license.

System Requirements

Desktop Atlas has been tested in Windows XP only. In theory it should work without problem in Windows 95/98/ME/2000 as well, but this wasn't tested. I'll appreciate if you let me know the results of running Desktop Atlas in OS other than Windows XP.

Desktop Atlas databases are stored in SQLite format. The databases require a rather significant disk space on user's HDD. The Desktop Atlas executables require a small disk space. Check the Download section for actual file sizes.


There's no installation program. All Desktop Atlas distribution files are self-extracting archives. Just download Desktop Atlas and one of its available databases, collect all files from the downloaded archives into the same directory and run Atlas.exe.

What's inside Desktop Atlas database?

The Desktop Atlas database is based on the open data published by National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN). These data use US FIPS 10-4 administrative and territorial division. The Desktop Atlas database fully inherits this division, so please don't wonder if it is somehow different from the standard accepted in your country.

The mentioned sources contain geographical coordinates not only for populated places, but also lakes, mountains, important roads, even underwater objects... Certainly it would be very nice to access all this information from a local hard drive, but... it would require tonnes of disk space. For many potencial users such an approach would be inacceptable. Therefore a compromise solution is implemented: the Desktop Atlas database contains information only about populated places. But in return these are almost all populated places in the world, of them are even split into districts.