National Library of Australia

Teachers notes: Arnold Colom’s Zee-atlas


A student:

  • identifies and understands how the form, style and presentation of information can influence its meaning.
  • describes how processing and transmitting information has changed over time and continues to change and develop.

Maps record and document three dimensional spaces in two dimensional form. In order to return to a place in space we use a map. Even though we cannot travel through time, ancient maps give us the perception of how our understanding of the world has changed shape over time.


  • What is the difference between an atlas and a collection of maps?
  • What tools of navigation were used in the 1600s? What would be used today? What are the advantages and disadvantages of modern cartography methods?
  • The Dutch explored the world seeking silks and spices. What do you think their first impressions of Western Australia and Cape York Peninsula were?


  • Find the location of your home in a local street directory. Make a three dimensional model of your street map. Materials: cardboard, glue gun, paint. Have your teacher cut out your cardboard shapes for you with a Stanley knife.
  • Check out the National Library’s Terrestrial globes. Australia is shown as New Holland with the east coast joined to New Guinea. What date where they made?


  • Look at maps made from satellites on Geoscience’s Australia’s website: Compare these maps to Arnold Colom’s Zee-Atlas. What are the similarities and differences?