By Ty Burr
February 24, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

Elegant and sometimes hauntingly beautiful, Small Blue Planet: The Real Picture World Atlas, alas, could stand to be a little more useful. The disc provides four ways of looking at the Earth: a relief map, a Chronosphere to track night and day, a mosaic of satellite photos, and a political map. The last is the weakest, with handy information on each country linked to cutesy sound files (hear ”good morning” in 75 languages) and a map with less detail than the ones hanging over the chalkboard back in homeroom. The satellite photos, however, exert a raw, discombobulating power as they depict Antarctic ice sheets, downtown Paris, and Niagara Falls. B

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