As we hold this book in our hands, it may be easy to forget the many people who have contributed so much to it; who have invested so much time and commitment for several months over the past two years. The production of this atlas has been a very exciting experience, yet it would not have been possible without the dedication of the following people.
First we would like to thank the staff of the Department of Statistics (DOS) of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), who played an invaluable role not
only in making the Population Census 2005 available, but also by making active contributions to the project in many different ways.

Under the guidance of the Director General, Mr. Samaychan Boupha we benefited from a very close and efficient collaboration with Mrs. Phonsaly Souksavath, Deputy Director General, and Mrs. Thiraka Chanthalanouvong. Furthermore, Mr Kingphet Atsanavong provided crucial technical assistance in data preparation and analysis.
We would like to thank all of them for their outstanding work. Mr. Bounthavy Sisouphanthong, Vice Minister of the Ministry for Planning and Investment also gave us valuable support.
We would like to thank him not only for his expertise and enthusiasm but also for his foresight and support in making the statistical data spatially explicit and available to decision-makers and the public.

This project could not have been set up without the strong and continuous help provided by the Lao National Mekong Committee Secretariat (LNMCS) under
its Director General, Mr. Chanthavong Saignasit. We are especially grateful to the Deputy Director General, Mr. Sourasay Phoumavong, for sharing with us the idea of the atlas from the very beginning and giving us his full support to make it happen.

Mr Sangkahne Thiangthammavong also played an important role in handling many important tasks for the project. The project coordination was efficient thanks
to the team of the NCCR North-South office in Vientiane, namely Ms. Manila Vorasarn.
The flexible support of Mr. Oulavanh Keovilignavong in many different domains was very important as well. Many of the maps presented in this book would not look so professional without the expertise of Mr. Adrian Weber of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. Not only did he support us very competently in cartographyand GIS, but he also made extraordinary efforts to improve data quality from different sources.

Further support in cartography was also provided by the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern, Switzerland.
Cornelia Hett and Kaspar Hurni made important contributions, for which we would like to thank them very much.These maps would not be very useful if there were not the explanatory texts accompanying them.
Tremendous efforts were put into these texts and we are most grateful to all contributing authors mentioned on page 7.
These texts were carefully revised by Dr. Kay Panzer of Germany, who invested a lot of time and commitment and we would like to express our most sincere thanks to him. At the same time we enjoyed the exceptionally efficient and professional services of Ms. Maureen Brown and her team who managed the English editing and all Lao to English translations and vice versa with so much knowledge and understanding leading to an excellent result.

We owe a lot to Mr. Robert Brown, graphic designer, who was responsible for the layout as well as the design of the front cover of this Atlas. He has invested an incredible amount of time and personal enthusiasm into this project leading to a result, which is far above our initial expectations in terms of design.
We highly appreciate this and thank him very much.

Finally we would also like to thank the reviewers of this book who checked it thoroughly before print and made important suggestions for improvement.
We are grateful to Mr. Chanthavong Saignasit, Mr. Samaychanh Boupha and Dr. Thomas Kohler for their work and comments.
Last but not least, we would like to express our thanks to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) for making this Atlas possible, not only
through the financial support but also by providing us continuous support and confidence throughout the project.

We would also like to thank the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) for further financial and in-kind support of the project and for making research possible, which is oriented towards concrete real-world problems and committed to sustainable development.