By Tamara Abraham
It is the latest stomping ground of the super-rich, a refuge from the world at The World - a luxurious development built off the coast of Dubai.
From the ground it must be hard to distinguish one 'country' or 'continent' from the next but from space it comes sharply into focus.
This image from a Nasa satellite looking down on the sandy beaches in the Persian Gulf shows the full-scale and ambition of the development.
Global ambitions: The latest image of The World development, in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Dubai, taken by Nasa's Terra satellite. This close-up, below, shows the various countries and continents
Flanked by two palm-shaped peninsulas, the world map-shaped archipelago - made up of 300 islands - is now the most dramatic feature of Dubai's coastline.
Since the start of the project in 2003, satellites images have documented the development's creation.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, left, as well as Michael Schumacher are believed to have bought parts of The World archipelago
An image taken just a year into the project shows evidence of early dredging and building work, now forming the The World's northern hemisphere.
The two most recent images, taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on Nasa’s Terra satellite show how far the project has come in just six years.
Each continent is clearly visible, every country represented as an individual island.
This image was taken just a year into the project's development in 2004. The beginning of early dredging and building work can be seen top right. What appear to be the outlines of Russia and North America can be seen in this close-up, below
The project, which required 34million tons of rock, and involved dredging 124 square miles of sand from the sea, was completed last January. It is protected from erosion by a 17-mile breakwater.
The massive engineering project was the brainchild of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and constructed by Nakheel, one of the world's largest property developers.
Most of the individual islands, each around 150,000 to 450,000 sq ft in size, have now been sold to wealthy private owners, believed to include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and Michael Schumacher.