Tobias Dahinden, Kathrin Kellenberger, Isabella Flüeler
Institute of Cartography
ETH Zurich
8093 Zurich

Abstract: First steps to a Prototype of a digital atlas of the world for schools

The swiss atlas of the world for secodary schools exists since 1910. It was renewed periodically about three times per decade. The atlas consists of about 400 maps of different topics and of different towns, regions, countries and continents. The data shown in the maps are stored on papers, to each map belongs a box with several hundred papers. Since 2002 each map is also stored in DGN- or in the proprietary FreeHand9-Format. The atlas is released in book form.

During the last years the wish growed up to add an interactive part to the atlas. That's why we started a project last summer that evaluates how to produce interactive maps and which topics are useful for a school atlas.

Because the atlas is a long term project we need to store our maps in a data format that we still can read in more than ten years, we should be able to integrate interaction, it should also be possible to distriubte the maps over the World Wide Web. So the choice was (of course) SVG, also because we already had some experiance with this format.

Our work had several stages. First we tried to convert an existing map in FreeHand- and one in DGN-Format to SVG. This work was done with MaPublisher and Adobe Illustrator. The work was not just using the export function because our maps are optimized for printing, not for screens. As a second step we included some interactions in the maps. The next step will be to show this maps to several teachers and ask them, which interaction we implemented is useful an which are not. Another step is to fill the data of an existing map in a database and generate the map direct from the data, yet this work is rather complicated. The next steps will be to evaluate which symbols (color, size, form) for the rather complex economy maps are useful. Other steps for the future are to find a way how to update the maps and how to access and refind maps.