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Traditionally, cartographers have produced atlases as ‘composite’ products containing maps, photographs, diagrams and text. They are produced on paper, discrete media and distributed media. They are ‘pre-composed’ or ‘constructed’ products, whereby the cartographer controls all of the atlas content and how it is delivered to the user. It is a ‘predictable’ product, where the user is only a consumer and has no input into the design or content of the atlas.
Web 2.0 presents a new view on what can be done when provisioning users with cartographic materials. It is a different way of delivering cartographic media which, in many cases is basically non-cartographic, but delivers information that needs to be spatially defined and controlled if usable geographical information is to be assembled. It is a new publishing genre for cartography where users become part of Web-enabled collaborative publishing consortia. The tools and methods of delivery are different and they need to be explored, appreciated and applied.
This paper addresses these questions in the contexts of cartography and communications system design. The concept of an ‘affective’ atlas is proposed and its usefulness and effectiveness for better provisioning users with appropriate geospatial resources is being evaluated by a research team at RMIT University, Australia. It brings together researchers from Cartography and Applied Communication. The paper outlines theory being developed about how geospatial information might best be delivered using Web 2.0 and social software and its implications for the relationship of cartography to social, cultural, and narrative practice.
Keywordsinteractive atlas Web 2.0 collaboration communications system design integrated media
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