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Creating a landscape atlas: a demonstration and discussion.

There are many methods and ideas for conveying landscape information. This paper analyses the development of a demonstration landscape atlas. An object-oriented information template helps an atlas to be a living database. Atlas material can be updated regularly, including absorbing stakeholder stakeholder n. a person having in his/her possession (holding) money or property in which he/she has no interest, right or title, awaiting the outcome of a dispute between two or more claimants to the money or property.  suggestions and layer contributions. The inclusion--in the atlas itself--of facilities that encourage stakeholder involvement in package development is one of the most important contributions of this paper. A purposeful pur·pose·ful  
1. Having a purpose; intentional: a purposeful musician.

2. Having or manifesting purpose; determined: entered the room with a purposeful look.
 atlas design also means that text and graphics combine to add value to the information delivery, including through interpretation and synthesis. Atlas developers should not be considered as mere technicians, but as a combination of information facilitator, manager, technician and artist.


Landscape maps are formalised Adj. 1. formalised - concerned with or characterized by rigorous adherence to recognized forms (especially in religion or art); "highly formalized plays like `Waiting for Godot'"
formalistic, formalized
 relational representations of data and meaning. They portray understandings of environmental and social information across space. Landscape maps have been around for a long time (Dorling and Fairbairn, 1997, p.6). In Eurasia, they date back to at least 6200 BC, with the still extant ex·tant  
1. Still in existence; not destroyed, lost, or extinct: extant manuscripts.

2. Archaic Standing out; projecting.
 map of Catal Hyuk, Anatolia (O'Connor and Robertson, 2004). In Australia there is a long tradition of songlines, probably developed over many millennia, which are maps that can take the form of rock engravings, verses and rituals (Nanou, 2003; Rose, 1996, p.7). Where such examples describe multiple landscape characteristics, they could be described as landscape atlases.

By nature, landscape atlases have multiple information stakeholders Stakeholders

All parties that have an interest, financial or otherwise, in a firm-stockholders, creditors, bondholders, employees, customers, management, the community, and the government.
. Environmental professionals, farmers, students, tourists, amongst many other people, all might want to access landscape information, possibly even want to contribute to a package; these are people with different backgrounds and different motivations.

Add to that the perspectives and contexts which do not necessarily have a human voice (e.g. a koala koala (kōä`lə), arboreal marsupial, or pouched mammal, Phascolarctos cinereus, native to Australia. Although it is sometimes called koala bear, or Australian bear, and is somewhat bearlike in appearance, it is not related to true , a wetland, or a river), and it is apparent that issues such as interpretation and flexibility are important, as well as inclusion and integration of information. Whilst an atlas can be pitched to suit potential viewer preferences, what should set a landscape atlas apart from other publications (including more technical atlases or data portals) is that it treats a space from many different vantage points, but most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially
, with a relatively open and balanced style.

Hillman Hillman was a famous British automobile marque, manufactured by the Rootes Group. It was based in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, near Coventry, England, from 1907 to 1976. Before 1907 the company had built bicycles.  et al. (2003) argue that holistic and balanced approaches to landscape management are as much a consequence of how management is undertaken as of what management is about. They suggest that it is a positive thing for management processes to be adaptive and participatory; these ideals are upheld in this paper. Hillman et al. (2003, p.229), observing increases in social capital (e.g. better organisation and trust), write that:
   these changes allowed for a more open,
   'non-defensive' use of information and a
   consequent increased engagement ... with
   the full range of information rather than
   identifying individual information 'parcels'
   as supportive or otherwise of a stakeholder
   interest. The capacity of stakeholders to
   move beyond a focus on single or 'pet'
   issues was seen as critical.

The research reported in this paper starts from the premiss that just as it is important to look both at the processes and forms of management, so too is it important to analyse the processes of information development, as well as the forms of it. The paper aims to undertake an analysis of this sort. There are many methods and ideas for conveying landscape information, influences that can have a large bearing on what information is available and how it is used. There has been a trend in recent years to see landscape atlas developers as mere technicians (Casey, M., pers. comm., 29 January 2004; Dorling and Fairbairn, 1997, p.vii). This paper, following on from Dorling and Fairbairn (1997), argues that landscape

atlas developers should function as information facilitators, managers, technicians and artists, amongst other roles.

The paper recounts and discusses the development of a demonstration landscape atlas, one developed by the author that deals with the Capertee Valley of NSW NSW New South Wales

Noun 1. NSW - the agency that provides units to conduct unconventional and counter-guerilla warfare
Naval Special Warfare
. This atlas is developed in several different, but related, versions: as hard copy, as a PDF file See PDF.  for CDROM See CD-ROM.  (and also downloadable from, and as a website (also available from the same site), and behind them all is GIS (1) (Geographic Information System) An information system that deals with spatial information. Often called "mapping software," it links attributes and characteristics of an area to its geographic location. , text and graphic material. Buckley (2003, p.150) notes that technological transformations in cartography--with printed, CD-ROM CD-ROM: see compact disc.
 in full compact disc read-only memory

Type of computer storage medium that is read optically (e.g., by a laser).
 and website atlases being common--allow a reconceptualisation of what is an atlas. All of the versions of the Capertee Valley Landscape Atlas (CVLA) relate in particular to landscape topography topography (təpŏg`rəfē), description or representation of the features and configuration of land surfaces. Topographic maps use symbols and coloring, with particular attention given to the shape and elevations of terrain.  and biodiversity biodiversity: see biological diversity.

Quantity of plant and animal species found in a given environment. Sometimes habitat diversity (the variety of places where organisms live) and genetic diversity (the variety of traits expressed
 themes, but the concepts raised have relevance to a wide range of environmental and socio-cultural domains, to the mapping of landscapes, even to information management in general.

The structure of this paper incorporates a background section before outlining some of the important procedures used in developing the demonstration landscape atlas. These sections are then followed by an overview of some other mapping packages (especially a NSW landscape atlas, CANRI CANRI Community Access to Natural Resources Information , 2003; and a Victorian landscape atlas, Imhof, 2003) in light of the demonstration landscape atlas. Finally, discussion and concluding statements synthesise Verb 1. synthesise - combine so as to form a more complex, product; "his operas synthesize music and drama in perfect harmony"; "The liver synthesizes vitamins"

combine, compound - put or add together; "combine resources"
 the salient points of the paper. These discussions, including the outline and overview, are valuable in their own right, as they comment on current mapping practice. They also provide an important foundation for discussing conceptual principles for the mapping of landscapes.


One of the most important and yet simplest decisions in the development of a landscape mapping package is to have multiple maps rather than just one layer. As was argued in Batten bat·ten 1  
v. bat·tened, bat·ten·ing, bat·tens

1. To become fat.

 (1999a, 2001) for landscape-topography representation, and in Batten and Aplin (2002) for biodiversity understanding, multiple information layers reflect the diverse nature of landscape. Multiple interpretations are meaningful and useful for these separate information domains, topography and biodiversity; they are certainly meaningful and useful for overall landscape appreciation. It is important that a landscape atlas, across its multiple maps, strives to convey the complexity of a landscape, to respect it, but also to describe organization.

Two other mapping principles encouraged in Batten (1999a, 2001) are rigour rig·our  
n. Chiefly British
Variant of rigor.

rigour or US rigor

 and meaningfulness. A technique used to work on these principles in the landscape-topography domain was to regulate the data brought into a package (morphological mor·phol·o·gy  
n. pl. mor·phol·o·gies
a. The branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of organisms without consideration of function.

 data itself as opposed to surrogate surrogate n. 1) a person acting on behalf of another or a substitute, including a woman who gives birth to a baby of a mother who is unable to carry the child. 2) a judge in some states (notably New York) responsible only for probates, estates, and adoptions.  data), and then to generate other information from that based on theory and application. However, it is not necessarily appropriate to regulate the data input into an open-ended landscape atlas. Both researched and perspectival information, from methodical me·thod·i·cal   also me·thod·ic
1. Arranged or proceeding in regular, systematic order.

2. Characterized by ordered and systematic habits or behavior. See Synonyms at orderly.
 and innovative data sources, are suitable. Whilst rigorous physical meaning is not necessarily required in all landscape maps, explanation is important, and putting layers in their context is valuable. These messages were carried in Batten and Aplin (2002). The four biodiversity domains--history and health, counting and valuing -are filters which provide some context, and are a part of a framework which encourages even more explanation of context, through the use of textual support.

Some form of written explanation is traditionally associated with maps in atlas productions. Key information, and more recently metadata are examples of it; but these do not necessarily allow commentary on meaning, beyond that of representation or background. Map support material can include natural language statements that undertake analysis and synthesis. This commentary should be about leading out and, importantly, opening up discussion of the mapped information. The text in national and international atlases (e.g. The Macquarie World Atlas, 1994, p.71) and guide books that run parallel to some single map productions (e.g. Porteners et al., 1997) are excellent demonstrations that there is a capacity to fulfil this point. It seems appropriate, given the inclusive and integrative philosophies of landscape appreciation, that such commentary be a pivotal part of landscape atlases (in contrast, the developers of CANRI, 2003, for example, do not use commentary). The role of atlas developers is obviously central to the character of a landscape atlas. They oversee content and quality. The role is even more central, though, should commentary be a part of atlas development, as argued for in this paper.

It is appropriate to precede a description of the CVLA by briefly recounting a previous mapping application from its developer. The Hastings Catchment catch·ment  
1. A catching or collecting of water, especially rainwater.

a. A structure, such as a basin or reservoir, used for collecting or draining water.

 Information Package (Batten, 1999c) was developed as a part of a project that researched two aspects of commentary: integration and interpretation (Batten, 1999b). Each map (some are presented in figure 1) was value-added with written commentaries of the visual information. Moreover, the different layers were linked thematically, both within the message of the interpretations and in PDF (Portable Document Format) The de facto standard for document publishing from Adobe. On the Web, there are countless brochures, data sheets, white papers and technical manuals in the PDF format.  using hot-links (areas which, if mouse-clicked, change the page location). Finally, an overall synthesis of the layers, a Hastings Basin landscape summary, was created, including the provision of some quick-grab statistics (figure 1b). Whilst this integration was rudimentary rudimentary /ru·di·men·ta·ry/ (roo?di-men´tah-re)
1. imperfectly developed.

2. vestigial.

, it did form--together with the interpretation--part of the conceptual platform from which the CVLA developed.


   The information contained in this document
   has been produced to assist public
   knowledge and discussion and to contribute
   to good landscape management. This
   'Landscape Atlas' has been set up as a
   living database. The information package is
   intended to be expandable and changeable,
   with a mixture of researched and
   perspectival influences. All presentations
   should be viewed in a balanced way. (from
   'intentions' page at beginning of CVLA)

In addition to the details explained in the quote above, the Capertee Valley Landscape Atlas (CVLA) has been developed as a concept package for a PhD project of the author at Macquarie University Location
University publications and material indicate that its campus is located in the suburb of North Ryde, although the Geographical Names Board of NSW indicates it is located in the suburb of Macquarie Park. The University has its own postcode: 2109.
. As a part of this process, topography and biodiversity were used as demonstration theme areas. Whilst these theme areas are closely linked to landscape character, other information, such as that contained in social layers, is also relevant to landscape character, and can fit into this version of the package in its 'general section'. As the CVLA explains, though, 'it is not out of the question for other major theme areas to be added in the future. In fact, it is a good idea for other theme areas to be added'.

Information frameworks for topography (after Batten, 1999a, 2001) and biodiversity (Batten and Aplin, 2002) were accessed and, whilst the collection of map layers in the CVLA is not as developed as it could be, each of the core components of those frameworks is covered. In the case of biodiversity, map layers demonstrate the four major filters discussed in Batten and Aplin (2002): biological indices, historical integrity, biotic biotic /bi·ot·ic/ (bi-ot´ik)
1. pertaining to life or living matter.

2. pertaining to the biota.

1. Relating to life or living organisms.
 health, and landscape valuing. In the case of topography, map layers include: general shape measures, process-zone measures, catchment measures, and a synthetic characterisation layer, as outlined in Batten (2001).

The general section of the CVLA includes a regional map (see figure 2), and, similar to the Hastings Catchment Information Package, an outline map and a geology map. Also presented is an initial climate layer--of average annual rainfall--and a demonstration perspectival layer that deals with heritage. This latter reference, to a perspectival layer, is of particular interest, as the following paragraphs explain.


As Dorling and Fairbairn (1997, p.80) evocatively account, an important task in atlas development is to acknowledge subjectivities within information provision. This idea is heightened even more within the Internet, for example, given the immediate nature of multiple stakeholders / wide uses. This paper argues that it is useful to acknowledge the context of information, giving background to subjective information, objective information, or information that is a combination of both, which most layers are (after Dorling and Fairbairn, 1997, p.160). Maps should not be treated as absolutely authoritative, as the last word on a topic. The following statement is included in each of the theme areas of the CVLA:
   Other information layers that are available
   for addition to the Capertee Valley
   Landscape Atlas, either currently available
   (with Paul Batten) or ideas for production
   (in italics), are: ...

Even more important in the context of openness is the message contained in the CVLA that encourages other parties to contribute to a regularly updated (living) information package:
   You are invited to share any of your ideas
   about the Capertee Valley Landscape Atlas,
   be it a suggestion for presentation or an idea
   for another layer. In addition, there are hardcopy
   pro-forma for both mapping and
   providing associated textual information.

The inclusion--in the atlas itself--of facilities that encourage stakeholder involvement in atlas development (see pro-formas in figure 3) is one of the most important contributions of this paper. The idea that different peoples' (not just experts') perspectives are of interest is an important manifestation of the landscape principles of inclusion and flexibility. This idea also promotes balance in an atlas. The expanded scope can offer a diversity of perspectives and interpretations.


Different Delivery Media

The option of having different delivery media is also about better connecting to potential atlas users. The CVLA is more accessible because it caters for different styles of readership. During the Capertee Valley fieldwork field·work  
1. A temporary military fortification erected in the field.

2. Work done or firsthand observations made in the field as opposed to that done or observed in a controlled environment.

, many stakeholders requested a hard copy version, whilst many others requested electronic versions, including both online and CD-ROM. The CVLA is available in each of these three delivery media.

Microsoft Publisher Microsoft Office Publisher (previously and commonly known as Microsoft Publisher) is a desktop publishing application from Microsoft. It is often considered to be an entry-level desktop publishing application, differing from Microsoft Word in that the emphasis is placed on  was used for the hard copy CVLA. Publisher pages are relatively stable and efficient at including and placing both text and images (especially in comparison with Microsoft Word A full-featured word processing program for Windows and the Macintosh from Microsoft. Included in the Microsoft application suite, it is a sophisticated program with rudimentary desktop publishing capabilities that has become the most widely used word processing application on the market.  or equivalent applications). This style of file format (Adobe Illustrator A full-featured drawing program for Windows and Macintosh from Adobe. It provides sophisticated tracing and text manipulation capabilities as well as color separations. Included is Adobe Type Manager and a selection of Type 1 fonts.  is a similar application) is therefore effective for organising the atlas pages. Whilst images available for the CVLA are also stored as separate files, it was not deemed necessary to do the same with text at this stage. The base CVLA maps are stored as GIS--in the case of the CVLA, this was ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc., Redlands, CA, The world's leading developer of geographic information systems (GIS) software, including programs that plot ZIP codes and addresses, demographic information and detailed, color-coded data.  ArcMap files (which organise data layers including shape files and grids). Through a process of trial and error, it was decided that it was better to not transfer the maps to the Publisher files (by saving as image files, such as EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) A PostScript file format used to transfer a graphic image between applications and platforms. EPS files contain PostScript code as well as an optional preview image in TIFF, WMF, PICT or EPSI, the latter being an ASCII-only format. , JPEG JPEG
 in full Joint Photographic Experts Group

Standard computer file format for storing graphic images in a compressed form for general use. JPEG images are compressed using a mathematical algorithm.
 or TIF TIF Tagged Image File (file name extension)
TIF Tax Increment Financing
TIF Temporary Internet Files
TIF Transport Innovation Fund (UK)
TIF Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund
, and then embedding 1. (mathematics) embedding - One instance of some mathematical object contained with in another instance, e.g. a group which is a subgroup.
2. (theory) embedding - (domain theory) A complete partial order F in [X -> Y] is an embedding if
 into Publisher, or even storing as those image files or PDF). The balance between quality and file size means that it is better to print straight from ArcMap for the CVLA hard-copy production.

PDF is suited to CD-ROM because it balances print-out quality (layouts are stable, including text and vector lines) and smaller file sizes, and has the added bonus of some capacity for document navigation. In this way PDF sits between file formats designed especially for printout (PRINTer OUTput) Same as hard copy.  (ArcMap and Publisher in this case) and those designed for online access (HTML HTML
 in full HyperText Markup Language

Markup language derived from SGML that is used to prepare hypertext documents. Relatively easy for nonprogrammers to master, HTML is the language used for documents on the World Wide Web.
, JPEG, and other browser-readable and download-efficient media). Both the CVLA pages stored as Publisher files and those stored as ArcMap files are translated to PDFs by 'printing' to the Adobe Distiller (note: the export to PDF option in ArcMap is not preferred to the Distiller for quality and file-size reasons). If a file is to be changed in any way, the publisher or ArcMap file is altered, and the PDF reprinted.

A noteworthy option taken in the web version of the CVLA was to have the map in PDF version accessible via one of the tag buttons at the bottom of the screen (see figure 4). Adobe Acrobat Document exchange software from Adobe that allows documents to be displayed and printed the same on every computer. The Acrobat system created the Portable Document Format (PDF), which is widely used in commercial printing and on the Web. See PDF.  has a good zoom function, which in a straightforward way adds an extra map-viewing function not offered by JPEGs. However, because of file-size efficiencies, the prime maps, the ones that are presented centrally when the layer is navigated to, are stored as JPEGs. In terms of creating the CVLA web version, arrangement and navigation through viewing panes (see figure 4) was the most time-consuming development, because a standardised Adj. 1. standardised - brought into conformity with a standard; "standardized education"

standard - conforming to or constituting a standard of measurement or value; or of the usual or regularized or accepted kind; "windows of standard width";
 HTML & Javascript mechanism was created. Once the Javascript components were written, though, the templates could (and can) be applied quickly to any new information layers (other online atlas developers can also cut and paste To move an object from one location to another. When the operation is complete, there is nothing left in the original location. It may refer to relocating files from one folder to another or to relocating selected text or images from one document to another.  the HTML and Javascript source material). It should be noted that the website could have functioned with alternative mechanisms to the ones developed. Javascript is a medium-level technological investment: it is similar to, but one step up from, basic HTML; Javascript certainly does not require as heavy an investment as Java or CGI CGI
 in full Common Gateway Interface.

Specification by which a Web server passes data between itself and an application program. Typically, a Web user will make a request of the Web server, which in turn passes the request to a CGI application program.
 programming. As is discussed further in the paper, irrespective of irrespective of
Without consideration of; regardless of.

irrespective of
preposition despite 
 what level of technological depth is used, the Internet is a medium that can be efficient and effective.


Information Synthesis and Package Structure

A pyramid structure was used in the CVLA (see figure 5). The base level of the pyramid is made up of individual maps and their support information, whilst the upper levels of the pyramid contain organisational material and commentary. Introduction, summary, and suggestions are used in these upper levels to explain and collate col·late  
tr.v. col·lat·ed, col·lat·ing, col·lates
1. To examine and compare carefully in order to note points of disagreement.

2. To assemble in proper numerical or logical sequence.

 the layers (base level) of each theme area (middle level) to provide transparency on decision-making and a quick grab on the subject matter of the atlas material and where it was sourced. The top level of the pyramid, which deals with the CVLA as a whole, synthesises through from the theme areas (the middle level of the pyramid). In addition to introduction, summary, and suggestions, the top level also explains the intentions of the package (as referenced at the beginning of the 'outline' section).


The base level of the pyramid has object-oriented information parcels. 'Object-oriented' means here a structure that includes autonomous information units or layers (after Macquarie Essential Dictionary, 1999). The latter term--layers--is more appropriate for the base level given that the same geographical space is being treated in each object. So as to provide some context for the maps, each layer is structured so that there are many opportunities for providing background and commentary (see figure 2 and figure 3). At the same time as being able to be viewed independently from the other atlas pages, each layer profits from being a part of an atlas. This is attributable to two inter-related concepts: context and perspective. The other material in the atlas provides further information on the contexts and perspectives involved within a map and its immediate support material. The atlas is more that the sum of its parts, particularly in terms of context and perspective.

The final decision about what themes to use, and what layers to include within them, is up to the landscape atlas developers themselves. Atlas developers make more than just technical decisions, as Buckley (2003, p.155) explains:
   Atlas mapping involves the presentation of
   coherent information about selected themes.
   This does not mean that the atlas maker does
   not need to deal with collecting and
   compiling, sifting and sorting, retaining and
   removing, and assembling and arranging

Developers manage a landscape atlas. Management involves controlling the character of a project, and bringing it through to presentation (after Macquarie Essential Dictionary, 1999). Atlas developers make major choices based on their appreciation of the subject matter and how it can be balanced. Technical decisions, such as those discussed above for delivery media, are important; choices regarding aesthetics also heavily influence viewing experience (Robinson, 1989)--atlas design, from backgrounds to headings to support images, were considered at length in the CVLA development. But probably the most significant of all the roles that atlas developers have is the shaping of the material in an atlas, all the way from theme and layer choice through to the meaning and pitch of each piece of commentary.

Different packages can even be created to suit different purposes. For example, the hard copy version of the CVLA demonstrates how a subset of layers can be collated--in this case the regional map, elevation map, and satellite image--and compiled into a tailored product--in this case an overview (of 16 pages) of the longer CVLA (currently 64 pages). As well as selecting the subset of maps, the development here involved, amongst other tasks, the tailoring of upper-level syntheses.

As inferred above, the principle of sourcing landscape information from multiple points is upheld in this paper. Individual CVLA information layers were developed as a result of both internal and external inspiration. The CVLA includes layers created in the process of its development (particularly the topography layers), but also layers sourced from other parties. Skills of facilitation Facilitation

The process of providing a market for a security. Normally, this refers to bids and offers made for large blocks of securities, such as those traded by institutions.
 are required in atlas development, where legal and other organisational issues need to be negotiated. Further, the process of tailoring such externally sourced information involves cartographic car·tog·ra·phy  
The art or technique of making maps or charts.

[French cartographie : carte, map (from Old French, from Latin charta, carta, paper made from papyrus
 skills such as those related to scale, resolution, accuracy, projection, generalisation Noun 1. generalisation - an idea or conclusion having general application; "he spoke in broad generalities"
generality, generalization

idea, thought - the content of cognition; the main thing you are thinking about; "it was not a good idea"; "the thought
, and description (after Dorling and Fairbairn, 1997). For example, the CVLA geology layer is a generalised Adj. 1. generalised - not biologically differentiated or adapted to a specific function or environment; "the hedgehog is a primitive and generalized mammal"

biological science, biology - the science that studies living organisms
 version (where classifications are less technical and grouped together) of externally sourced information. The development of this layer also threw up challenges, such as different data accuracies in different areas of the map, including some data being absent. It is a truism that challenges like these are negotiated on a case-by-case situation. In spite of this, or even because of it, atlas developers benefit from accessing principles such as those outlined in this paper.


Various issues encountered in the development of a landscape atlas relate to the political ecology Political ecology is the study of how political, economic, and social factors affect environmental issues. The majority of studies analyze the influence that society, state, corporate, and transnational powers have on environmental problems and influencing environmental policy.  of mapping and GIS (Harley, 1988, p.277). The capacity of the CVLA to be further influenced by viewers' feedback and contributions is a particular, positive example of such an issue. The following paragraphs overview various GIS projects and their 'power' implications. Before embarking on that overview, it is important to note that an atlas is not about actually doing on-ground management itself. An atlas is a tool that can help contribute to good landscape management, but it does not make field decisions. Decision-support systems are often misconstrued as decision-making systems.

High-end, online GIS projects, such as those using ESRI's ArcIMS are proliferating Proliferating is the multiplication of a certain thing. Often it is used as a biological term to describe the increase of cells due to cell division.

Look under proliferate or proliferation for more details.
 (for examples, see links off Mahoney, 2002). There is little doubt that there are positive features associated with these projects, and they are certainly getting better all the time. However, it is healthy to critique high-end projects, especially by asking how accessible they are, both for viewing and creating information.

High-end online GIS software This is a list of notable GIS software applications. See also the comparison of GIS software. Open source software
Most widely used open source applications:
  • GRASS – Originally developed by the U.S.
 packages are so resource-intensive that there can be a power imbalance between those who are able to be involved, and those who are excluded (after Dorling and Fairbairn, 1997, p.80). The development and distribution of landscape maps, however, is by no means necessarily immoral. As the MapCruzin (Clary-Meuser Research Network, 2003) and Inova projects (Goncalves, 2003) demonstrate, shareware Software on the "honor system." The concept is that users try a product, and if they like it, they voluntarily pay a set registration fee or make a donation to the program's creator. There are tens of thousands of shareware programs; some fantastic, some awful.  such as ESRI's ArcExplorer and other generic software (1) Ready-made software. Shrink-wrapped software. Contrast with "custom software." See shrink wrapped software and COTS.

(2) (Generic Software, Inc., Madison, MS, A company that specializes in software for IBM midrange computers.
 is available for the wide exchange of rich information. As the sub-heading on the MapCruzin homepage asserts, their network has a goal of 'democratizing the production and consumption of information and knowledge' (Clary-Meuser Research Network, 2003). In this spirit, the CVLA attempts to circumvent cir·cum·vent  
tr.v. cir·cum·vent·ed, cir·cum·vent·ing, cir·cum·vents
1. To surround (an enemy, for example); enclose or entrap.

2. To go around; bypass: circumvented the city.
 technology-dependence by offering a range of transfer formats (e.g. paper, CD-ROM, and online delivery) and facilitating stakeholder involvement (e.g. a pro-forma can be filled out and sent in to the atlas developer). The central role of the atlas developer is a position of power, but one that can be negotiated with a landscape ethic of inclusion, integration, and positive engagement (see also Aplin and Batten, in press).

The Community Access to Natural Resources Information (CANRI, 2003) is an online landscape atlas that uses high-end mapping and database technology (including a product developed in-house, 'ICMISS'). There are glimpses of exciting things here, but some fundamental principles should still be taken into account. In terms of friendliness of use, a question that immediately strikes the viewer of the CANRI mapping sites is whether they are overly technical, and whether the delivery process is time-efficient. It can take several minutes, even on a good computer and network, for CANRI maps to load. Not only is information output often burdensome, but getting layers into high-end landscape atlases, particularly in large organisations, can be ponderous pon·der·ous  
1. Having great weight.

2. Unwieldy from weight or bulk.

3. Lacking grace or fluency; labored and dull: a ponderous speech. See Synonyms at heavy.

An example of a simple but effective landscape map is one that was linked straight off the NSW Rural Fire Service website front page (NSW Rural Fire Service, 2003). It was a single JPEG image showing the spatial distribution of the then recent and ongoing NSW bushfires. As well as being interesting, importantly, this landscape map was accessible (both in terms of download time and map presentation); in other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently
, it was user-friendly. The map could have an option of higher resolution and zoom in, so that there was better access to locations and spatial relationships. This review of technological depth was taken into account in the CVLA development, in particular, with the dual use of JPEG and PDF maps in the online version. The option of pre-creating the online maps rather than have them created at the time of use (such as in high-end online GIS) is another important decision. Not only does this suit the limited bandwidths available now, but it also allows the different delivery formats (hardcopy, PDF, online) to correspond, and, more importantly, it eased the path of meaningful interpretation and synthesis (as maps and their support material could be easily matched).

Interactivity, where viewers are able to select and transform displays (Robinson et al., 1995), is, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Buckley (2003, p.150), 'the most important technological change in atlas making'. As was implied earlier, CANRI (2003) has strengths; and on the score of manipulating multiple layers, its mapping capabilities are impressive. High-end online GISs offer the opportunity for end-users to compare layers by overlaying o·ver·lay 1  
tr.v. o·ver·laid , o·ver·lay·ing, o·ver·lays
1. To lay or spread over or on.

 them. An important question, though, is whether interactive display options can distract from the information transfer process. As was also implied earlier, the development of the CVLA treated interpretation and synthesis as more important than dynamic overlay (1) A preprinted, precut form placed over a screen, key or tablet for identification purposes. See keyboard template.

(2) A program segment called into memory when required.
. Perhaps there is a middle ground, where all three online processes could be used, and where the dynamic overlay would not compromise the commentary or synthesis.

A Swedish ArcIMS site, the Naturatlas for Soderhamn! (Kartorna, 2003) is an example of a high-end online landscape atlas that does incorporate commentary--a generic commentary is available as a side-panel option. An even better example of a major landscape atlas production that does include commentary is the Victorian Resources Online or VRO VRO Variable Replacement Operator
VRO Vacuum Residual Oil (petroleum distillation)
VRO Virtual Reality Object
VRO Voted Read Only
VRO Video Recording Object
 (Imhof, 2003). Whilst the VRO is linked to a dynamic mapping capability, the majority of the site uses pre-made maps. More importantly, the VRO and the associated Regional Matters: Atlas of Regional Victoria (Information Victoria, 2003) augment pre-made maps with a brilliant style of layer summation summation n. the final argument of an attorney at the close of a trial in which he/she attempts to convince the judge and/or jury of the virtues of the client's case. (See: closing argument)  and interpretation of information.

One example of this capacity is the use of a brief but poignant style of upper level summation, as demonstrated in the following quote: 'Climate: Victoria has a moderate climate which is generally favourable to plant growth' (Imhof, 2003, Natural Resources Homepage). Similar to the CVLA, the VRO uses a 3-layer pyramid structure with an object-oriented base level, and a middle level split into an expandable set of theme areas (Climate, Landform land·form  
One of the features that make up the earth's surface, such as a plain, mountain, or valley.


A recognizable, naturally formed feature on the Earth's surface.
, Landuse, Soil, Water, Biodiversity, Vegetation, Land & Water Management, Investing in Land & Water).


Even though the CVLA has a focus on biodiversity and topography information, the concepts raised by its development are relevant to other applications, with different focuses and in different places and data realms. A major thread developed in the outline and comparison above is that discussions of context and perspective are important. All information layers are a mixture of subjectivity and objectivity (after Dorling and Fairbairn, 1997, p.160). Irrespective of whether atlas developers create a map themselves or incorporate an externally developed layer, they are in a position to use commentary to discuss the nuances of the information, its background, and its potential uses.

In this spirit, not only researched but also perspectival information is available for atlas compilation. From the end-users' point of view, one of the most important outcomes of the research reported here is the encouragement of their involvement. The CVLA has prominent and recurrent calls for end-users to submit their ideas or feedback, and even for them to contribute information layers that could be included in the atlas. Another concept intended to promote a culture of involvement is the pitching of the landscape atlas as a 'living' database; that is, one that has a capacity to change regularly. Open atlas development can be manifest right from the character of map layers, how they are presented, with what they are arranged, and how the overall atlas is compiled, integrated, and synthesised.

The task of creating landscape atlases can be an involved one, but it need not be a heavily resourced one. High-end landscape mapping has the potential of providing impressive mapping products, particularly with updating, high resolution, zoom and, if used well, overlaying options. But there should not be a situation where low-end maps are considered of no consequence. Simple maps, as well as being accessible, can also be beautiful, meaningful, informing, and balanced. This paper argues that creativity is more important than technology.

Atlas development is not mere technical work; it is information facilitation and management, involving technical, but also artistic, development. A professional culture of seeing mappers as only technicians is a poor one. It creates workplace tension, and adds to a culture of deterministic 1. (probability) deterministic - Describes a system whose time evolution can be predicted exactly.

Contrast probabilistic.
2. (algorithm) deterministic - Describes an algorithm in which the correct next step depends only on the current state.
 products. If the level of respect and acknowledgement of landscape mappers were to increase, then better productivity should follow for many reasons, including there being more freedom to develop creative and imaginative mapping products, and a mandate to access material in an inclusive, integrative and flexible manner. The mappers in turn should match this respect by delivering on these principles of application.

Principles such as accessibility and balance are important to both high-end and low-end landscape mapping. The Capertee Valley Landscape Atlas demonstrates that simplicity and information depth can go together. The development of the CVLA reveals an expandable / changeable nature, and an object-oriented design Transforming an object-oriented model into the specifications required to create the system. Moving from object-oriented analysis to object-oriented design is accomplished by expanding the model into more and more detail. . The latest, long version in PDF and HTML, and a hard-copy short version, amongst others, are testament to the changeable nature of the overall design of the information package. The object-oriented information template means that maps and associated information can be added efficiently and effectively.


Aplin G. and Batten, P.E., in press, "Open-minded Geographers: Their Potential Role in Integrated Adaptive Environmental Management", Australian Geographer.

Batten, P.E. and Aplin, G., 2002, An Expanded Conceptual Framework For the concept in aesthetics and art criticism, see .

A conceptual framework is used in research to outline possible courses of action or to present a preferred approach to a system analysis project.
 for Biodiversity, IAG IAG Insurance Australia Group
IAG Information, Advice and Guidance
IAG International Association of Geodesy
IAG Interagency Agreement
IAG International Association of Geomorphologists
IAG International Association of Gerontology
IAG International Audio Group
 Conference, Canberra, ANU Anu (ā`n), ancient sky god of Sumerian origin, worshiped in Babylonian religion. , July.

Batten, P.E., 1999a, The Development of a Landscape Mapping Framework, Honours thesis, Sydney, Macquarie University.

Batten, P.E, 1999b, "Catchment information packages: a format for the distribution of environmental information", RipRap rip·rap  
1. A loose assemblage of broken stones erected in water or on soft ground as a foundation.

2. The broken stones used for such a foundation.

, vol. 13, pp. 8-9.

Batten, P.E., 1999c, Hastings Catchment Information Package, (Online). Available: appendix3.htm Accessed 15/2/03.

Batten, P.E., 2001, A New Approach For Landscape Mapping, 6th International Conference on Geocomputation, Brisbane, Australia.

Buckley, A., 2003, "Atlas mapping in the 21st century", Cartography cartography: see map.
 or mapmaking

Art and science of representing a geographic area graphically, usually by means of a map or chart. Political, cultural, or other nongeographic features may be superimposed.
 and Geographic Information Science, vol 30, no. 2, pp. 149-159.

CANRI, 2003, Community Access to Natural Resources Information, (Online). Accessed: Accessed 30/1/03.

Clary-Meuser Research Network, 2003, MapCruzin, (Online). Available: Accessed 30/1/03.

Dorling, D. and Fairbairn, D., 1997, Mapping: Ways of Representing the World, London, Longman.

Goncalves, P.P., 2003, Inova GIS, (Online). Available: Accessed 30/1/03.

Harley, J.B., 1988, Maps, knowledge and power, in Cosgrove, D. and Daniels, S. (eds), The Iconography iconography (ī'kŏnŏg`rəfē) [Gr.,=image-drawing] or iconology [Gr.,=image-study], in art history, the study and interpretation of figural representations, either individual or symbolic, religious or secular;  of Landscape, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (known colloquially as CUP) is a publisher given a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1534, and one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). .

Hillman, M., Aplin, G. and Brierley, G., 2003, "The importance of process in ecosystem management: lessons from the Lachlan catchment, New South Wales New South Wales, state (1991 pop. 5,164,549), 309,443 sq mi (801,457 sq km), SE Australia. It is bounded on the E by the Pacific Ocean. Sydney is the capital. The other principal urban centers are Newcastle, Wagga Wagga, Lismore, Wollongong, and Broken Hill. , Australia", Journal of Environmental Planning Environmental planning is a relatively new field of study that aims to merge the practice of urban planning with the concerns of environmentalism. Essentially speaking, while urban planners have traditionally factored in economic development, transportation, sanitation, and other  and Management, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 219-237.

Imhof, M., 2003, Victorian Resources Online, (Online). Available: vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/vrohome Accessed 5/9/03.

Information Victoria, 2003, Regional Matters: Atlas of Regional Victoria, Melbourne: Victorian Government.

Kartorna, 2003, Naturatlas for Soderhamn!, (Online). Available: Accessed 30/1/03.

Macquarie Essential Dictionary, 1999, Sydney: The Macquarie Library.

Mahoney, N.C., 2002, Websites Powered by ESRI's Internet Solutions, (online). Available: visit_sites.html Accessed 30/1/03.

Nanou, 2003, Songlines, (Online). Available: Accessed 7/7/03.

NSW Rural Fire Service, 2003, Frontpage (Online). Available: Accessed 27/1/03.

O'Connor, J.J. and Robertson, E.F., 2004, The History of Cartography The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page.
, (Online). Available: ~history/HistTopics/Cartography.html Accessed 8/1/03.

Porteners, M.F., Ashby, E.M., and Benson, J.S., 1997, "The Natural Vegetation of the Pooncarie 1:250 000 Map", Cunninghamia, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 139-231.

Robinson, A.H., 1989, Cartography as an art, in Rhind, D.W. and Taylor, D.R. (eds), Cartography Past, Present and Future, London: Elsevier Applied Science for the ICA Ica (ē`kä), city (1993 pop. 108,724), capital of Ica dept., SW Peru, on the Pan-American Highway. It is a commercial center for the cotton, wool, and wine produced in the region. There are several summer resorts nearby. .

Robinson, A.H., Morrison, J.L., Muerhcke, P.C., Kimerling, A.J. and Guptil, S.C., 1995, Elements of Cartography, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
: Wiley.

Rose, D.B., 1996, Nourishing nour·ish  
tr.v. nour·ished, nour·ish·ing, nour·ish·es
1. To provide with food or other substances necessary for life and growth; feed.

 Terrains: Australian Aboriginal Views of Landscape and Wilderness, Canberra, Australian Heritage Commission.

The Macquarie World Atlas, 1994, Revised Edition, Sydney: The Macquarie Library.

Paul Batten, PhD Researcher, Department of Human Geography Human geography, is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of patterns and processes that shape human interaction with the environment, with particular reference to the causes and consequences of the spatial distribution of human activity on the Earth's surface. , Division of Environmental and Life Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia. Email:, Phone: (61 2) 9850 6372; Fax: (61 2) 9850 6052.
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michael shields (Member): m.s. 4/4/2008 4:18 AM
I like the sound of that.

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Author:Batten, Paul
Publication:The Globe
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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