Coastal Web Atlas Features

Coastal Web Atlas Features

Elizabeth O’Dea (Washington Department of Ecology, USA), Tanya C. Haddad (Oregon Coastal Management Program, USA), Declan Dunne (University College Cork, Ireland) and Kuuipo Walsh (Oregon State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-815-9.ch002
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A growing number of coastal web atlases (CWAs) for different regions exist around the world. These atlases are developed to meet the needs of a particular organization or audience. Each atlas developer faces the challenge of how best to design a web site that clearly communicates their content in an intuitive way. While most of these CWAs are developed independently of each other, many of them share common features. Interactive maps enable users to visualize data along the coast. A variety of geographic data are presented to inform users about the coastal environment and show professionals what data is available. Atlases include tools and supplemental text for users to learn more about the coast. This chapter provides an overview of common features which are found in existing coastal web atlases.
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Map Area

A key component of a coastal atlas is the map area of the main map web page. This is the area where the geographic data are displayed. Many coastal atlases have a central map that serves as the focus of the atlas, such as the Marine Irish Digital Atlas (MIDA) and the UK Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas (O’Dea et al., 2007). Others, such as the Coastal Atlas Flanders-Belgium (Belpaeme & Konings, 2004), contain maps on multiple pages which focus on specific topics. No matter the design, the map area is the most important feature of the atlas. It allows users to visualize the geographic data and see how the features in those layers relate to each other spatially.


The size of the map area can vary from occupying a small section on the page, such as the Gulf of Maine Mapping Portal (GoMMaP) where the map takes up about a quarter of the web page, to covering the entire web page, such as in the Oregon Coastal Atlas or the MarineMap Decision Support Tool (DM Solutions & GoMOOS, 2009; OCMP et al., 2009; MarineMap Consortium, 2009). It is also possible to let the user choose the size of the map area they wish to interact with. In Oregon’s North Coast Explorer, for example, the user has the option of viewing a small, medium or large map (Oregon State University, 2009). Similarly, the African Marine Atlas lets the user select the pixel size of the map: 400 x 300, 600 x 450, or 800 x 600 (ODINAFRICA, 2009). This flexibility accommodates different screen resolutions and allows the user some control over how the page appears on their monitor.

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