* Julsun Pacheco

Geog 761 - Cartography Seminar Web Map Site Evaluation

These are the map sites I used for evaluation:


I have selected these sites based on their variety of features on graphical-human interface and quality of map presentation. The first one is interesting because of its feature on interactivity. Some of the problematic maps in the web are presented in the second site. A clickable map is also available. The third site is more like an index of different variety of maps available in the internet. You will find different kind of maps, from the ugliest to very good looking map.

Maps are so plentiful in the internet, that you can almost always find one in every web site. There are a few sites where you can interact with the map, where you can explore its various forms of presentation. Browsing of maps in the internet are simply just a waste of time, if it duplicates what's already available in hardcopy version. It should carry a more specific type of information, rather than just place names.

Let's move on and cruise the information super-highway. Heyaaahh!

You can go to:

  • => MAP SITE 2, or
  • => MAP SITE 3 if you want

    MAP SITE 1:

    * Earth Viewer at fourmilab.ch

    There are three types of information you can get from this site: (1) topography, (2) current cloud cover, and (3) IR cloud of the Earth, which can be viewed using two types of map projections: plate carree and perspective/ orthographic projections. There is some degree of interaction in the way maps are presented. First, the display screen can be resized (default is 320 pixels wide); second, maps can be viewed in several ways: using the rectangular projection, and the perspective projection. Earth can be viewed from the Sun, the moon, from the nightside of the earth, from the point of view of 6 orbiting satellites (Mir, HST, Vanguard, GRO, COBE, TDRS), and finally the user selected latitude and longitude. This degree of interaction is very sophisticated one, but those who have use maps before can appreciate the interaction. The main purpose of these maps is to show the current weather conditions in the form of cloud cover on most part of the globe. There is a little bit of time lag if you change your view-point because the server has to process the new setting of the map and send it for display in your screen.

    The layout and design are not too bad. The current cloud cover option is shown in duotone to distinguish the clouds from that of the Earth surfaces, i.e. water and land cover. This is an improvement over the IR cloud cover. Scale is not really appropriate in this form of presentation, because the idea is to show the extent of day and night and the general topography. For most purposes the map is presented in an appropriate size. You can experiment and view any part of earth you want by choosing the latitude and longitude. In this case, you may need to find an atlas for reference which is not very convenient. Click this to go to the first map.

    The weather data is reference from: http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/ (Univ of Wisconsin) server. More weather data images can be obtained from this site. You will find out that the two major sources of data are coming from GOES-7 Snapshots and GOES-8 Snapshots There is also Sea Surface Temperature maps available for the whole world, if you want to explore that. Latest images and archives of images for the past twenty four hours are available.

    Overall the display is not a bad one and perhaps achieve its objective of giving a generalized view of Earth. It is a good idea to link your map such as this one to the main data source for further exploration, especially if you are interested in creating an animation. Or perhaps the author should have incorporated weather animation in the site. This would be interesting to see in the future. There is really not much cartography in this site. What could have done is to superimpose some climatic diagram or symbols in the maps. Unless you are trained metreologist, you can't really tell more about the weather, except to know that there is or no cloud cover in the area.

    You can go to:

  • => MAP SITE 1
  • => MAP SITE 3

    MAP SITE 2

    Map index at Clarke University

    *A map index is presented here that are either available in-house or reference to other www server sites. Some of them are: You can go to:
  • => MAP SITE 1

    MAP SITE 3

    Maps at Akebono at Stanford University

    * Click here to go to Akebono map sites at Stanford University, or use those I listed below. There are several sites link to this page, but I have listed only those that I tested and found some maps for evaluation.

    These sites use scans from the hardcopy maps of the CIA. Scanned maps are a little better due to the higher resolution when scanning, whereas screen shots are limited to only 72 dpi.