Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2005, Vol. 15 ›› Issue (1): 87-96.doi: 10.1360/gs050111

• Climate and Environmental Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Visualization issues in the development of electronic atlas in China

WANG Yingjie1, SU Ying1, CHEN Xiaogang1, YU Zhuoyuan1, Liqiu MENG2   

  1. 1. Inst. of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;

    2. Institute for Photogrammetry and Cartography, Technical University of Munich, ArcisstraBe 21, D-80333 München, Germany
  • Received:2004-06-30 Revised:2004-11-19 Online:2005-03-25 Published:2005-03-25
  • Supported by:

    National Research Program of China, No.2003BA808A14


In this paper, we discuss the development of electronic atlas in China, with focus on the issues of visualization. We particularly categorise this development into four periods, and then analyse the characters in each period and discuss the visualization issues. The four periods are highlighted: 1) Infant period (<1990) characterized as computer assisted mapping with products of screen maps; 2) Starting period (1991-1995) characterized as object-oriented mapping with products of interactive maps/atlases; 3) Advancing period (1996-2000) characterized as integrated mapping with products of multimedia cartographic maps; 4) New era (> 2001) characterized as web mapping and adaptive map design with products of Internet maps and atlas as well as adaptive maps. It is obvious that the development follows the logical way from static to dynamic, and even real time visualization, from single user to multiple users, from presentation to exploration for effective communication and knowledge construction. Current research and development projects are focused on customisation of atlas information systems for real-time tasks, Internet operability, small displays and mobile environments. The major challenges involved in each of such customisation processes are identified and commented in relation to the further development of visualization.

Key words: computer-assisted mapping, interactive maps, multimedia maps, Internet maps, adaptive maps, electronic atlas