The University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute and the Cartography Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are conducting a two-phase evaluation to identify best practices and future directions for the design and use of coastal web atlases. Preliminary results of this research will be presented at the Social Coast Forum in Charleston, South Carolina in February 2020.
The first phase involves a comparative analysis of coastal web atlases in the United States Atlases from Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin will be reviewed by their interface design, usability, map representations and data services. The analysis is organized by the broad categories of maps, tools, catalog and learning resources, where:
- Maps are defined as: “Web maps which allow users to view coastal topics as presentational items and lack advanced analysis through exploration.”
- Tools are defined as: “Web maps and other tools which have advanced analysis and/or exploration features to guide decisions about coastal management.”
- Catalogs are defined as “Collections of data and/or media which is often accessed through an exploratory interface.”
- Learning resources are defined as: “Mostly textual information and/or story maps about a particular coastal topic which aim to educate the user on the topic.”
The only maps, tools, catalogs and learning resources included for review are those linked from the home page or other affiliated pages of the state coastal web atlases.
The second phase is a survey that will be sent to representative users of the same 10 state coastal web atlases beginning in November 2019. The survey will track the same four broad categories of the comparative analysis (maps, tools, catalog and learning resources) and will ask questions about user experiences, values, and opinions regarding these resources.
- Cartography Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: https://geography.wisc.edu/cartography/
- Sea Grant, University of Wisconsin: https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/