Access Policy Sunday, June 29, 2003

General Access Philosophy
Anyone on the Internet is able to access Atlas and its search mechanisms. The data on Atlas is freely downloadable.

Atlas Audience
While anyone can access Atlas, the intended audience, ie, the targeted Internet users, for Atlas are GIS users looking for data to employ in their GIS applications. These GIS users can range from experienced, well-seasoned GIS users to beginners.

Standards for Access

  1. The downloaders work in a similar fashion. A user, who has learned to use one downloader, can use any of the others.
  2. With one click on the Atlas home page, the user can begin the process of searching for data.
  3. If the user knows in which collection of data to search such as the 1998 DOQQs or the 1:24,000 DRGs, the user can get to the appropriate downloader in two clicks from the home page.
  4. Metadata, when available, is downloaded with any data downloaded.
  5. A user can "jump" between downloaders without losing the geographical area of interest.
  6. Graphics are kept to a minimum. Atlas users prefer quick access over flashy graphics especially since Atlas users are often repeat users of the site.
  7. The background color and style changes whenever major additions in terms of data may been made in order to quickly alert Atlas users to a change in the website.
  8. Downloader nagivation tools have been kept simple. The number of these tools as been limited to prevent displaying a bewildering array of tools to a user.
  9. Atlas uses frames. Browsers that do not support frames are not supported.
  10. Atlas attempts to make the same capabilities across different browsers on different operating systems. The Java applet version of the ActiveX control allows for nonWindows Internet Explorer users to have the same capabilities as the Windows Internet Explorer users do.
  11. CGM files are kept to under 100Kb in size whenever possible. In those situations where the CGM file is expected to go over 100Kb, the user is first warned. This is to allow users with slow connections the ability to "opt-out" of downloading files that would take more time to download through their connections than they are willing to accept.
  12. The CGM file mechanism is the standard on Atlas for displaying live, interactive maps.

Long Term Goals for Access

  1. We are reviewing the W3C Level One Guildlines to determine how compliant Atlas is. The long term goals, ie, goals for the remainder of 2003, include bringing Atlas into compliance with some level of these guildlines.
  2. The CGM files will be replaced with SVG files or suitable standard.
  3. Through the use of standards of the Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC), Atlas data will be available to the GIS applications of users through more direct mechanisms than the download-and-unzip process currently employed.

Contacting the Webmaster

If you have any questions about the practices of this site or your dealings with this web site, you can contact Farrell Jones, webmaster, at