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Interactive atlas offers new way of looking at Switzerland

Cartographers in Switzerland have added a new dimension to the way the country can be viewed with a new CD Rom atlas, which allows users to access a wealth of information about Switzerland at the click of a mouse.

This content was published on January 25, 2000 - 17:22

Cartographers in Switzerland have added a new dimension to the way the country can be viewed. A new CD Rom allows the viewer to zoom into a three-dimensional landscape, where they can see how population statistics change, or inspect the lay of the land from altitudes as high as 7,000 metres.

This new way of looking at the country is provided by the interactive Atlas of Switzerland, which has just been launched at a media conference in Berne.

Developed to meet the changing interests and demands of users, the atlas provides statistics on 250 subjects using a total of 600 maps.

Work on the atlas began in 1995, involving the Federal Statistics Office, the Federal Office of Topography and the Institute of Cartography at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

The editor-in-chief, Professor Lorenz Hurni of the Cartography Institute, says the new atlas is light-years of its paper cousin. "By simply pointing your cursor at a community, you can access a huge amount of data about that specific community, from its spatial dimensions to population statistics."

The new CD provides a wealth of information about numerous subjects, including industry, population trends from 1850, arts and crafts, primary resources, energy, foreign trade, transport and education.

Peter Niklaus, the director of the Swiss School Software Centre, described the new CD Atlas as one of the best he had seen. "The advantages lie in the users ability to compare data from widely varying periods. Schoolchildren can use it interactively by answering questions or providing data for the period in question."

By Paul Sufrin

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