Developments in Internet mapping have been dynamic in terms of emerging tools, services, databases and participants. New products developed by the private sector and open source projects are providing new means for constructing and disseminating maps. However, there is a need for research and development to support the creation of cohesive information products that synthesize information, such as Web-based atlases. Existing products tend to focus on processing and representation of primary information resources which are not highly integrated or mediated. To address this need for research and development, the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre has developed an atlas authoring framework which supports the incorporation of maps and multimedia information drawn from local or distributed sources. The framework supports a model whereby the user can act as cartographer. The chapter provides a detailed discussion of the framework beginning with an examination of the model and the associated controllers and views which underpin the development approach. Advantages of this Model-View-Controller approach include the ability to create multi-purpose information objects without a-priori knowledge of the application context. Conceptually, this approach fits with emerging agent based approaches to information system development. Examples of several framework components or widgets are provided. The demonstrated widgets are used in processes including multimedia display, mapping, metadata processing and semantics. Moreover, how widgets are integrated is explained. To ground the discussion, the framework components are presented in the context of a community-based atlas development process. The chapter concludes with an examination of the potential implications for these types of developments. In particular, developments are analysed in the context of larger movements such as locative media, Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web. Research needs and future directions are presented.
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