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Instructions for Editors: clickable maps

Last modified: 2005-04-09 by
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António Martins <> has responsibility for adding and updating the clickable maps to FOTW. His instructions follow.

See also: Other sites:

0. Intereditorial communication:

Each country editor and the map page coordinator will be in touch and communicate to each other when new maps are added (so they can be linked in the country pages) and when new geographic / administrative information is added to the pages (so it can be linked from the map pages).


1. File name system:

Older pages are labelled geo-xx.html, but newer ones follow the scheme xx(.html which emphasizes the country part, not the map part, and frees valuable characters, needed for country subdivisions. Map pages named in the older scheme will be renamed to the new only if and when that can be made without bothering the editors too much (i.e., when other changes have to be done anyway, or when there is only one or two links involved).


2. Linking in the country page:

Editors of mapped countries (see list at geoindex.html) should add a link to the map pages in the main country page (in the "see also" section), with a title like «Clickable map of Xxxxx subdivisions», OSLT. (This will also apply to country subdivision maps, which should be linked at the main page of each subdivision. If appropriate (and that's a decision up to country editors), the map page may be linked from other pages also.


3. Linking on the map page:

3a. Page links:

All country map pages will show at the beginning a "See also" link to the main country page — so that the visitor that clicked a country from the continent page may “visit” that country and not only be presented with the countries subdivisions map (let's face it, most people that click a country in FOTW-ws want to see its flag, not its map). This "see also" section will then link to the main country page and to any page concerning those subdivisions at large or to that subdivision level (flag laws, historical notes, general remarks, text-only listing of subdivisions etc.) — there should also be a link to the “upper” map — “continent” or country (in the case of a subdivision map), and to alternative maps for the same territory (historical etc.). Fictional example, France:

Clickable map of France (departments)
See also:

(** pages edited by the country editor)

3c. Map links:

All regions should be clickable, even if they lead to a “No flag information (ed.)” page. (In order to evitate charging the site with empty pages and the visitor's frustration of clicking on to them, maps will be added only when at least half of the mapped divisions have some flag info at FOTW-ws.)

Neighbouring countries should also be clickable, and linked to their main pages or to their own map pages if such exist; in some cases, neighbouring countries could be jontly linked to “continent” map pages. In the case of subnational maps, the neighbouring regions of the same country should be linked to their pages or to their own map pages if such exist.

3d. Legend key:

If the map has codes instead of names (often the case), a legend key should be provided. In this case, the key should also be clickable.


4. Uniqueness:

A map page should only contain the map, and inversely a map should always be located in a special map page. This enables easy “navigating” through the maps, by clicking in the “neighbours”. (This is also because because the map images, ususally large files, and the HTML code to produce the “clickableness” make the page very “heavy”.)


5. Keywords in map page:

Name of the country, only — as all map pages can be easily reached via the search.html page.


6. Map image:

6a. Image style:

To ensure a “clean” and homogenous look, Mark Sensen's colors and style will be always used. Some exceptions may be allowable, in cases of a very complex geographic situation (ZA bantustans, f.i.). The colors are:

R G B
mapped area 255 204 153
sea 102 204 255
coast 0 153 255
foreign country 153 153 204
boundaries 255 102 0
sea boundaries 153 153 153
alt. boundaries (local) 204 204 204
alt. boundaries (foreign) 204 153 204
disputed territories 255 153 204
other parts of the same country 204 153 153
other parts of the same subdivision 204 153 102
other parts of the same sub-subdivision 255 153 102

Toponyms should be written in Arial (or other similar sans serif face), 12 px. X-height (to denote a special status, if needed, 10 px. is recommended). Country subdivision's names should appear in black normal (or bold, if codes only), foreign toponyms in white bold italic, and names of other parts of the same country (for subnational maps) in black bold.

Non local (i.e., international or, for subnational maps, upper level subnational) boundaries should be thicker than domestic divisions. Exception is the continent maps, where all (national) boundaries should appear in minumum (1 px.) thickness.

No map should be higher or wider than 600 pixels.

6b. Split maps:

If needed (e.g., too many small divisions), the same country can be broken up into several maps, not necessarily in the same scale. In this case, several pages will arise (see #4), but at any rate the “main map page” will display a map of the whole country. (See geo-ru.html, ae(.html or my(.html as examples.)

6c. Simplicity:

The map will show mainly the divisions whose flag pages it helps locate. Any other elements (rivers, lakes, etc.) should be added only if they convey some relevant information.

6d. Additional elements:

Additional cartographic elements will be a graphical scale (in kilometers), a numerical scale (relating 1 pixel to x km), a simplified compass rose (showing N), and typically four small geographical coordinate indications (two Lat.s and two Long.s) in the edges of the map. A small FOTW flag will also be displayed in each map, as a discrete copyright (or source) notice (thanks, Gvido!).

6e. Placing toponyms:

If an area is too small for the toponym it should accommodate, let it spread preferably over the sea or over a neighbouring country, better than over a neighbouring division of the main country — if needed, the name may lie completely outside the division and indicate it with a stroke (slanted 0, 45 or 90 deg.), in the same color as the toponym itself. In any case, the name should also be clickable.


7. Hot issues:

Some maps may be controversial. The same rules of neutrality, scholarship and objectiveness used in flag pages apply here. (See ar(.html (Falklands) or geo-jp.html (Kurilles) as examples.)


8. Page Titles:

"Clickable map of Xxxxx".

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