Marc-Antoine Nussli & Christos Nussli. Euratlas Periodis Expert: Periodical Historical Atlas of Eurape 1-2000

Article excerpt

MARC-ANTOINE NUSSLI & CHRISTOS NUSSLI. Euratlas Periodis Expert: periodical historical atlas of Eurape 1-2000 (digital cartography program). Program on CD, also available at http:llwww.euratlas.comlindex.html (English), http://www.euratlas.net/index.html (French) and http://de.euratlas.comlindex.html (German). 2009. Yverdon-les-Bains: Euratlas-Nussli; 978-2-9700381-9-6 55 [euro] (single user), 88 [euro] (teaching licence), 350 [euro] (site licence) + VAT & 12 [euro] for CD delivery.

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Software advances in recent years have aided archaeologists in many respects. GIS has revolutionised spatial analysis, CAD software empowers research into our built heritage, and the ever-developing suites of graphical design packages have put powerful image manipulation and creation tools at our fingertips. But significantly, creating informative, engaging and professional-looking graphics for research and publication is increasingly within the reach of even the modestly computer-literate. Alongside these creative tools are the reference packages that take advantage of digital media to present information in more innovative and cognitively coherent ways than their traditional printed counterparts.

Digital mapping is obviously an area that has benefitted greatly from this development, but despite the current diversity there still exists a niche for a package that combines historical reference capabilities with the tools to tailor and output graphics. The potential is, in principle, enormous: a resource that allows users to browse and search sound historical/spatial data, compare areas of interest and produce good quality output suitable for publication.

A glance at the back of the Euratlas Periodis Expert (EPE) packaging suggests the team at Euratlas-Nussli, Switzerland, may also have happened across this niche. The software indeed combines two functions: a detailed set of reference maps (twenty-one in all, at 100 year intervals from AD 1 to 2000) coupled with the ability to customise labelling, add markers and produce a personalised map.

Upon installation and launch of EPE the user is greeted by an unduttered but rather stark user interface, characterised by the standard gun-metal grey info-panels typical of many packages of the early 2000s--although this is offset by the wonderfully technicolor maps of Europe (which can be clicked through in periodic sequence using a series of thumbnails at the bottom of the screen; see figure below). The standard mouse-wheel zoom and grab-and-pan functionality common to, amongst other software, Google maps is present here, and allows a rapid familiarity when exploring.

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First, let us briefly look at EPE put through its paces as a reference tool. …