W. Ladniak, K. Kalamucki

Department of Cartography, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland


The problem of map evaluation was tackled in cartographic literature in the 1960s and 1970s. Those studies concerned traditional maps (printed) and they became an essential issue of both theoretical and practical cartography. A comprehensive evaluation of a map should be understood as complete studies of maps elements and properties, explaining its characteristic features and qualities, and determining the extent of its usefulness.

Together with the appearance of the Internet, cartographic presentations were placed on the web sites. At present, the number of cartographic presentations (maps in the Internet) on the commonly available servers is very big. We can speak about a new cartographic medium the Internet cartography.

After the period of fascination with the new form of transmitting the spatial information by the Internet, a time has come to undertake theoretical and application research refering to maps in the Internet. One of the most important problems is the evaluation of cartographic materials.

This article makes an attempt to indicate the method and criteria of a comprehensive evaluation of maps placed in the Internet. In the preliminary studies, the notion of a map in the Internet was explained and a classification (systematizing) of this kind of presentations was made. Next, properties (features) and functions of Internet maps in relation to traditional ones were discussed. The demonstrated differences between these types of maps justify the necessity of choosing different criteria for comprehensive evaluation in case of Internet maps. Those criteria were selected and logically grouped so that all aspects of comprehensive evaluation should be taken into consideration. The authors were aware that finding universal criteria for the evaluation of all cartographic presentations in the Internet was difficult, since it is necessary to consider the needs and purpose of a given presentation. Nevertheless, the attempt presents the issue of evaluation in an extensive way and indicates the elements which should be taken into consideration during evaluation.

The process of a comprehensive map evaluation, as in case of traditional maps, goes in stages. The evaluation of presentations should consider both the criteria for traditional maps evaluation (after proper selection) and the criteria connected with widely understood usability of web services. The comprehensive evaluation of Internet is a resultant of these two rules.

This article constitutes an introduction to further studies and discussion on the development of evaluation theory involving maps in the Internet. There were no earlier attempts to find universal criteria for comprehensive evaluation of such presentations. Taking into account common access to the Internet and the amount of cartographic content on the web sites, there is a need to make comprehensive evaluations since it affects the improvement of the quality of cartographic presentations in the Internet and enables users to choose the best of them.