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I had a talk with Jeff Stark (EC’s accessibility go-to guy) a little while ago about the issues we are facing with web-mapping accessibility. Currently our development group has only really been concentrating on the map tools. Making sure all of the controls are accessible and usable. The next step I think will be to tackle accessing the points on the map, and stripping out the javascript.

The way we could present the point information will be interesting to tackle. Jeff was saying that Atlas Canada allows a user to enter a latitude and longitude or through entering place and feature names. I checked this out, and it seems to act like more of a quick zoom.  To actually interact with points on the map, you have to use the mouse.  This may be a useful technique to use with some of our maps in the future.  Though, as we use mostly thematic maps, the users of our maps will most likely not know the lat/long of the facility/monitoring station/point they are looking for…it is a nice feature though and something to keep in mind.

I think as users narrow their search, having the available points display in a data grid below the map would be useful. This was discussed within our team as a way to deal with the NPRI information, as in Alberta alone there over 4000 facilities that report pollutant information, and performance-wise that is a heavy load on the map, and also hinders usability.  We will see what comes out of the next iteration of our web-mapping template 🙂

In the meantime though, Jeff and his group will hopefully take a look at what we’ve done so far and ensure we are on the right track.