Canadian Geographic’s Crummy Canadian Atlas
To begin with, there isn’t much in the way of maps: it’s more a learning centre for the geography of Canada, with considerable focus on schoolchildren. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s just a stretch to call it an atlas. Second, there’s really only one real map, and while you can zoom in on it to a certain degree and select layers, it’s surprisingly crude and basic. And third, the site is very badly designed. Links are frequently popups that maximize to fill the screen — while only using about a quarter of it — and hide the scrollbars, preventing you from seeing the material at the bottom of the page (and I’m on a 1440×900 screen here, folks, which is bigger than average). The maps were also extremely slow on opening night — I waited up to 30 seconds every time I tried to pan and zoom — but they’ve since gotten better, with lags of only a second or two. Chalk it up to first-day traffic, but their systems should have been more robust.
Bottom line, this is a mediocre effort that doesn’t live up to the hype. (I can’t believe this made The National!) Unless you’ve got a Grade 7 school report due tomorrow, you’re much better off with the government’s own Atlas of Canada (see previous entry).