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Transport Geography on the Web: Practical Implications for Developing, Maintaining and Upgrading a Large Educational Web PowerPoint Presentation
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Transport Geography on the Web: Practical Implications for Developing, Maintaining and Upgrading a Large Educational Web Site Jean-Paul Rodrigue Dept. of Economics & Geography Hofstra University Hempstead, NY Jean-paul.Rodrigue@hofstra.edu The Project Transport Geography on the Web

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Transport Geography on the Web:Practical Implications for Developing, Maintaining and Upgrading a Large Educational Web Site

Jean-Paul Rodrigue

Dept. of Economics & Geography

Hofstra University

Hempstead, NY

Jean-paul.Rodrigue@hofstra.edu

the project
The Project
  • Transport Geography on the Web
    • Started in 1997 from a grant by Industry Canada.
    • TG course supported by a web site.
    • Canadian initiative for the development of the information highway (provide relevant content).
    • Team of 4 transport geographers.
    • 6th year of development.
    • One of the longest continuously maintained academic content site available.
    • http://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans
the project3
The Project
  • Current status
    • About 2,800 files:
      • 1750 HMTL, PPT, XLS and ZIP files.
      • 1050 GIF and JPG images.
      • 40 MB.
    • PowerPoint slides:
      • About 780 slides.
    • Search engines:
      • 2nd in Google for “transport geography”.
      • All pages have been indexed; “occupies the real estate”.
      • Commonly turn out on the top 10 links on related searches:
        • (1st) “transport graph theory”; (2nd) “geography transport network”; (8th) “air transport geography”.
    • Main reference in about 10 transport geography classes.
structure
Structure
  • Table of contents, index, media and credits.
  • Topical division
    • 9 chapters, each related to a major field of the discipline.
    • Each chapter supported by an array of PowerPoint slides, Excel worksheets and GIS-T datasets.
  • Thematic division
    • Each topic divided in concepts, methods and applications.

Home

TOC

Index

Chapter 1

Glossary

Chapter 2

Media

Chapter 9

Credits

Concepts

Methods

Applications

design issues
Design Issues
  • Wed design
    • Significant changes reflecting the evolution of web design and site management.
    • Very important for large sites.
    • Includes the appearance, navigation and organization:
      • Choice and consistency of fonts, positioning and colors.
      • Large web sites require a complex organization and storage structure.
      • Navigation must be easy and intuitive.
    • Collaborative work:
      • An agreed upon design and interface.
      • Either provide a template or a strategy to include and upgrade the material.
      • A site is dynamic (modifications and upgrades are constant).
design issues6
Design Issues
  • First version design
    • Frame based:
      • Difficult to be indexed by search engines.
      • A query on Google would end up in a page without links.
    • Graphic buttons and titles:
      • Loading problems (especially “onmouseover”)
    • Table layout:
      • <TR> and <TD> mess.
    • Pesky <FONT> tags.
    • Very difficult to maintain:
      • Some inconsistency between pages.
      • A simple change in the design involved modifying manually hundreds of pages.
design issues7
Design Issues
  • Major upgrade in Spring 2002
    • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets):
      • Consistency in format (applicable to the whole site).
      • Powerful text formatting.
      • HTML + CSS = 30-40% reduction in file size.
      • Separate design for onscreen and printing.
      • Easy to change design.
      • <DIV> based layout (more flexible positioning).
    • Jscript slide menu:
      • Minimal impact on valuable screen “real estate”.
    • Popup windows:
      • Improve the document’s continuity.
      • Automatically close.
    • Navigation bar (excellent orientation tool).
future directions
Future Directions
  • Extend the content
    • Struggle to keep the contents up-to-date.
    • Develop exercises and labs (GIS-T datasets).
    • Search capabilities within the site (with relevance ranking).
  • Improve the media
    • Reliance on SVG (scalable vector graphic).
    • Multimedia contents (clips, animations and narrations).
  • Improve search engine indexation
    • <meta> tagging efficiently the whole contents.
    • Several pages should get a better ranking.
  • Lifetime initiative