The Atlas of South Australia is an initiative of the South Australian Government to provide a common access point to maps and geographic information about South Australia in an interactive atlas format. The Atlas has been sponsored by GSEC which is made up of representatives across government. GSEC nominated Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure as the lead agency in this initiative in the early stages of its development.

The Atlas is an evolving service which was officially launched in June 2000. It is based on a conventional atlas format and builds on the previous paper edition of the Atlas of South Australia 1986, however, it now takes advantage of new databases and technology to deliver current information to the community in an interactive environment.

The overall vision of the Atlas of South Australia is to provide access to information about South Australia through the exploration of maps and geographic features for purposes ranging from taking the user on a journey across our landscape to identifying business and development opportunities by locating services, facilities and community needs. To enable this vision to happen requires collaboration between State government agencies, local governments, academia, industry and the community.

A network of computer systems is being established to deliver interactive mapping capabilities to the user based on categories and topics (rather than by service provider) at scales ranging from state wide overviews and regional maps to local community mapping. The system works by identifying the area of South Australia to be explored and/or the categories or topics of interest that will be shown as themes on the maps. It includes many types of themes such as land use, planning zones, demographics, landscapes, infrastructure, terrain and topographic features.

For the first time the community will be able to zoom and pan maps of South Australia to view and explore details on-line. Map features can also be interrogated for other information or links to other sites can provide more detailed information.

Fundamental to the delivery of interactive maps by a range of content providers is the establishment of standard baseline information (such as the road network and coastline), its format and the symbols used for depiction of features. An advisory group has been established to monitor content and standards under the auspices of GSEC. As the Atlas of South Australia evolves this will widen to represent all partners. Feedback from all users and contributors will be appreciated and will help to deliver the best possible service to the community.