Astrolog32 Atlas Instructions


Welcome to the Astrolog32 atlas!

To use the atlas you must start by configuring the directory where the files will be stored. Check your current Directory Settings and make sure that the atlas directories exist and are where you want them to be. Once that is done you need to download atlas files. Follow the instructions about that in the atlas download pages. Don't forget to unzip the files. There are many different utilities to do it, such as WinZip, 7-Zip, or you may use the File Manager of Windows XP or Windows Vista, which comes with its own unzipping utility.

These instructions apply to both countries or USA states, except where noted. Therefore below wherever it says "country" that also applies in general to USA states.


Selection of country or USA state

You are now ready to use the atlas. There is only one way to call the atlas, through the Enter/Edit Chart Data or Set Default Location dialogue boxes, accessible from the Edit menu. Click on the button that says Call Atlas. You will see the main atlas window. Click on the type of atlas to use. After clicking you will see a list of countries appearing on the top box. The first country or USA state on the list (Afghanistan or Alabama, respectively) will be selected.

To choose a different country or USA state you can scroll through the list with the Page Up/Page down Home, End or arrow keys on the keyboard, or with the mouse. Alternatively you can press the key for the first letter in the country. For example, if you are looking for Russia press R and you will be brought to the first country starting with R (Reunion), then you can scroll. When you find the country or state you are looking for, click on it to select it.

Note that there are three states which appear in both the American and International atlas: Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau.

You are now ready to search the atlas. There are two ways to do so, you may choose the way you like most.


Block Browse

The first way is Block Browse. Using the block browse feature, you can page through all the names in the database in the order they are stored. Conceptually the atlas is divided in blocks (think of it as a big page in the atlas), each block having 5000 names (default), except for the last block. For example, if a country has 12000 names, the first and second blocks will have 5000 names, and the third (and last) 2000 names.  There are buttons to go to the beginning, middle or end of the atlas file, as well as the next and previous block.

You may also double-click a country name in the country box. This is a shortcut, exactly equivalent to selecting the country followed by pressing the First block button.

Once you click on the Block buttons, such as the first, middle, or last, a list of places will appear in the big box on the bottom. To find the place you want you scroll the same way as in the List of country box, that is with Page Up/Page down Home, End or arrow keys on the keyboard, or with the mouse. Also you can press the key for the first letter in the name of the place. For example, if you are looking for London (and using the UK file) press L and you will be brought to the first place starting with L, then you can scroll. When you find the place  you are looking for click the name of the place, then the OK button. The atlas window will disappear, and you will be brought back to the Enter/Edit Chart Data window. Notice that the name of the place, as well as the longitude and latitude have been automatically entered.

You may also double-click a place inside in the big places box. This is a shortcut, exactly equivalent to selecting the place followed by pressing the OK button.


Search Atlas

The second way to look for a place is with the Search Atlas button. You first need to choose a country as for the block browse, then you click inside the First Letters little box, and enter one or more letters, or even the full name of the place you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for London you can enter "l", "lo", or "London". Note that case is irrelevant. If you enter "l" a list of all places starting with an L will appear, and if you enter "lo" a list of all places starting with an "Lo" will appear, etc.

After entering the initial letters, click on the Search Atlas button, then you can scroll down the list as with the block browse feature. If no place exist in the database starting with the letters you chose, you will see a entry in the box that says "No place was found matching your requirements." Alternatively, if you enter one letter only and there are more than 5000 places whose name starts with that letter, you will see a line that says " WARNING: Not All Places Were Shown. We Suggest You Narrow Your Choice. ". As it says on the warning, you need to narrow your search, for example by entering more initial letters, for example "lo" or "London" instead of just "l", and then click on the Search Atlas button again.

Note that the Search Atlas feature is completely independent of the Block Browse feature, so if you entered some initial letters and then press the block buttons, those initial letters are disregarded.


Place Names Display Format for the International Atlas

A specific format is used to display names inside the big box. The format is the following:

Name | Region % Search Fields population @ longitude latitude

Example:

Clifden | Galway % N-- @ 10w01 53n29

This means that the town of Clifden is in the county of Galway, and located at 10° 01'W and 53° 29' N. Note that some place coordinates are available with seconds, in this case the seconds are displayed after a period, for example 10w01.05, which means 10° 01'05" W. This is a format that has been accepted by Astrolog for many years.

The Search Fields after the '%' can occasionally be used to distinguish between places with the same name. It will be explained in the Advanced Settings page.

The population will appear only if available (currently only 0.5% of the places in database have population data). Population can help you distinguish between places with the same name, if you know the approximate population.

After you click on the OK button, the name of the place is automatically imported into the Enter/Edit Chart Data or Set Default Location window, using the format"Name, Region, Country",for example,"Clifden, Galway, Ireland", however if there is a comma inside either the name, region or country, then a vertical bar will be used as separator instead, in the format"Name | Region | Country". This is to avoid confusions between the two usages for the comma.

It is also possible to use the first part of the location name as the chart name, by ticking the appropriate box. This could be used, for example, to do the chart of a town or village.


Place Names Display Format for the American Atlas

A specific format is used to display names inside the big box. The format is the following:

Feature Name | Cell Name | County Name  % Search field @ longitude latitude

"Feature" is a name in the atlas. It can be a town, village, hospital, school, etc. "Cell"  means a geographical region where the feature is found.

Example:

Shadyside | Pittsburgh East | Allegheny % ppl @ 79w56.28 40n27.05

This means Shadyside is a neighbourhood in the East section of the city of Pittsburgh, in Allegheny county, and located at 79° 56' 28" W and 40° 27' 05" N.


The Search Field after the '%' is the 3-letter designator of the type of feature. It will be explained in the Advanced Settings page. In our example, "ppl" stands for "populated place".

After you click on the OK button, the name of the place is automatically imported into the Enter/Edit Chart Data or Set Default Location window, using by default the format"Feature Name, Cell Name, Co. County Name, State Abbreviation", for example, Region, Country",for example,"Shadyside, Pittsburgh East, Allegheny Co., PA", however if there is a comma inside any of the names, then a vertical bar will be used as separator instead of the comma. This is to avoid confusions between the two usages for the comma.

There are four tick boxes that have a bearing on how the atlas data is imported. It is possible to use the first part of the location name as the chart name, by ticking the appropriate box. This could be used, for example, to do the chart of a school or church. It is also possible to append USA to the name, or to use the state full name instead of the abbreviation.


Configuration Remembered

No atlas parameter is saved in the configuration file, however some settings are remembered while the program is still running (and lost when the program is finished). The type of atlas (for example, International) as well as the country name are remembered, so that you can enter more data for more than one chart without reselecting a country. Also the number of places to display is remembered. Valid values for this number are between 1 - 30000.


Limitations of the Astrolog32 International Atlas

The Astrolog32 atlas does not have time zone information, you will have to get it somewhere else. The second main limitation is due to the size of the database (currently 2.86 million place names). For example, there are 28 places called "Haag" all in the state of Bayern in Germany (there are still more Haag's in other German states as well as in Holland). If you are looking for a place called Haag in Bayern, how can you distinguish between the 28? In some cases the search fields (explained in the Advanced Settings) can help, but not very often.

One possible solution is this: if you know the name of a village near the one you are looking for (in our example Haag), you may first search for it, then make a note of the longitude and latitude, and then search for Haag again. All the different Haag's will be sorted by longitude, from West to East. You can then choose the Haag that is closest to the other little village whose name you know.

If you don't know the name of this nearby place, you are just not lucky! Due to these two  limitations it is clear that you will still need the AstroDienst atlas, reachable through the Help menu of Astrolog32. The AstroDienst atlas has time zone information, and because it has less towns and villages than the Astrolog32 atlas, it is easier to find what you want. Think of the Astrolog32 atlas as a complement to the AstroDienst atlas.

A third limitation of the Astrolog32 atlas is that names are shown without diacritics (accents, etc). This is because Astrolog32 cannot handle them.


Limitations of the Astrolog32 American Atlas

The Astrolog32 American atlas does not have time zone information, you will have to get it somewhere else, for example in the AstroDienst atlas, reachable through the Help menu of Astrolog32.

The American atlas currently has 0.97 million names.


Data Sources

The data source for the International Atlas is NGA GNS, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, GEOnet Names Server. GNS allows the use of its data without restriction.

The data source for the American atlas is USGS GNIS, the U.S. Geological Survey, Geographic Names Information System. GNIS allows the use of its data without restriction.




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