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Publication of the Protea Atlas

10 October 2001

Dear Sir

Re: Quote required for ‘The Protea Atlas’

We require a quote for the publication of "The Protea Atlas", which will summarize the data collected by 480 atlassers over the past 10 years. With 250 000 records of 377 proteas from 57 500 localities, this is one of the premier plant databases in the world. It has been selected for NSF funding as part of the United States programme to encourage of statistics in Biology, and is current the focus of the description of distribution patterns using Bayesian modelling. "The Protea Atlas" will summary the collected data.

Could we please have a rough estimate of costs by 20 October 2001 to facilitate planning. Though these will not be binding, they should be within 10% of final quotes (required by 30 November 2001). You are one of several potential publishers approached.

While we should appreciate comments and ideas from the publisher, the basic ideas at present are:

The pages will be A4 in size. Two colours – black and red spot colour - will be required.

Please use the South African Bird Atlas as a model.

  • Please provide quotes for 880 and 950 pages.
  • Could you please also quote for a single and two volumes.
  • Please quote separately for 0, 4, 8 and 16 pages of colour photographs to be inserted before the species accounts.

Text will be provided in a single electronic ASCII file. Layout and formatting will need to be undertaken by the publisher. Italics and bold can be supplied if it is more convenient. All text will probably be in black. Click here to download text.

Ideally the graphs (histograms) – 2 per species, would be supplied as data in a spreadsheet or database and automatically compiled by the publisher into graphs. However, we can supply 754 graphs, but these will need to be formatted. The graphs will be in black and red. Click here for graphs. Click here for data.

The maps will be provided from ArcView as electronic maps, in one of the available electronic exchange formats. Atlas data will be in black and red. Background and herbarium data will be in black. There will be 377 maps. They will be in either horizontal or vertical format of various sizes and dimensions. Click here for maps (coming soon).

A vignette will be present for between 2/3 and of species – please quote for 300. It will not be possible to obtain drawings for all species. This will be supplied as a mixture of black and white artwork and electronic data. Click here for Vignette 1 and Vignette 2.

Copies of these files will be posted on the web page look under publisher on the banner page.

Please allow a pocket on the back cover for a CD containing additional information. The production of the CD will be undertaken by amateur atlassers and will contain data from "The Atlas", but expressed both as text and graphically, as well as photographs, features, additional information and other features – many of which can be found on the web at present (see Although this will be an amateur production, the publisher will be able to review and input into the presentation and design of the electronic version, although the actual content has already been determined.

Appended are two pages of the proposed layouts for the "The Atlas." There is unfortunately not space for everything collected by atlassers. For instance, at two pages per 370 species we already need 740 pages. (Some will possibly require 3 pages). That is a huge tome. Given an introduction, genus introductions, how the atlas worked, highlights, findings, suggestions for future atlassers, etc. we will need another 50-120 pages. This is really stretching the limits for a single volume. But two volumes will probably be far too expensive (but could we please have quotes for these).

So there is only space for one map and two diagrams per species (these will be the flowering and growth histograms).

Species names

Species will be headed by the English and Afrikaans (where the latter exists) and Scientific Name/Author, in that order. Additional Common names and Scientific Synonyms will follow these. These will be in bigger font and be below the vignette (if available).

Descriptive Data

All the other information will have to be descriptive (but will be available as histograms on the CD). The question is how to describe it. We must include the sample, and the proportions per category for every field on the SRS form. (Dare we leave some out?). At this stage we are suggesting the following format, and would welcome suggestions and ideas:

Landform: Out of 751 records, 82% were found in Deep Soil, 16% in Shallow Soil, 2% in Rocky Outcrop, and 0.1% in Swamp.


  • Fields not used (e.g. Lake Edge) are left out.
  • Fields are listed in order of importance.
  • We have included all used fields, not just the top few.
  • We have chosen a readable format, rather than a tabulated or a summarized format such as:

Landform: (751) DS: 82%, SS: 16%, RO: 2%, SW: 0.1%


What cannot be seen in the pages overleaf is that we want to have the distributional data and histograms in a red spot colour. We will have different shading dots for eXtinct, Scarce, Frequent, Common and Abundant. Shown in the maps overleaf are also all the atlas localities. We will probably leave these out of "The Atlas," as the clutter they produce is more distracting than the benefit of showing what areas were sampled. You will be able to see this on the CD version accompanying the volumes, by selecting the correct themes (data sets) in ARC-EXPLORER, which is shareware and will be provided on the CD.

We will not have the same map for each species, but have different maps, as we have had in the past Interim Distribution Maps.(standardized maps are available in SASOL Proteas 2!) However, we will have latitude, longitude and the scale clearly marked on the maps. Should we include a small orientation_map (e.g. like those in SASOL 2) within the map to guide orientation?

Histograms of Flowering and Growth

The histograms will be for 18 months, starting in January and ending in June. This will allow both summer and winter trends to be clearly visible. The top categories for flowering (Flowering, Over & Bud) will be in red, and the other categories (Cone & Peak) will be in black, with Nothing shown as blank. The top category for growth (Much) will be in red, and the other category (Rare) will be in black, with Nothing shown as blank. In both cases sample sizes per month will also be shown (in black) either above the columns or beneath the months.

On the CD, a more expansive colour set will be available to view the same data. We will explore a feature to allow viewers to alter and choose a format, colours or fonts for the histograms.

Atlassers notes:

In addition to the details on the SRS, we will include some relevant Additional Remarks Box data. These will be edited and adjusted to make it readable and in context. These vary from none to quite substantial accounts. We will not reference the comments in "The Atlas." However, in the CD an less edited version will be available with the author’s credits and dates (as the Observer Code, date and number for day).

Distributional Summary

This will be a descriptive summary of the following points:

Identification and taxonomy

Problems in identifying and mapping the species:

  • How distinct is the species?
    What is it easily confused with?
    What was it confused with?
    How reliable are the data shown?
  • What identification problems were encountered by atlassers? (hybrid swarms, distinct populations, unusual populations, clines - where species change from one form to another over a gradient)
    Is more taxonomic work on the species indicated?


Distribution of the species:

  • Where does the species occur?
  • What range extensions gaps did we find?
  • Where did atlassers not find it based on herbarium data? Is it extinct there?

These details have been published in the Protea Atlas Project Newsletter to solicit ideas and input from atlassers. We will consider atlassers comments in January while finalizing formats.

Proposed Schedule for ‘The Protea Atlas’

20 October 2001 Preliminary quotes;
30 November 2001 First options for layout from publisher, detailed quotes;
15 January 2002 Select publisher, negotiate contracts;
31 January 2002 Fnalize formats and layout;
30 May 2002 Final drafts for checking and text proofing;
30 June 2002 Maps, histogram data and text final copies to publisher;
December 2002 Publication

In summary we require:

A quote for 880 or 950 pages in one or two volumes, with additional costs for 0,4,8,16 colour plates.

Preliminary quote by 20 October, final quote by 30 November.

We have no idea of the market. We had 482 atlassers, 1850 people expressed a written interest in the Protea Atlas Project. Contrast this with the Bird Atlas with 2000 atlassers and 5000 interested parties.

I trust that the above information is sufficient to allow you to evaluate the scope and requirements of "The Atlas." Should you require more information please contact me at your convenience.

Yours sincerely


Tony Rebelo

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