Getting Started
System Requirements:
      Minimum Hardware Requirements
- IBM Compatible: 486 CPU with quad speed CD-ROM or faster.
- Macintosh: 66 MHz Power PCwith dual speed CD-ROM or faster.

     Minimum Operating Systems
-Windows 95/98/2000
-MacOS 7 or newer.

     Internet Browser Applications
- Netscape Navigator 4.0 or better
- Internet Explorer 4.0 or better
Both need to be capable of running Java script.

     Monitor resolution
The Digital Atlas of Idaho is designed for viewing at a minimum monitor setting of 800 x 600 screen resolution. High resolution, such as 1280 x 1024, on monitors may display the atlas images too small to enjoy. On Apple computer systems, images may appear faded or lighter than on a PC. This is result of the Adobe Gamma control panel settings(and/or monitor preferences) are totally different than PC settings. For more information please consult your Apple Guide (Finder>Help>Apple Guide).

Software & Browser Plugins:
Proper functioning of all of the different components of the Digital Atlas requires more recent versions of the common internet browsers. You will need to be running version 4.0 - 4.7.8 of Netscape Navigator, and version 4.0 or higher of Microsoft Iinternet Explorer. You can upgrade your browser by visiting the Microsoft web site for a FREE UPGRADE of MS internet Explorer or the Netscape site for a FREE UPGRADE of Netscape Navigator.
Certain materials available on the Digital Atlas of Idaho will not function without having plug-ins installed upon your computer. Here is a list of what you will need:

Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer w/ Java and JavaScript
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Apple QuickTime
Microsoft Office 97 Software
WinZip or PKUnzip or MacZipit

PC-Users- be aware that for proper navigation menu functioning the following plug-in is required: Java Run Time Environment (JRE) - any version is fine. If you do not have this plug-in installed go to and follow their downloading/installation instructions. Some presentations and data are designed for usewith Microsoft Office 97 Software, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Quick Time, Cadviewer Lite,WinZip, and Java Script. If you still have problems viewing the active elements (such as Java or QuickTime) after upgrading, make sure to check your browser options to ensure that all image, animation, multi-media and Java enabling preferences are selected.

Startup & Access Directions:
The Digital Atlas of Idaho is distributed into two forms; CD-ROM and via the Internet. The Internet format is designed for anyone who has access to the Internet. It is free to the public. CD's can be obtained by school districts for schools that lack an internet connection. Since the Digital Atlas is a continually growing project, it is suggested to access the Atlas via the Internet. Updates are often and are impossible to include on compact disc. Many features are exclusive on the web version and require a continual online connection. For tutorials on how to use the Atlas click here.

The Digital Atlas of Idaho Web Site is:

     CD-ROM directions
To use the Digital Atlas of Idaho CD, insert the CD into your CD-ROM drive. Some versions should begin activating its autorun sequence. If your operating system have the autorun preferences turned off you will need to manually start the program. To do this: open your Internet. browser. Use the file>open page command of your browser, browse to and select the CD-ROM drive, then select the index.htm file and hit open. Some older versions may have a companion CD. To use the companion map archive CD-ROM, first visit the Map Room located on the Main CD-ROM for access to tips, tutorials and an overview of the archives. Then remove the main CD from your CD drive and replace it with the map archive CD. Use the file>open page command of your browser, browse to and select the CD-ROM drive, then select the mapcd_index.htm file and hit open. This will take you into the main archive interface where you can access linked information, tutorials, and GIS coverage's for Idaho. We advise referring to the MapRoom_README.doc file before you begin using the map archive (this document is located in the maproom_text folder).

Known Incompatibilities & Issues:
The Digital Atlas was originally generated for a PC/Windows CD-ROM application in the first phase. Since then, the Atlas staff has been converting the data for a cross-platform environment. Hence, the use of Internet. based formats. In reaching for this goal of cross-platform compatibility we are aware that not every computer is a like. This product is PC/Windows 98 native, in which means that several features of the Digital Atlas may not work. It is suggested that you use the recommended products and applications referenced in the System Requirements located at the top of this page.

Useful Tips & Information:
-Reading and comparing the System Requirements and Plugins List information to your own computers ability should advert most problems. If a software incompatibility is not found on our list please e-mail your findings to us at:

-The Atlas Navigation found at the top of your screen provides links to all of the major materials found on the Atlas. You can use these links at any time to move forwards, backwards, up, down and around the Atlas! DON'T FORGET: if you get lost, you can always return to the main home page using the Atlas Home link in the navigation menu.

-Try getting started by reviewing the Site Index for an overview of the entire Atlas.

-With a few exceptions, links to other web sites will take you out of the Digital Atlas Navigation. Use the BACK BUTTON of your web browser to return.

-The multi-level Digital Atlas derives much of its functionality from "zooming" in and out on Idaho using maps, archives and linked information sets. Hot links may appear in any of the images you see, so make sure you scroll around and explore each new page. There are also many links to web sites that are external to the Digital Atlas. These links can be found in the Links section.

-Many of the links for printing and frame-free viewing of materials (such as those found in the many of the Teaching Resources) will open a new, full-size browser window when activated. This allows for easy, frame-free printing and viewing, as well as the ability to switch between windows for comparison of different data sets. The new window will not show the Atlas Navigation Frame.  To use the Navigation Frame simply switch back to the main Atlas window (switching between windows is as simple as clicking on the icon buttons on your desktop tool bar).  When you are done, simply close the new window to return to the main Atlas. In addition, some links will open a smaller browser window on top of your current window. BE AWARE: if you click on the screen outside of this new window, it will disappear and you will have to reactivate the link and allow the window to reload.

-In order to preserve technical detail on the more complex maps and diagrams found in the Atlas, some images may be larger than your screen. Such images are indicated by a magnifying glass on an image or in button form located next to a thumbnail of the image. Just CLICK on the magnifying glass to enlarge the image. When you are done viewing, CLICK on the magnifying glass image or hit your browser's "back" button to return to the page of origin. Here are some samples: (The image with the plus sign will link you to a larger image. The image with a minus sign will return you to your original location.)
zoom inzoom out

Some tips for using maps supported by Cadviewer software:

    1. Be patient as maps generate - they are large files and they will be slow to load.
    2. Turn layers on & off SLOWLY, one at a time. Allow time for the maps to regenerate after each command, or they will not function properly.
    3. The best way to become familiar with what data is on a map is to start by turning off ALL layers, then turn them back on one at a time and see what appears!
    4. The first time the Cadviewer software opens (this happens automatically) you will need to grant permission to allow the data to load. Simply follow the instructions in the dialog box that will appear (note: in some instances you will need to grant permission twice).
    5. On occasion, Cadviewer misloads and prevents further functioning of this plug-in. If this occurs you will need to close your browser and reopen it - this will refresh the Cadviewer software.

-Some page numbers in the digital version of Rocks, Rails and Trails may differ slightly from the printed editions.

-When you are done using the Atlas simply use the command "FILE > CLOSE", or the "X" in the upper right corner of your browser to close the browser window and exit the Atlas.

-Find a Mistake?  It is important to be aware that although the Atlas provides a great deal of information about the natural history of Idaho, it is not intended to be the definitive resource. Some modules are still under review. Please direct questions, comments, concerns or corrections to the Digital Atlas of Idaho

-Have an image, activity or exercise that you would like to Contribute? If you have an activity, exercise or image of geology, mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, rivers, plants, etc., that you would like to contribute, it can be sent to   Just remember to let us know who to credit it to. 

-Certain forms of color-blindness may lead to difficulties interpreting color-coded data on some of the Atlas maps and images. If you encounter problems please be aware that graphical information and data is also reproduced in the accompanying text.

-Terms & Conditions of Use: Materials found on the Digital Atlas of Idaho Web Site and CD-ROM may be used for personal or educational projects as is. For commercial or other forms of use, please contact the Digital Atlas for more information and permissions as some materials are copyrighted.
A Brief Introduction to Idaho