Australian Graphic Atlas on A3000 and Onkyo miniature system

 One interesting software release I never had was the Australian Graphic Atlas software for Amiga. It is interesting to me since it was written in Australia, about Australia, for the Amiga. Perhaps people overseas have never seen this software before.

I finally managed to secure a copy this year, and thought I would take a look on my A3000, now that I have returned from my trip to Japan. 
BTW You can look forward to a train blog entry about the luxury train called Shiki Shima (that I rode while there) very soon!
I discovered that the Australian Graphic Atlas software needs Amiga Vision installed as a prerequisite, which meant finding a copy of that also! 
That proved harder and took a while to find a copy from the US. First time I have ever got some commercial Amiga software that NEEDED Amiga Vision to work! Do you know of any others?
Amiga Vision was distributed with Amiga 3000 systems when you bought one back in the day and requires Workbench 2.0 as a minimum. 
Because my A3000 was second hand, unfortunately it didn't come with Amiga Vision. 
I suppose you could buy it separately also, since I have this boxed version of Amiga Vision I sourced from the US:

I set to work installing the Amiga Vision software on my Amiga 3000, which is a super kickstart v1.4 model running AmigaOS 1.3 and AmigaOS 3.1.4 dual boot, selectable on power on. There is a surprising number of disks in the package. 

If you want to learn more about how I built this super kickstart A3000 from scratch, (or just want to learn about super kickstarts) I did a 3 part series on this blog here: 
Part 1    Part 2    Part 3
Once Amiga Vision was installed from the floppy disks, I then installed Australian Graphic Atlas, which comes on 6 floppy disks.

This title is one that definitely would have benefited from a release on CDTV or CD32, as they would have been able to fit a lot more content on a CD.

As it is, there is still quite a bit to look at here - below if the main menu of Australian Graphic Atlas once run:

Most of this information about Australia included in this software you could just look up on Wikipedia nowadays, but back in 1992 encyclopedias were the norm and no internet for the general public yet.

 Having an electronic version of this type of information on your computer was rare.

For those not familiar with Australia's major cities and towns, the image above should help you out! I live in Adelaide, which is in South Australia.

You could also view rail network information, major roads and other geographical information like rainfall, population, etc.

I think whoever did the rail network was mis-informed though - the line from Adelaide to Sydney goes via Broken Hill not direct, and the line to Alice Springs goes via Tarcoola, even in 1992. The line to Alice Springs shown in the map was the original narrow gauge railway closed in the early 1980's and rails pulled up shortly after. The South Australia freight lines to Whyalla and Port Lincoln are not shown either. Yes, I am a train fan, so I know these things!

Also Sydney is located higher than shown in the map.
The road network (main highway roads of course) shows how much of the outback desert areas of Australia in the middle is not covered. 
There are dirt roads for those adventurous people which want to explore outback areas, but it is dangerous and potentially life threatening if anything goes wrong - there is nothing out there. 
Really. Nothing. 
A number of people (foreign tourists mainly) die out there each year due to car breakdowns and insufficient emergency supplies to survive until someone hopefully realises you are missing. There is no mobile signal, no fuel stations, no food stops, no repair places, and no significant towns for many hundreds of kilometres. Australia is a big country.
Building infrastructure like modern internet and mobile networks in this country is complicated by the sheer size, and that most people live on the coastline major cities.

You can also overlay all these bits of information to get a prettier view - domestic airline routes at that time are shown too:

As a small deviation, for those who are curious about the retro miniature stereo system in the photo above, while I was in Japan recently, I found a cool gatcha machine which contained Onkyo stereo components for 500 Yen. The detail on it is incredible so I just had to have it.

Gatcha machines (or capsule toy machines in western countries) are big business in Japan - there are so many to choose from. How many? A lot - here is just one store I went to in Toyama full of hundreds of these gatcha machines:

However this Onkyo stereo gatcha machine I found in Japan was very rare - I only found it in one place despite looking in multiple gatcha places all over various cities in Japan. It was deep underground in the heart of Tokyo station in Tokyo:

The fact it costs 500 Yen is quite high for a gatcha machine, so my expectations were high. I had to buy quite a few as it is lucky dip which components you get in each capsule.

Once I removed the miniature components from the capsules, I could then set about constructing them:

Here is the amplifier, tape deck, record and speakers that make up one system:

Here is the record player - the attention to detail is incredible:

It even includes micro sized cassettes for the tape deck (cassette decks open up), stereo cables for the speakers, and a record for the record player, which opens up too (as shown above). I love these detail things in Japan, you would never see something like this in Australia.

Same with the tape deck component, which was a bit fiddly to get the cassettes into it, but they do indeed fit fine - the amplifier component is underneath:

There was also a separate MicroHifi system gatcha in the set which I also managed to get - it includes a cd you can put in the cd player tray, which opens and closes:

These miniature systems are REALLY small. How small? Here is a standard teaspoon for comparison:

Anyway, enough about that - but it is cool though right? I thought so too. :-)
Back to the Australia Graphic Atlas now! You also get the option win the software to view the major city layout maps. Here is Adelaide, my home city:

Below is Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne:

You can't zoom in on the maps or anything like that - it is just a image.

I think while this is pretty, I am not sure how useful it is given you can't explore the details of the city layouts - this is where a CD format would have been better I think.

There is also some images of the various major Australian cities:

There is also historical information included about the prime ministers in Australia (up until 1992 anyway):

You can select any of them to see more information about them - like Bob Hawke below. 
It doesn't mention it above, but he was originally born in Bordertown, a small town in South Australia. 
I was living in Alice Springs and Perth when he was Prime Minister. 
Personally I thought he was mainly famous in Australia for his ability to down a schooner in one gulp very fast and his comment that "Anyone who fires a worker for taking off work today is a bum" comment after Australia won the Americas Cup yacht race in 1983. 
You can see a brief best of Bob Hawke video here if you want to see that.
My history knowledge is clouded by a lack of interest in politics generally!

You can also see the prime ministers in a timeline view which is pretty cool:

You can also see the Parliament house layout, and you can click on different houses to see the layout, etc, if that kind of thing floats your boat!

There is quite a bit of information here, and I suppose if I was at school doing a project about prime ministers or learning Australian geography this would be a useful resource.

You can also lookup Australian postcodes in the software, which is probably the most useful feature, since posting letters was more common then and it was harder to find out postcodes without the internet - you had to visit a post office to find out back then!
Beyond that, it is just a curiosity that doesn't provide a lot of useful information these days. But I am glad to finally try Australian Graphic Atlas out on my Amiga in 2023.