Társadalom, the new printed volume of the National Atlas of Hungary (MNA), as well as an English-language version, Society, were presented on 16 September 2021, alongside interactive digital versions of the same publications (e-MNA). The Geographical Institute of the ELKH Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences (CSFK) was the publisher and acted as project coordinator. The Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH) contributed to the publications as a strategic partner, providing the data.
As in the previous volume of the atlas series, Natural Environment published in 2018, the new volume of the atlas extends beyond the current territory of Hungary, depending on the availability of data sources, to include Hungary, the Carpathian Basin and the neighboring areas. The authors present the current state and past roots of the structure of society and social processes in the main for 13 countries, more than 39,000 settlements, mainly with the help of maps.
The creation of this volume of the MNA saw the involvement of five volume and 13 chapter editors, 42 chapter authors and 85 map authors – working mainly in Hungarian universities, research institutes and government bodies – to help present the society of Hungary across 377 maps, figures, tables and 73 photographs on 196 pages, divided into 12 chapters.
The chapters of the volume can be divided into three major thematic areas – population, towns and cities and living conditions, and quality of life. By browsing the striking thematic maps of different sizes, readers learn about the characteristics of topics such as fertility, live births out of wedlock, life expectancy at birth, cancer deaths, suicide, foreigners and foreign-born citizens, domestic migration, aging, marriage, divorce, cohabitation, ethnic-linguistic and religious distribution, education, economic activity, unemployment, public employment and personal income. The topic of settlements mainly deals with the network of settlements, the types, dynamics and structure of towns and cities, creative cities, Budapest and its agglomeration, and the types, dynamics, distribution and farms of villages. As part of the quality of life topic, one can find information about inpatient specialist care, Covid-19, recipients of social assistance, disability benefits, English skills, internet subscription, housing characteristics and prices, vacancies for GP services, hospitals and grammar schools, as well as the territorial peculiarities of road accidents and crime.
At a ceremonial presentation at the headquarters of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Miklós Maróth, President of ELKH praised the significance of the volume: “The MNA Society volume contains a significant part of the graphically depictable knowledge about the Carpathian Basin, and within it about today's Hungary. It is an important contemporary document that includes extremely wide and varied knowledge presented in an interesting form, which means that it can be of great benefit not only for geographers but also historians, economists, students and other interested parties.”
“At KSH, we did everything we could to make all the available statistics related to the areas, periods and themes planned to be published in the volume available to the editors, and this often posed a big challenge to our specialists. By combining the tools of statistics and cartography, there has been enormous value added, contributing to a deeper understanding of these processes and a better understanding of the relationships between the phenomena through the presentation of spatial diversity of demographic and social processes," Gabriella Vukovich, President of KSH, a strategic partner in the publication of the volume, emphasized in her speech.
One novel feature of the Society volume is that its content is also available free of charge on the website www.emna.hu in the form of interactive maps (e-MNA), an innovation on a global scale. The online version, which has been published simultaneously in Hungarian and English, provides up-to-date information and communication with the general public. The dual goal is achieved by displaying the latest data as well as offering interactive features. The latter eliminates the static nature, formal constraints, and one-way communication of the traditional paper-based atlas. Here, the map reader (user) can make queries related to spatial data according to individual criteria (for example, content, conceptual search, geographical name index, generation of free categories according to better known statistical methods, filtering quantitative and qualitative categories, drawing diagrams, customizable token keys, interactive display of changes over time).
"The fact that a digital volume designed according to the requirements of the age is also capable of responding to interactive queries and data display tailored to individual needs can open new dimensions in the exploration of connections," said László Kiss, Director General of CSFK.
The "non-stop e-MNA" is also one of the most advanced knowledge transfer technologies available in both public and higher education. As a national geoinformatics and Hungarian knowledge database, it seeks to provide up-to-date information for a broad social strata – in relation to both Hungary and the Carpathian Basin as whole – in an entertaining manner that also helps contribute to lifelong learning. In addition to scientific content, the online e-MNA also provides a place for the collection and spatial display of community information, local history data, memories of national importance.
Similarly to the previous volume of the MNA, the Publisher (CSFK) has now offered and distributed 3,000 copies in Hungarian through the Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI) to Hungarian-language secondary and higher education institutions in the Carpathian Basin (both inside and outside of Hungary). Half of the English-language volumes will be distributed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The current volume (similar to the last one, published in 2018) is available on the MNA website (www.nemzetiatlasz.hu) from the day of the presentation, from where anyone can download it free of charge. Those who want to buy their own copy in the form of a traditional book can purchase it at a relatively modest price at major bookstores or via the publisher.
The Government of Hungary contributed HUF 445.4 million to the implementation of the work, which was supported by the Eötvös Loránd Research Network Secretariat, and also the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (ITM) and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
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