Are there use cases for creating custom map specializations?

Creating custom map specializations in DITA is essential for tailoring map structures to unique use cases, content types, and industry requirements. Custom specializations enable organizations to efficiently manage documentation specific to their domain, ensuring that the map structure aligns with their specific needs.

Custom Map Specializations Use Cases

Custom map specializations are crucial for various use cases, including industry-specific documentation, varying content types, localization, and product variations.

Industry-Specific Documentation

Different industries, such as healthcare, aerospace, or finance, have unique documentation requirements. Custom specializations allow organizations to create DITA maps that cater to these industry-specific needs, including content structure, metadata, and terminology.

Content Types

DITA maps can be specialized for different content types, such as user guides, API references, or technical manuals. Specializations enable organizations to define tailored map structures, elements, and metadata for each content type.


For global organizations, custom map specializations can be used to support localization needs. Specialized maps can include language-specific metadata and references to translated topics.

Product Variations

When documenting multiple product versions or variations, custom map specializations help maintain consistency while accommodating unique features or requirements for each product.


A company specializing in medical equipment documentation creates custom map specializations for different product lines.

Base Map – product-docs.ditamap

<!-- Base map structure for general product documentation -->
  <title>Product Documentation</title>
  <topicref href="introduction.dita" />
  <topicref href="user-guide.ditamap" />

Specialized Map – medical-equipment.ditamap

<!-- Specialized map for medical equipment documentation -->
  <title>Medical Equipment Documentation</title>
  <topicref href="introduction.dita" />
  <topicref href="user-guide.ditamap" />
  <topicref href="safety-standards.dita" />

In this example:

  • The base map, “product-docs.ditamap,” defines a standard structure for general product documentation.
  • The specialized map, “medical-equipment.ditamap,” inherits the base structure but includes a specific topic, “safety-standards.dita,” relevant to medical equipment documentation.