Review of Web Mapping: Eras, Trends and Directions
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Web mapping and the use of geospatial information online have evolved rapidly over the past few decades. Almost everyone in the world uses mapping information, whether or not one realizes it. Almost every mobile phone now has location services and every event and object on the earth has a location. The use of this geospatial location data has expanded rapidly, thanks to the development of the Internet. Huge volumes of geospatial data are available and daily being captured online, and are used in web applications and maps for viewing, analysis, modeling and simulation. This paper reviews the developments of web mapping from the first static online map images to the current highly interactive, multi-sourced web mapping services that have been increasingly moved to cloud computing platforms. The whole environment of web mapping captures the integration and interaction between three components found online, namely, geospatial information, people and functionality. In this paper, the trends and interactions among these components are identified and reviewed in relation to the technology developments. The review then concludes by exploring some of the opportunities and directions.
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