HTML5-based Travel HabitApplication: Investigation of VectorWeb Mapping Possibilities

University essay from KTH/Geodesi och geoinformatik


The subject of the report is to review and evaluate the potential for vector graphics in web maps. It ishoped that a web mapping only should display vector graphics. Compared to the traditional webmapping approach, that has raster tiles pre-rendered on the server side for each zoom level. Thedrawback with raster data is that it lacks in information content compared to vector data, which interms can contribute to a richer user interface. However, vector graphics, in comparison to raster datahave a complex data structure and are inefficient to handle such as raster data traditionally is managed.Thanks to new rendering techniques for vector graphics, such as by VML, SVG, but mainly throughthe canvas element, web maps can be improved since vector graphics can be drawn directly in theclient through the browser without the need to generate data on the server side and sent it to the client.By selecting three vector-based mobile mapping libraries that use HTML5, in particular the canvaselement, each library is examined and evaluated based on their ability to use vector graphics, bothperformance-wise, by randomly generating vector data on a map comprising of the world, but alsoaccording to a number of usability criteria. Thereafter, a mobile travel habit implementation isdeveloped based on one of the libraries that meets the criteria the best. The travel habit application isdesigned to register the user’s geographical movements and subsequently display the user’s completedtrip in terms of vector data on a map. The application is developed with the ASP.NET technique thatconsists of HTML, JavaScript and C# languages. Results show that each library is superior / comparesfavourably to the others for at least one of the assessment criteria. Based on the performance test forthe rendering of vector data, the Tile5 library performed best with a rendering time corresponding toapproximately half the time it took for the second best library Leaflet. However, since Tile5 indicatesdeficiencies in the documentation, Leaflet fits the overall established assessment criteria best and isselected for the implemented of the mobile application for travel habits. For future development, Tile5has the potential to become a useful and effective tool for vector web mapping and to compete withthe traditional mapping platforms that renders raster data.

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