Introduction of our web mapping system for arctic region. | GeoSensorWeb Lab Blog

Hey, guys! My name is Han-Fang (Fanny) Tsai, a master student in GeoSensorWeb lab since January 2012. My research focuses on development of web mapping system, in particular for Polar Regions. I have participated in a GEOIDE project: Improved Global Web Map Visualization Project (Our project website: this project ended in couple of months ago, as I was involved in this project as a system developer, and we successfully delivered a preliminary prototype, I would like to talk about what I have done for this project. This project is a cooperative work between three universities (University of Calgary, York University, and Laval University) and other government and industry partners (e.g. natural resource Canada, ESRI, etc.). The goal of this project is to develop an improved worldwide web mapping system to store and present pre-rendered geographic information. So the questions are: why do we need a better web mapping system? And what are the drawbacks of current web mapping system? The biggest problem is the map projection that most of current web mapping sites are using: web Mercator. Since Google published Google Maps in 2005, web mapping have been widely applied in many research fields. Also all major web mapping applications/services are using web Mercator projection for their base map ever since. However, many articles have argued that maybe web Mercator is a poor choice? Thus, web Mercator is a bad choice for high-latitude region since it crazily distorts the area in high-latitude region. As the Arctic researches become increasingly important as places for abundant natural resources and environmental studies (e.g., global warming and climate change), Arctic researches attract more and more attentions. Therefore, a Mercator-projection-based web mapping system apparently cannot be used for Arctic researches, as a result, a better web mapping system which is suitable for polar region is necessary. We have developed a web mapping system with multi-polar-projections. We have a server-side component that pre-renders base maps in different projections and parses the vector data users upload. Then, we present data in multiple polar projections in the client-side online platform. In addition, we found that polar projections are difficult to interpret when viewing local areas because the North does not face up like that in the web Mercator projection. Therefore, we propose a new module allowing users to rotate map and visualize geospatial data sets in the polar region. Hence, wherever area users zoom into, users can always rotate the map to let the North facing up. The prototype demonstrates an efficient and intuitive web mapping system for the Arctic region. Source.

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Last Modified: April 18, 2016 @ 3:02 pm