Engineering web maps with gradual content zoom based on streaming vector data

Lina Huang, Martijn Meijers, Radan Suba, P.J.M. van Oosterom

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Vario-scale data structures have been designed to support gradual content zoom and the progressive transfer of vector data, for use with arbitrary map scales. The focus to date has been on the server side, especially on how to convert geographic data into the proposed vario-scale structures by means of automated generalisation. This paper contributes to the ongoing vario-scale research by focusing on the client side and communication, particularly on how this works in a web-services setting. It is claimed that these functionalities are urgently needed, as many web-based applications, both desktop and mobile, require gradual content zoom, progressive transfer and a high performance level. The web-client prototypes developed in this paper make it possible to assess the behaviour of vario-scale data and to determine how users will actually see the interactions. Several different options of web-services communication architectures are possible in a vario-scale setting. These options are analysed and tested with various web-client prototypes, with respect to functionality, ease of implementation and performance (amount of transmitted data and response times). We show that the vario-scale data structure can fit in with current web-based architectures and efforts to standardise map distribution on the internet. However, to maximise the benefits of vario-scale data, a client needs to be aware of this structure. When a client needs a map to be refined (by means of a gradual content zoom operation), only the ‘missing’ data will be requested. This data will be sent incrementally to the client from a server. In this way, the amount of data transferred at one time is reduced, shortening the transmission time. In addition to these conceptual architecture aspects, there are many implementation and tooling design decisions at play. These will also be elaborated on in this paper. Based on the experiments conducted, we conclude that the vario-scale approach indeed supports gradual content zoom and the progressive web transfer of vector data. This is a big step forward in making vector data at arbitrary map scales available to larger user groups.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)274-293
    Number of pages10
    JournalISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
    Issue numberApril
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2016


    • internet/web
    • GIS
    • simplification
    • spatial infrastructures
    • vector
    • mobile


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