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Web mapping

(also online mapping)

Web mapping definition

Web mapping is the creation of interactive maps that users can access over the internet. It combines geographic information with web technology to give users a map they can easily explore through a web browser. Web mapping plays a key role in many industries — from location services to urban planning.

How web mapping works

  • Geographic information is collected from various sources (e.g., satellites and government records).
  • Once collected, the data may need to be processed to ensure consistency and reliability (e.g., removing errors).
  • Web mapping tools like Google Maps API or Leaflet convert processed data into interactive maps that can be viewed on web pages.
  • Users can interact with these maps by zooming, clicking on features for more information, and customizing their map view.
  • Web mapping often includes geolocation features that determine a user's location (e.g., through GPS data or the user’s IP address).
  • Geographic data changes over time, so web mapping applications regularly update their data to keep it relevant and reflect the most current information.

How is web mapping used?

  • Navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze use web mapping to give users real-time directions and traffic updates.
  • Real estate apps use web mapping to allow users to look for properties.
  • Web mapping is used for environmental reasons (e.g., to track ecosystem changes).
  • Emergency workers use web mapping to help coordinate responses to natural disasters.
  • Travel websites use web maps for trip planning and finding services.