Fast, customisable, versatile web maps
Web mapping has come a long way since the first map server was built in 1993 at the famed Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Since then, users have come to expect intuitive, beautiful and instant maps on their desktop and mobile devices.
The typical modern map user accesses map data on devices that usually don’t have the storage capacity for high resolution maps of the entire world. Instead, apps and websites show mapping data that is served as needed over the web.
When a web map is loaded, it is set to a zoom level and extent, which defines the level of detail and the area that will be visible in the viewer. A map server sends grid sections of the map, called “tiles”, to the user, where they are arranged in the right configuration to appear as a map. As the user pans and zoom in and out, requests for the correct tiles are sent, and the response is used to update the screen.