W3C/OGC Joint Workshop Series on Maps for the Web
This workshop series brings together experts in geographic standards and Web map data services, Web mapping client tools and applications, and Web platform standards and browser development, to explore the potential of maps for the Web.
This workshop series was originally planned as an in-person event in Montreal. Due to risks associated with global travel and the spread of COVID-19, the Maps for the Web workshop in 2020 was online only, spread out over a month of video presentations and asynchronous discussion.
We hope that this helps build a community that lasts beyond the scheduled event, and that a physical gathering of participants will be possible in the future.
The workshop organizers want to make map viewers on the web better — more usable, accessible, secure, private, and performant — for website visitors and web app users. At the same time, we want to make it easier for web developers and other creators to build those map-based experiences. And we want to make it more natural for cartographers and geospatial researchers to share their content over the web.
To do this, we need input from all relevant stakeholders, from all over the world wide web, who are creating or using web map content and applications, along with those who are building or standardizing web browsers. From the discussion, we hope to build a consensus on which aspects of web maps are suitable for standardization, and what those standardized solutions should include.
Why Maps for the Web?
Maps are a facet of our daily lives. The Web (and other internet-connected applications) have made maps more personal and more pervasive. From deciding what route to take to work, to vacation planning, to researching the effects of climate change, online maps guide our decisions and inform our world view.
Maps on the Web have the potential to empower individuals, connecting our physical environment to online information and applications. But that hyperconnectivity comes with risks: that people's movements may be tracked, or that their lives and livelihoods may become dependent on closed, proprietary data and services.
Scope of the Workshops
The workshop series is specifically about the standardization of dynamic, interactive maps as a first-class native component in the browser or other applications built using the Web platform.
This includes how the map data is served to the web application, how it is embedded or manipulated by the website author, how the result is displayed to the website visitor by the web browser, and how that end user interacts with or makes use of the information in the map.
Broader uses of internet-connected geographic data or spatial metadata are only in scope so far as they share technologies and impacts with Web maps.
The workshop final report provides an overview of the presentations and discussions, grouped according to these key themes:
- Accessibility, including both how to make web map viewers accessible to diverse users, and how to enhance map data so that it can be used to make real world locations more accessible;
- Augmented Reality (AR) with geospatial data;
- Internationalization and privacy issues with map data;
- Performance issues with dynamic map rendering in web browsers;
- Scoping out the requirements, and comparing proposals for, new web standards to define map viewers natively in HTML.
Additional sessions brought together groups of stakeholders from similar organizations (government, open source, or commercial) to discuss common needs and concerns.
See the original call for participation for more background on how the workshop agenda was developed, including the list of possible topics proposed by the organizers.