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 will be 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 final agenda of talks and workshop sessions will be determined based on responses to the call for participation. However, the following areas are of particular interest:
Adding a native map viewer for the Web platform,
similar to how HTML
<video>was added for video content; including
- essential, possible, or impractical user-focused features and capabilities of a built-in Web map viewer
- architecture for defining a map viewer in markup
- new scripting APIs for Web authors to enhance map viewers
- CSS integration for styling maps and map features
- other integration / relationship of maps with existing browser APIs (e.g., geolocation API, geo/map URL protocols, image maps, SVG and canvas graphics)
- other Web platform applications for map-viewer display and interaction patterns
Standardizing how a browser-based map viewer
fetches data from map services
and how that data should be formatted;
- benefits and limitations of existing map data sources for Web use
- working with offline cached map data
- integrating geographic data and (hyper)text annotations or other semantic information about spatial things
- working with map data in different projections or coordinate reference systems
- federating map services with links between providers
- supporting discovery of Web-based geospatial resources by crawlers, indexes, and search engines
Creating accessible Web map experiences
that adapt to the different ways people interact with the Web;
- best-practice interaction patterns for manipulating Web (and other interactive/slippy) maps using different input methods (mouse, touch, keyboard, etc.)
- communicating spatial information through non-visual technologies
- personalization of map viewer display and capabilities
- using spatial information to enhance accessibility in the physical environment
Creating truly global Web map experiences
that work with different languages and cartographic practices;
- linguistic and cultural considerations when internationalizing map-viewer interaction patterns
- integrating translations of place names in map data, and allowing users to select preferred language
- adapting iconography or other visual cues to local conventions
- working with politically disputed geographic names and boundaries
Limiting privacy and security impacts of a more geo-enhanced Web;
- identifying both obvious and indirect ways malicious actors could misuse Web maps to expose personal data or fingerprintable patterns
- creating options to support user-friendly functionality while limiting exposure of personal location and geographic data (e.g., allowing a user to do a one-time location-aware search without granting ongoing permission for location tracking; sandboxing personalized map views and interactions from Web map services providing the underlying data)
- communication of the impacts and risks of sharing location data
- validation and verification of map data sources, and avoiding misinformation
- cross-origin security risks when integrating map data sources (some of which may be personalized, or contain confidential business information)
See the call for participation for how to get involved, or to suggest additional topics.