W3C/OGC Publishes Maps for the Web Workshop Report

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maps overlaid with each other with the lower right corner turned up to show code

Making maps a first-class object on the web is a shared goal of W3C and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). The two organizations recently collaborated to hold a ​W3C-OGC Joint Workshop on Maps for the Web​ and have published their report.

Workshop co-chair Peter Rushforth, Technology Advisor, Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation, Natural Resources Canada, which sponsored the workshop said, “Improving browser-based maps on the web through a standards-approach will bring benefits to multiple industries, governments and to the Accessibility community. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with W3C and the global maps community to make this vision a reality.”

Through live presentations, panel discussions, and pre-recorded videos, workshop participants revealed and highlighted many requirements, and proposals for Web platform maps as a range, that begins with maps for the web supporting real-world-feature -based accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities.

The range of requirements presented also included: rendering, performance, internationalization, privacy, styling, discovery, augmented reality, sensor integration and the need and proposals for standardized, declarative markup as well as associated procedural interface(s) supporting these requirements.

Workshop participants acknowledged that incremental staging of specification, polyfilling and native development of requirements is an essential ingredient in the potential for success of the initiative.

“Maps are a massive enabler to combine geospatial information on the web, across industries, devices, and new application areas such as virtual and augmented reality,” said Ted Guild, W3C staff contact for the ​Spatial Data on the Web Interest Group​ and workshop co-chair. “A W3C workshop is often the first stage in standardization, leading to the formation of a working group and that is the aspiration here.”

As an outcome, the workshop participants seek to initiate a cross-community (W3C, OGC among others) working group that will define a roadmap to specify and implement native Web maps, based on the fundamentals, objectives and characteristics of the open Web. The ongoing work was initiated and has been incubated in the ​W3C Maps for HTML Community Group​ since late 2014. Anyone interested in participating in the Maps for the Web discussions should join the free W3C Community Group.

W3C thanks our sponsor, Natural Resources Canada, the ​Program Committee​, our co-host, the Open Geospatial Consortium, and all the participants for making this event a success.

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