World Wide Web is a relatively new means of publishing maps and although
nowadays millions of people use it every day, not many of those users
know how it actually works. Many of them, quite sensibly, do not really
care. But for the those interested in publishing information on the Web,
some basic knowledge about the technical background of the Web can be
helpful in understanding the different mapping possibilities available.
In this chapter, a short overview is given of how the World Wide Web sprouted from the Internet and of the file formats and communication protocols that are its building blocks. It will become clear how the basic set-up allows the publication only of static maps with very limited interactivity and how the possibilities can be broadened by adding server-side applications or client-side plugins and applications such as Java applets or scripts. ESRI's ArcView Internet Map Server will be used as an example of how all these techniques can be combined to offer mapping and GIS functionality on the Web.
Last updated March 26, 2002