Improving geospatial data visualisation in web maps

February 12th, 2018, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: PositionIT, Featured: PositionIT

The Open Geospatial Consortium’s (OGC) Portrayal Concept Development Study (CDS) will assess the current state of portrayal of symbology for web-based mapping, ultimately releasing and presenting a report that will overview the findings and provide recommendations for further action. The information gained in the study will aid in developing a series of future pilots that will in turn advance the state of symbology for web-based mapping.

Current web-based, map-driven data display often fails to implement many fundamental concepts of cartography. This is likely because the developers of web-based mapping tools are often programmers with little cartographic experience, training, or guidance. It often results in a haphazard use of colours, symbols, patterns, shapes, and sizes to represent similar features, and cartography therefore suffers in web environments. Beyond a mere aesthetics issue, it causes user confusion and misinterpretation of information which can lead to misinformed decisions with untold consequences. Additionally, the poor presentation of spatial data creates a negative perception of data quality, spatial data infrastructures, and web standards alike.

The OGC’s Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) standard attempted to resolve this cartography gap, but the OGC Architecture Board (OAB) recently identified the renewal of SLD as a key priority, as SLD is now considered too complex and outdated. The Portrayal CDS is looking to the OGC membership and beyond to help define the future direction of portrayal and digital cartographic practices. Parties interested in participating should contact the OGC by 28 February 2018.

Contact OGC, portrayalcds-response@opengeospatial.org