The use of web mapping applications has increased considerably over the last number of years. The growing user base points to a need to investigate the user friendliness of web-based mapping applications. Free software also plays an important part in this development.

This thesis analyzes the usability of web mapping applications using the following three steps:

First, the usability of eleven selected Free web mapping applications and Google Maps will be analysed.
Smart Map Browsing:
Based on the results of this analysis the term Smart Map Browsing will be used to indicate the usability of web mapping applications. The properties of Smart Map Browsing will be derived from the current state of technology and analyzed for their future potential.
Finally, for the practical part of this thesis, the Smart Map Browsing feature animated zooming is implemented into the Free JavaScript web mapping application OpenLayers. This extension allows the user to scale a map to a new zoom level during the zooming process.

A first phase of the software development is already integrated into OpenLayers 2.4 RC2 (released in April 2007). The entire animated zooming feature is expected to be included in OpenLayers 2.5.

© June 1, 2007 | Emanuel Schütze | some rights reserved.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Germany.