1.1 ObjectivesTopZusammenfassung1 Introduction



1 Introduction

The use of web-based maps has seen a tremendous increase over the last few years. In 1999 approximately 40 million maps per day were accessed over the Internet. Two years later this number had increased to 200 million maps per day, and it is reasonable to expect that this number has multiplied several times since then. This development also shows the growing significance of the presentation of spatial information on the Internet [Peterson 2003][Dickmann 2004].

The release of Google Maps in February 2005 caused a sensation in the web mapping industry. Google Maps presented a novel web-based mapping application which garnered the world's attention with its high speed and high degree of interactive mapping capability, as well as features including high-resolution satellite images and an attractive map design [Ramsey 2006]. Google Maps was able to revolutionize the usability of web mapping applications through its implementation of a pure, client-side JavaScript - an aspect which until then had been neglected by many existing applications even though usability clearly influences user satisfaction and greatly contributes to the success of an application.

A search of existing literature shows very little research focusing on the usability of web mapping applications. Analyses or empirical research on the usability of web mapping applications have not been published to date.
This thesis will examine the usability of web mapping applications by using the term Smart Map Browsing as an indicator of usability. This expression does not exist in current literature and will therefore be developed and further defined as part of the work presented herein, more specifically in Chapter 3.2. As a result, this thesis intends to contribute to the further technical development of the usability of web mapping applications.

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

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