Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Evolving GeoWeb

We recently contributed a chapter to Geocomputation (2nd edition) entitled "The Evolving GeoWeb". What is interesting is the marked difference between the first edition (which was published in 2000) and the second. For example, in the latest edition, there is a chapter on agent-based modeling (ABM), while in the first, only cellular automata (CA) models were covered and ABMs only briefly discussed. We also see in the second edition new chapters including ours on the GeoWeb which shows how the field of geocomputation has changed with advances in Web 2.0 technology, greater computational power, new devices (such as GPS enabled smart phones) and the rise in new sources of data (volunteered and ambient geographical information, VGI and AGI). The abstract of our chapter is copied below, while examples of early and current web mapping is provided in the figures below.

"The Internet and its World Wide Web (WWW) have revolutionised many aspects of our daily lives from how we access and retrieve information to how we communicate with friends and peers. Over the past two decades, the Web has evolved from a system aimed primarily towards data access to a medium that fosters information contribution and interaction within large, globally distributed communities. Just as the Web evolved, so too did Web-based GeoComputation (GC), which we refer to here as the Geographic World Wide Web or the GeoWeb for short. Whereas the generation and viewing of geographical information was initially limited to the purview of specialists and dedicated workstations, it has now become of interest to the general public and is accessed using a variety of devices such as GPS-enabled smartphones and tablets. Accordingly, in order to meet the needs of this expanded constituency, the GeoWeb has evolved from displaying static maps to a dynamic environment where diverse datasets can be accessed, exchanged and mashed together. Within this chapter, we trace this evolution and corresponding paradigm shifts within the GeoWeb with a particular focus on Web 2.0 technologies. Furthermore, we explore the role of the crowd in consuming and producing geographical information and how this is influencing GeoWeb developments. Specifically, we are interested in how location provides a means to index and access information over the Internet. Next, we discuss the role of Digital Earth and virtual world paradigms for storing, manipulating and displaying geographical information in an immersive environment. We then discuss how GIS software is changing towards GIS services and the rise in location-based services (LBS) and lightweight software applications (so-called apps). Finally, we conclude with a summary of this chapter and discuss how the GeoWeb might evolve with the rise in massive amounts of locational data being generated."

PARC Map Viewer (Source: Putz, 1994)

Google Earth as a base layer for possible trajectories of the radioactive plume from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The different color lines represent different possible paths of the plume (Source:

A proof of our chapter can be downloaded from here. We hope you enjoy it!

Full reference:
Crooks, A.T., Hudson-Smith, A., Croitoru, A. and Stefanidis, A. (2014), The Evolving GeoWeb, in Abrahart R. J. and See, L. M. (eds.), Geocomputation (Second Edition), CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 69-96. (pdf)