Web GIS Explained

Elements of a web GIS application (Image: Esri)

A hot buzz term that you’ll be hearing quite often these days is “Web GIS”, however, you may be wondering to yourself, what is Web GIS as it seems fairly broad in scope. According to Esri, Web GIS is a type of distributed information system, comprising at least a server and a client, where the server is a GIS server and the client is a web browser, desktop application, or mobile application. Web GIS offers many advantages including ease of use, support for unified updates, diverse apps and more.

The following are a few key elements essential to web GIS (Source):

  • The server has a URL so that clients can find it on the web.
  • The client relies on HTTP specifications to send requests to the server.
  • The server performs the requested GIS operations and sends responses to the client via HTTP.
  • The format of the response sent to the client can be in many formats, such as HTML, binary image, XML (Extensible Markup Language), or JSON (JavaScript Object Notation).

In the document titled “A framework for deploying web GIS applications” it has been pointed out that there are 5 essential elements in every web GIS app. These include:

  1. a web application
  2. digital basemaps
  3. operational layers
  4. tasks and tools
  5. one or more geodatabase

More on Web GIS including a fine explanation video can be found HERE

Take your Web GIS to new heights! Learn more about the Vision of The GEOPowered Cloud — An Enterprise GIS Deployment Platform