LevelFilesSet: An efficient Data Structure for Scalable Web Tiled Map Management Systems
Modern map visualizations are built using data structures for storing tile images, while their main concerns are to maximize efficiency and usability. The core functionality of a web tiled map management system is to provide tile images to the end user; several tiles combined construe the web map. To achieve this, several data structures are showcased and analyzed. Specifically, this paper focuses on the SimpleFormat, which stores the tiles directly on the file system; the ImageBlock, which divides each tile folder (a folder where the tile images are stored) into subfolders that contain multiple tiles prior to storing the tiles on the file system; the LevelFilesSet, a data structure that creates dedicated Random-Access files, wherein the tile dataset is first stored and then parsed in files to retrieve the tile images; and, finally, the LevelFilesBlock, a hybrid data structure which combines ImageBlock and LevelFilesSet data structures. This work signifies the first time this hybrid approach has been implemented and applied in a web tiled map context. The JDBC API was used for integrating with the PostgreSQL database. This database was then used to conduct cross-testing amongst the data structures. Subsequently, several benchmark tests on local and cloud environments are developed anew and assessed under different system configurations to compare the data structures and provide a thorough analysis of their efficiency. These benchmarks showcased the efficiency of LevelFilesSet, which retrieved tiles up to 3.3 times faster than the other data structures. Peripheral features and principles of implementing scalable web tiled map management systems among different software architectures and system configurations are analyzed and discussed.