WHAT ISWEBMAPPING ANYWAY?
Although maps have been around for a very long time, web maps are yet very young in their origin. Despite their relatively short history, web maps have been developing very rapidly over the past few decades. The use, users and usability of web maps have rapidly expanded along with developments in web technologies and new ways of mapping. In the process of these developments, the terms and terminology surrounding web mapping have also changed and evolved, often relating to the new technologies or new uses. Examples include web mapping, web GIS, cloud mapping, internet mapping, internet GIS, geoweb, map mashup, online mapping etc., not to mention those with prefixes such as “web-based” and “internet-based”. So, how do we keep track of these terms, relate them to each other and have common understandings of their meanings so that references to them are not ambiguous, misunderstood or even different? This paper explores the terms surrounding web mapping and web GIS, and the development of their meaning over time. The paper then suggests the current context in which these terms are used and provides meanings that may assist in better understanding and communicating using these terms in the future.