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The Potential of Maps APIs for Internet GIS Applications

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Since the launching of Maps Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in 2005, many web developers, including geographers and non-geographers, applauded the freely adaptable tools and used them to spawn numerous Internet applications. The success of the Maps APIs is largely attributable to its no-cost policy, the availability of global data coverage, dynamic navigation, query capability, and ease of implementation. Despite its versatility in dynamic exploration of geographic data online, the existing Maps APIs lack Geographic Information System (GIS) functionalities compared to other Internet Mapping Services. The goal of this research was to review the potential of the Maps APIs for Internet GIS applications. This research employed the Google Maps API and developed a web prototype that disseminates spatial information of urban sprawl in Mundy Township, Michigan. The results revealed that both vector and raster data could be effectively represented by using the Maps API. Moreover, the Geographic Markup Language (GML) approach illustrated great potential for developing Internet GIS solutions around open specifications. This research suggested several potential solutions to expand the spectrum of GIS operations of the Maps APIs by incorporating the XML-related technology and extending the JavaScript library.
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Keywords: GML; Google; Internet GIS; Maps API; Web GIS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Earth and Resource Science University of Michigan

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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