Geography 970

February 14, 2010

HTML5 and Online Mapping

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fei Du @ 9:48 pm

HTML5 and Online Mapping HTML5 is a hot topic recently. There is a debate on whether it is the killer of Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight. It’s hard to predict the future. However, as domain users or experts, what we should do is to understand how new technologies can be used to fulfill our needs.

I did some preliminary review on HTML5. It seems that one of its advantage is the and elements which allow for embedding rich media directly into the browser. This is the area where Flash almost takes up 75% market share currently. For online map applications, I believe the most important features are element and geolocation API.

 According to wikipedia, “the canvas element is part of HTML5 and allows for dynamic scriptable rendering of bitmap images”. “Canvas consists of a drawable region defined in HTML code with height and width attributes. JavaScript code may access the area through a full set of drawing functions similar to other common 2D APIs, thus allowing for dynamically generated graphics. ”

Here is a nice website that collects a lot of Canvas application examples. Some of them are really cool!

Geolocation API maybe is the most relevant feature for us. The traditional method of Geolocation is to check your IP address and then retrieve the location from the database. HTML5 offer a new generation of Geolocation with the new JavaScript API which is based on wireless Geolocation. It is much more accurate.

Here is an introduction of geolocation api:

Many web browsers have already begun to support HTML5, such as Firefox 3.5, Google Chrome and  Apple Safari. We may start to try some of the new features in our web map applications.



  1. It looks as though a Google employee, who is in the HTML5 working group, is claiming that Adobe is trying to block the HTML5 specification. It will be interesting to see how the accusations, at the corporate level, start to develop over the next few months.

    Comment by Jeremy White — February 15, 2010 @ 10:52 am

  2. I signed up to use the HTML5 beta on youtube, but it seems that about half of the videos are still loading the flash plug-in. From the developers point of view, what’s the difference between calling the video object and the flash object?

    Comment by mattmoehr — February 16, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

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