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Web mapping with vector tiles for sharing geospatial data

Increasingly geographic maps are being provided in digital formats via web and mobile applications (apps). Most people in high income countries, like the UK, are familiar with Google Map type apps e.g. using a web map app when searching for directions or somewhere to visit. The focus of this project and associated report was on innovations in the provision and use of vector maps, specifically vector tiles, in web maps. The figure shows tiles at different 'zoom levels' (spatial resolutions), this image is from Maptiler's excellent 'What are vector tiles and why should I care'. Vector tiles and related technologies and tools are based around a relatively new spatial data format that is transforming the provision and use of vector spatial data.

If you would like to learn more about vector tiles and related web mapping technologies, then our report provides an overview including this two minute introduction to vector tiles.

In this report we focused on four objectives: review and summarise developments in vector tile technologies to aid researchers and stakeholders use geospatial information for natural resource management; share these summaries with researchers and MDT-relevant stakeholders, including web pages; explore and demonstrate how existing research geospatial datasets could be provided as vector tiles; and plan how the James Hutton Institute can use vector tile technology to improve delivery of natural resource data to users.

This project was funded by the Vector tiles for different zoom levels Macaulay Development Trust (MDT) - ‘Demonstrating potential scientific and societal Impact from innovations in Vector tile data and digital tools for web/mobile Apps (DIVA)’.


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Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project


Areas of Interest


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.