GEOG 585
Open Web Mapping

Lesson 5 assignment: Examine tiled maps, then build your own


Now that you've gone through a walkthrough and built your own tiled map, hopefully your appreciation has increased for the amount of cartographic design and effort required for producing a web basemap. In this week's assignment, you'll look at some existing tiled maps, then get some practice building your own.

Do the following:

  • Find four online maps that use tiled maps in the background. These can be either rasterized image tiles or vector tiles. For each map, comment on where the tiles are coming from and how they were produced, if you can figure it out. It's okay if some of your tile providers are repeated (for example, two of the four might use Google Maps), but try to find at least one web map that uses a "homegrown" tiled basemap in the background. Simple local map viewers produced by city and county GIS websites are good places for this.
  • Create a tiled map of rasterized images using some or all of your term project data. Depending on the nature of your data, this can be a basemap or a map with several thematic layers that is designed to overlay a basemap.

    You should design this map using TileMill and CartoCSS and upload it to your PASS space following the same procedures we used in the walkthrough. The map should be designed using sound cartographic principles, including aesthetically pleasing colors, an intuitive visual hierarchy, and a useful labeling scheme. Take advantage of scale-dependent drawing rules on your layers so that the user is not overwhelmed with information at any particular scale. Zooming into the map should reveal progressively more information.

    Be careful with how many levels of tiles you build for this assignment. To stay on focus during this course, please limit your jobs to under 50,000 tiles at first. After the course, you can experiment with making bigger tilesets if necessary. Also, if your tiled map consists of thematic layers, make sure the tile background is transparent.

Please produce a report containing all the information requested in the first bullet above, as well as a URL to your tileset on your PASS space that I can test in a web map as shown in the walkthrough. Then submit the report to the Lesson 5 drop box on Canvas.