Types of web maps
A first classification of web maps has been made by Kraak in 2001. He distinguished static and dynamic web maps and further distinguished interactive and view only web maps. Today there an increased number of dynamic web maps types, and static web map sources.
Analytical web maps
Analytical web maps offer GIS analysis. The geodata can be a static provision, or needs updates. The borderline between analytical web maps and web GIS is fuzzy. Parts of the analysis can be carried out by the GIS geodata server. As web clients gain capabilities processing is distributed.
Animated and realtime
Realtime maps show the situation of a phenomenon in close to realtime (only a few seconds or minutes delay). They are usually animated. Data is collected by sensors and the maps are generated or updated at regular intervals or on demand.
Animated maps show changes in the map over time by animating one of the graphical or temporal variables. Technologies enabling client-side display of animated web maps include scalable vector graphics (SVG), Adobe Flash, Java, QuickTime, and others. Web maps with real-time animation include weather maps, traffic congestion maps and vehicle monitoring systems.
CartoDB launched an open source library, Torque, which enables the creation of dynamic animated maps with millions of records. Twitter uses this technology to create maps to reflect how users reacted to news and events worldwide.
Collaborative web maps
Collaborative maps are a developing potential. In proprietary or open source collaborative software, users collaborate to create and improve the web mapping experience. Some collaborative web mapping projects are:
The traditional atlas goes through a remarkably large transition when hosted on the web. Atlases can cease their printed editions or offer printing on demand. Some atlases also offer raw data downloads of the underlying geospatial data sources.
Static web maps
Static web pages are view only without animation or interactivity. These files are created once, often manually, and infrequently updated. Typical graphics formats for static web maps are PNG, JPEG, GIF, or TIFF (e.g., drg) for raster files, SVG, PDF or SWF for vector files. These include scanned paper maps not designed as screen maps. Paper maps have a much higher resolution and information density than typical computer displays of the same physical size, and might be unreadable when displayed on screens at the wrong resolution.