Web GIS in practice VIII: HTML5 and the canvas element for interactive online mapping

Maged N Kamel Boulos, Jeffrey Warren, Jianya Gong, Peng Yue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


HTML5 is being developed as the next major revision of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), the core markup language of the World Wide Web. It aims at reducing the need for proprietary, plug-in-based rich Internet application (RIA) technologies such as Adobe Flash. The canvas element is part of HTML5 and is used to draw graphics using scripting (e.g., JavaScript). This paper introduces Cartagen, an open-source, vector-based, client-side framework for rendering plug-in-free, offline-capable, interactive maps in native HTML5 on a wide range of Web browsers and mobile phones. Cartagen was developed at MIT Media Lab's Design Ecology group. Potential applications of the technology as an enabler for participatory online mapping include mapping real-time air pollution, citizen reporting, and disaster response, among many other possibilities.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Health Geographics
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2010


  • Computer Graphics
  • Data Display
  • Databases, Factual
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Internet
  • Maps as Topic
  • Programming Languages


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