When it comes to web mapping, we are surfing on a third wave in our digital ocean. And the “collaborative processing” between the digital entities while surfing that wave is making the ride more fun, insightful and expressive.
The first web wave was back in the mid 1990s, where interactive maps in the form of html image tags relied heavily on the server and requests parameters to regenerate the image when you clicked on the edge arrows to pan and zoom. Remember MapQuest and ArcIMS ?
Then in the mid 2000s came the second wave or more like a tsunami, Google Maps. You hold down the right mouse button on the map and drag to pan, you use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out, and… when you click on the map, a bubble appears on the map showing the details of the clicked location. Disruptive ! And all was smooth, responsive and AJAXy. This is when I believe that this collaborative processing concept took root and materialized itself in the web mappers’ minds. Soon after, more expressiveness was required as HTML was lacking in power and functionalities and the capitalization on browser plugins emerged to create Single Page Applications. Remember Flex and Silverlight ?