Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Arctic Map Tiles for Interactive Maps

The Web Mercator projection gets a lot of unfair criticism. One very fair criticism however is that Web Mercator is next to useless for providing accurate maps of the Arctic and Antarctic.

Recently the WWF released a beautiful online map called ArkGIS. The map includes layers to visualize historical ice and snow coverage, oil and gas exploitation and information about wildlife in the region.

I can't find any information on how the ArkGIS map was created. However you can see that a lot of work has been put into creating the map projection and styling the map tiles. A lot more work than many developers will want (or have time) to undertake when creating interactive maps.

Fortunately, however, there is now another solution for anyone who wants to create interactive maps of the Arctic. Arctic Web Map is a new Arctic specific web mapping tool, consisting of an Arctic-focused tile server, and a Leaflet-based client library.

There are six Arctic projections available, each using a Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area (LAEA) view of the North Pole region. The Arctic Web Map tiles are compatible with Leaflet maps, when used with the Proj4JS and Proj4Leaflet libraries. The map tiles are available to use free of charge for low-traffic users. If you need high-traffic use then you should contact Arctic Web Map.
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