Towards Progressive Geospatial Information Processing on Web Systems:  A Case Study for Watershed Analysis in Iowa

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Muneeb Shahid, Yusuf Sermet, Ibrahim Demir


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are available as stand-alone desktop applications as well as web platforms for vector- and raster-based geospatial data processing and visualization. While each approach offers certain advantages, limitations exist that motivate the development of hybrid systems that will increase the productivity of users for performing interactive data analytics using multidimensional gridded data. Web-based applications are platform-independent, however, require the internet to communicate with servers for data management and processing which raises issues for performance, data integrity, handling, and transfer of massive multidimensional raster data. On the other hand, stand-alone desktop applications can usually function without relying on the internet, however, they are platform-dependent, making distribution and maintenance of these systems difficult. This paper presents RasterJS, a hybrid client-side web library for geospatial data processing that is built on the Progressive Web Application (PWA) architecture to operate seamlessly in both Online and Offline modes. A packaged version of this system is also presented with the help of Web Bundles API for offline access and distribution. RasterJS entails the use of latest web technologies that are supported by modern web browsers, including Service Workers API, Cache API, IndexedDB API, Notifications API, Push API, and Web Workers API, in order to bring geospatial analytics capabilities to large-scale raster data for client-side processing. Each of these technologies acts as a component in the RasterJS to collectively provide a similar experience to users in both Online and Offline modes in terms of performing geospatial analysis activities such as flow direction calculation with hydro-conditioning, raindrop flow tracking, and watershed delineation. A large-scale case study is included in the study for watershed analysis to demonstrate the capabilities and limitations of the library. The framework further presents the potential to be utilized for other use cases that rely on raster processing, including land use, agriculture, soil erosion, transportation, and population studies.



Computer Sciences, Earth Sciences, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Sciences


Georeferencing, Geospatial Analysis, Offline Maps, Progressive Web Applications, Web Workers, Web Bundles


Published: 2021-12-26 07:29

Last Updated: 2021-12-26 15:29


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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