Nowadays all I see when I explore more about web gis applications are some examples of interactive maps which are actually not so 'dynamic' as they are called. It's usually just simple interactive map with few base layers and overlays with markers and popups on click. If they are little better then they offer you some kind of filtering and querying the data.

It's good way to start learning how to develop web gis applications but what about real time web gis applications?

It looks like very interesting field and more and more possible with new frameworks and technologies. E.g. let's say that you want to have map which shows you movement of dolphins which are tagged with satellite chip and that chip sends location data to web server (e.g. each 20sec) and then it's display on map in real-time? That's the first thing that come to my mind but there are hundreds of possible examples. I'm really struggling to find good examples of such projects.

  • Welcome to gis.SE. Asking for opinions is explicitly off-topic - see gis.stackexchange.com/tour. Can you please edit your question (click edit below the question) to ask a specific, actual problem that you have, rather than something that is opinion-based or likely to result in discussion? Thanks!
    – BradHards
    Dec 28, 2013 at 23:58
  • 3
    I'm not sure "off-topic" is the right word; it is clearly on the topic of GIS. Asking for opinions is discouraged and yet i think that's a great shame. Plenty of good opinions have been expressed on this (and all) SE sites.
    – Martin F
    Dec 29, 2013 at 0:10
  • Well BradHards, I look at this same as martin but anyway, I apologize if I broke the rules of gis.SE with this question. However, I don't have any actual problem (like something doesn't work in code) so it's hard for me to modify my question right now. Thanks for understanding
    – pasara
    Dec 29, 2013 at 18:18
  • The part of this question about resources possibly could be re-fashioned into something that would be answered here. But first look at gis.stackexchange.com/questions/8113/how-to-start-web-mapping, which appears to ask essentially the same thing: perhaps that answers your question?
    – whuber
    Dec 29, 2013 at 18:33
  • @whuber - I took it to be a fact-seeking question and answered it as such. "What resources are there" (help/tutorials) and "what examples are there". I think as a question it's just fine - some of the most popular questions/answers on this site are of a similar nature, including the top two most highly voted questions. Dec 30, 2013 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


Real-time applications aren't really that different from the regular applications you've seen. There are two fundamental differences:

  1. The database changes regularly - this is a backend thing and isn't anything special for web-mapping.
  2. The web-map updates itself at a polled time interval rather than just when the user interacts.

That said, some Examples:

Worldwide realtime marine tracking - http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/home/ There's an API if you want to play. And an FAQ which explains how it all works.

enter image description here

Similar exists for aircaft - http://uk.flightaware.com/adsb/coverage

And of course trains too - http://traintimes.org.uk/map/#bhm - (although strictly that only knows where trains are when they've left a station)

enter image description here

Edit - Bonus Examples:

Real time global (zoom out) Earthquake monitoring.

Weather - The "real time" stuff is typically done differently for weather as they render raster images from earlier in the day (up to a few minutes ago) and the loop them. - http://weatherplaza.com/ or http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/satellite/ for instance.


You may also want to see this question - What is the best practice to show GPS movements on map (Openlayers or Leaflet) using DB and Geoserver?

And talk to whichever API you end up using - OpenLayers list question about RealTime maps for instance https://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg10364.html

Edit: Bonus material: Fairly detailed how-to for a real time traffic web-map. http://flowingdata.com/2008/09/03/how-to-create-a-real-time-web-traffic-map-for-your-site/

  • 1
    Thank you, those are very nice examples and that's very close to some of my ideas. However, I would still like to find more materials and examples as I look at this as very interesting field to do but this was also helpful. Thanks
    – pasara
    Dec 29, 2013 at 17:48
  • @pasara - You're welcome. I added a couple of bonus examples and another link to how-to material. Dec 29, 2013 at 18:28
  • Seems very interesting. I'll take a deeper look later. Thanks :)
    – pasara
    Dec 29, 2013 at 21:16

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