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Open Access Methodology

A simple method for serving Web hypermaps with dynamic database drill-down

Maged N Kamel Boulos*, Abdul V Roudsari and Ewart R Carson

Author Affiliations

Centre for Measurement and Information in Medicine, School of Informatics, City University, London EC1V 0HB, UK

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International Journal of Health Geographics 2002, 1:1  doi:10.1186/1476-072X-1-1

Published: 9 August 2002

Abstract

Background

HealthCyberMap http://healthcybermap.semanticweb.org webcite aims at mapping parts of health information cyberspace in novel ways to deliver a semantically superior user experience. This is achieved through "intelligent" categorisation and interactive hypermedia visualisation of health resources using metadata, clinical codes and GIS. HealthCyberMap is an ArcView 3.1 project. WebView, the Internet extension to ArcView, publishes HealthCyberMap ArcView Views as Web client-side imagemaps. The basic WebView set-up does not support any GIS database connection, and published Web maps become disconnected from the original project. A dedicated Internet map server would be the best way to serve HealthCyberMap database-driven interactive Web maps, but is an expensive and complex solution to acquire, run and maintain. This paper describes HealthCyberMap simple, low-cost method for "patching" WebView to serve hypermaps with dynamic database drill-down functionality on the Web.

Results

The proposed solution is currently used for publishing HealthCyberMap GIS-generated navigational information maps on the Web while maintaining their links with the underlying resource metadata base.

Conclusion

The authors believe their map serving approach as adopted in HealthCyberMap has been very successful, especially in cases when only map attribute data change without a corresponding effect on map appearance. It should be also possible to use the same solution to publish other interactive GIS-driven maps on the Web, e.g., maps of real world health problems.