The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLVIII-4/W1-2022
05 Aug 2022
 | 05 Aug 2022


M. Ammann, A. Drabble, J. Ingensand, and B. Chapuis

Keywords: Geospatial, Map, Vector Tiles, Rust, WebGPU, WebAssembly

Abstract. Map renderers play a crucial role in Web, desktop, and mobile applications. In this context, code portability is a common problem, often addressed by maintaining multiple code bases: one for theWeb, usually written in JavaScript, and one for desktop and mobile, often written in C/C++. The maintenance of several code bases slows down innovation and makes evolution time-consuming. In this paper, we review existing open-source map renderers, examine how they address this problem, and identify the downsides of the current strategies. With a proof of concept, we demonstrate that Rust, WebAssembly, and WebGPU are now sufficiently mature to address this problem. Our new open-source map renderer written in Rust runs on all platforms and showcases good performance. Finally, we explain the challenges and limitations encountered while implementing a modern map renderer with these technologies.