This is the author's accepted manuscript version: Kong, N., Zhang, T., & Stonebraker, I. (2014). Common Metrics for Evaluating Web-Based Mapping Applications. Online Information Review, 38(7), 918-935.

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Purpose – This study aims to establish common metrics for web-based mapping applications to facilitate user decision making and enhance information providers’ product design.

Design/methodology/approach – The metrics were developed from a combination of literature review and case studies. From the literature review, we identified three major areas of assessment for web-based mapping applications. We then studied six online applications to refine the metrics.

Findings – Our results suggest that web-based mapping applications can be evaluated from three major aspects: data content, GIS functionality, and usability. We have developed detailed measures for each factor through our evaluation of the six applications.

Practical implications – The metrics developed from this study could be used as a standard for online spatial information users to choose appropriate products according to their needs. It can also provide valuable information for data providers to improve their products.

Originality/value – To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that has systematically examined web-based mapping applications in academic libraries. Results from this study could be a valuable tool for librarians as well as general information users without background of geographic information systems and usability to evaluate online mapping resources.


web-based mapping application, geographic information systems, GIS, usability, academic library

Date of this Version