Recent developments in web map applications have widely affected how background maps are rendered. Raster tiles are currently considered as a regular solution, while the use of vector tiles is becoming more widespread. This article describes an experiment to test both raster and vector tile methods. The concept behind raster tiles is based on pre-generating an original dataset including a customized symbology and style. All tiles are generated according to a standardized scheme. This method has a few disadvantages: if any change in the dataset is required, the entire tile-generating process must be redone. Vector tiles manipulate vector objects. Only vector geometry is stored on the server, while symbology, rendering, and defining zoom levels run on the client-side. This method simplifies changing symbology or topology. Based on eight pilot studies, performance testing on loading time, data size, and the number of requests were performed. The observed results provide a comprehensive comparison according to specific interactions. More data, but only one or two tiles, were downloaded for vector tiles in zoom and move interactions, while 40 tiles were downloaded for raster tiles for the same interactions. Generally, the WebP format downloaded about three times fewer data than Portable Network Graphics (PNG).
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