A recent question Performing raster map algebra in open source web GIS? has repeatedly used this "WebGIS" term, along with the tag, but it is not clear to me what either the term WebGIS or the tag refer to.

It sounds like it could be the name of a product, but a brief survey of the 13 questions with the tag suggests that it is just being used as a vague catch-all for any web-based GIS, which seems far too broad a tag for it to be useful.

Should we burninate ? It seems to be almost as useless as the burninated tag.

  • Both question and answer appear to agree that there is a problem with the weg-gis tag (and related tags) so I have set status-planned to indicate that some action needs to be taken over time rather than as a quick fix.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Nov 8, 2014 at 10:08

1 Answer 1


I think burnination is overkill for a tag that is so rarely used, but I certainly think that it should be removed from about half of its current questions because they already mention a product from the web tier.

I just added a tag excerpt and wiki for which hopefully will explain why I think it remains an occasionally useful tag:


Web GIS is a generic term which should ONLY be applied when no specific web GIS product is identifiable


Web GIS has been defined in the ArcGIS Help 10.1 as:

Web GIS is a type of distributed information system, comprising at least a server and a client, where the server is a GIS server and the client is a web browser, desktop application, or mobile application. In its simplest form, web GIS can be defined as any GIS that uses web technology to communicate between a server and a client.

It is like Web Mapping but has been extended by the inclusion of geoprocessing capabilities such as Web Processing Services (WPS), ArcGIS Geoprocessing Services, etc.

Normally you will be using a specific web GIS product such as:

  • ArcGIS for Server
  • FME Server
  • GeoServer
  • etc

and if that is the case then this web-gis tag is superfluous and should NOT be used.

However, if you are using multiple web GIS products (i.e. using up too many of your 5 tags) or have a question about that part of a spatial architecture in more conceptual terms then it can be considered available as a "tag of last resort".

As an aside, I think these tags are being used almost interchangeably: (55 questions), (627 questions), (5 questions) and (24 questions) - and perhaps in a separate Q&A we should discuss them being merged and whether or should be the master instead.

  • I guess my point was that I don't think the web-gis tag should be used at all, but this is definitely an improvement. The problem I see with the tag is that it is so incredibly vague, that it is likely only to ever be used on questions that should be closed as 'too broad'.
    – blah238
    Oct 13, 2014 at 22:49
  • @blah238 I'm in almost total agreement but I think burnination is just too big a stick to use on a tag that to me is only a minor irritant compared to some others that are begging for disambiguation first.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Oct 13, 2014 at 23:02
  • Can you define the term, before worrying about when it should/shouldn't be used?
    – Martin F
    Oct 15, 2014 at 3:25
  • @martinf Because I think it should rarely be used, I had overlooked providing a definition. I've addressed that now.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Oct 15, 2014 at 3:35
  • Looks good now.
    – Martin F
    Oct 15, 2014 at 3:45
  • 1
    This works for me. I have updated the referenced question to use the more generic term "web GIS", rather than "WebGIS", and clarified its title.
    – blah238
    Oct 15, 2014 at 9:19
  • Regarding other tags, I agree something should probably be done about them. Probably add online to the mix, too. :)
    – blah238
    Oct 15, 2014 at 23:23
  • Web certainly seems like a meta tag. But personally I see a useful distinction between web-mapping and web-gis - one simply plots and displays data while the other has analysis capabilities. Just as this answer points out, though perhaps not as in actual applied use on the site. Obviously web-gis is a very little-used tag at the moment. Don't know how I feel about elimination in favor of specific product tags. We have lots of general tags that are also covered by product tags; networks and geoprocessing functions for example.
    – Chris W
    Oct 16, 2014 at 20:12

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