Imagemaps are link-sensitive graphics, photos and images in which certain graphic areas contain links, so-called hotspots. The sensitive areas, which can be defined in HypertextMarkup Language( HTML), can be rectangular, round or polygonal in shape and are provided with a link. If the deposited hotspots of a graphic or a photo are activated by a mouse click, the viewer is forwarded to the corresponding web page via the hyperlink.
The deposited graphic areas are made recognizable or one recognizes it by the change of the mouse pointer. Imagemaps are distinguished between client-side and server-side imagemaps.
In the case of client-side image maps, the hotspots have outbound links from which the branched web page emerges. The coordinates of the links are directly in the map definition. In the rarely used server-side image maps, the web server takes care of evaluating the coordinates entered by mouse click.
The technique of image maps is used in web pages, e-catalogs and reference works on CD-ROMs. Imagemaps are particularly suitable for linking calendars, maps, computer games, visual keyboards and product catalogs.