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Deciding by MapServer

Taking advantage of a recent conversation with a Cadastral institution that was looking to publish its maps, here I summarize the most important things to return the rescue of the subject to the community. Perhaps at the time it will help someone who wants to make a decision or ask for geofumada help.

Why MapServer

The stage was someone, who intended to leave GeoWeb Publisher, Bentley, because he still had a license of Discovery Server, The ancestor of this, back in the dusty years.  Another reason why they were interested in Bentley is that their mapping is on Microstation Geographics, with VBA applications for construction and maintenance of cadastral maps.

Previously on the blog (Ugly - Rare As the friend says) We showed how to create a web map service, Using Manifold GIS, as a low cost alternative. I also spoke one day about the benefits of Geoweb Publisher from Bentley as a solution when there is more silver. This to give continuity to that old post in which Made comparisons Among several applications for publishing online maps.

After the conversation we decided to go for MapServer, a topic that I hope to exploit in the next few days. By the way, start testing other open source platforms for the rest of the year, but in a web environment.

banner MapServer is not a GIS application, it doesn't even pretend to be, as its page says. It was born as an initiative of the University of Minnesota, hence its logo comes from the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. Today it is a benchmark in the widely distributed web map service, perhaps due to its Anglo-Saxon origin. As this application there is a wide range -Very wide really-, I like its simplicity, the simplest for new users; All magic is in the handling of the .map file that can be generated from programs like QGis or understand logic to mapscript to exploit languages ​​like PHP, Java, Perl, Python, Ruby or C #.

More applications are developed on MapServer "ServedSuch as Chamaleon, Cartoweb, Ka-map, and Pmapper. These are recommended for users with less code proficiency, although understanding the primitive logic of MapServer is ideal.

Mapserver install

The example shown is that, just an example of the work we are doing now. With their permission and aware that this service will be available to the public in a couple of weeks and then they can see it working.

What other web applications exist

For this, I will use as a reference the Foundation OSGeo, which is one of the most creative initiatives in terms of sustainability and standardization of open source in the geospatial field. Although I admit that there are others.

  • Mapbender, quite popularized, used as a thin client with Mapserver in the case of IDE Guatemala. The reason for its appeal is that it was developed for PHP and JavaScript, two of the most widely used combinations on the web today.
  • Mapbuilder, Which reached its end in version 1.5 and merged into Open Layers. The AJAX thing… it was a beauty.
  • Open Layers, Wonders if you want to integrate Google or Yahoo Maps or efficiently cache the raster display.
  • Mapguide Opensource, very popular for its relationship with AutoDesk. Robust to die for, in whatever flavor you want.
  • Degree, quite a smoke in standards. With a lot of potential in Europe. Due to its stability in GML support, it is suggested as the neutral alternative for the implementation of web processes in the initiative. INSPIRED.

Mapserver install Other OSGeo incubation solutions are:

  • Geoserver, its biggest potential is that the development is about Java. With much to offer such as Open Layers when integrating Google Maps, Google Earth, Yahoo Maps, including ArcGIS.
  • Geomatics Which includes light client, desktop and web.
  • MapFish, With a focus on Pyton but perhaps one of the least documented (online).

MapServer advantages

Compatibility With standards OGC. Perhaps the best, although in this almost all open source applications are doing well, at least as far as WMS, WFS, WCS, GML.

  • Web Map Service (OGC: WMS) 1.0.0, 1.0.7, 1.1.0 and 1.1.1
  • Web Feature Service (OGC: WFS) 1.0.0, 1.1.0
  • Web Coverage Service (OGC: WCS) 1.0.0, 1.1.0
  • Geography Markup Language (OGC: GML) 2.1.2, 3.1.0 Level 0 Profile
  • Web Map Context Documents (OGC: WMC) 1.0.0, 1.1.0
  • Styled Layer Descriptor (OGC: SLD) 1.0.0
  • Filter Encoding Specification (OGC: FES) 1.0.0
  • Sensor Observation Service (OGC: SOS) 1.0.0
  • Observations and Measurements (OGC: OM) 1.0.0
  • SWE Common (OGC: SWE) 1.0.1
  • OWS Common (OGC: OWS) 1.0.0, 1.1.0

Serving data via the Open Gis Consortium guidelines will make any program stick to it without much hindrance. From AutoDesk Civil3D, ArcGIS. Bentley Map, to gvSIG, QGis, etc. Even Google Earth / maps via wms.

Comparing it with the applications that I have worked before (GeoWeb Publisher and Manifold GIS), MapServer surpasses them by having Too much diffusionAs a result, your page has enough information, developed examples, not to mention the user community. In the case of GWP you have to work a lot with the nails and what there is of Manifold in Spanish is very little -leaving out Geofumadas So as not to contradict-.

El Data support it is a wonder. It is not heaven but it is close enough:

  • Vector or Geodatabase data: Shape files, GML, PostGIS and one more world via OGR, including DGN.
  • Raster data: georeferenced Tif and whatever we want via GDAL.
  • Output, you can generate jpg, png, pdf and of course, OGC standards.

Then there is the Multiplatform support. MapServer can run on top of IIS, which makes it friendly for Windows / PC users. Also on Apache, with which it can run on Windows and Linux wonderfully, not only to serve data but to navigate. In the case of Manifol
D, only IIS publication, if you tell them about Apache Get congested, Although some have made their pirouettes. And in the case of Bentley, only Windows, even the web display is an ActiveX that only runs on Internet Explorer, unless it is smoked IDPR To the sublime in space cartridge.

Needless to say, it does not deal Pay licensing. The license with Manifold Universal would be in the order of $ 600, that of Bentley GWPublisher for US $ 10,000 with limited users and if it were for GIS Server of US $ 15,000 upwards.

Finally, I see a great advantage in the development. Finding someone who works MapServer is not that easy, but it is much easier than with other applications, even remotely as we are doing now. A developer who knows the guts of Bentley GWPublisher is not so easy to find, he has to know Project Wise, Geographics, Microstation VBA and Bentley Map to take advantage of a robust development on Bentley Geospatial Server (Although I admit that wonderful things are done there). A Manifold GIS developer, very difficult although it is only .NET, and one from GIS Server, will surely charge based on how much the license is worth.

How to install it in 5 steps

Mapserver installThere are not many steps, as well as the beginning of Genesis:

  1. Download OSGEO4W here
  2. Install it, minimum MapServer, Apache and an example.
  3. Install Apache and create the service (or raise a directory via IIS).
  4. Lift service
  5. Run the example in the browser

Yes, like genesis, between verses 1 and 2 there are several things that happened in the rebellion of Satan. Generally getting the service up either via http: // localhost / or occupies your battle, but you learn.

It will be in the next one that we will explain.

Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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  1. Hello Eulises. One day you will tell us the smoke that you did with C #, of which very little I have seen on the web.


  2. Why not do it with c sharp and sql server 2008 or already with posgrest and publishing shape type maps and thus you avoid the domain question and so you only look for a server with

  3. any experience with open source Mapguide ?? I've had it installed for a long time, but when I start the master it throws me a connection error to the server ... a tutorial in Spanish would be very helpful. Greetings, thanks =)

  4. Hello, I am very interested in mapserver, some things I had the opportunity to put together, at this moment I am devoted to developing a map application inside rails, do you have an idea of ​​how? or some help link .. thank you very much

  5. You must find a company that offers accommodation with mapscript included in the service.

    As well as

    To serve it from the intranet level is quite easy, since only with the IP of the machine that has the service raised (as well as can access from other computers within the same network or workgroup.

    In case of wanting to serve it to the Internet, you take care that the machine that works as server has a more or less decent internet connection, and a public IP as well as ( is occupied. The reason is that the IP that takes the equipment to connect to the Internet, provided by the Internet service, although it is public, changes every time it is accessed and is fixed, it is necessary to pay.

    If you do not want access to an IP number like the previous one, you pay for a DNS domain and service, with which you can have an easier address It can also be redirected with a subdomain or services that offer pages like

  6. Congratulations for the blog that I have been doing for quite some time now. Although I am a biologist, I work on GIS issues. Last year I learned to use the MapServer a bit and it is very good. But I have a question that I have not yet gotten the answer. What hosting company does MapServer store? What results do you have to use your own computer and use the domestic internet network?

    I would like to do some other project with this program but I have no way to hang it on the net.

    If someone knows the response, it will be very well received.



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