Fossgis workshop: mapserver introduction - Toni Pignataro and Joerg Thomsen

Tags: fossgis, geo

(Only the first part, the introduction. I’m not writing down the actual workshop :-)

Webgis means the user can view a dynamic map with just an internet browser: he doesn’t need a full-blown GIS package on his computer.

Basic setup: the user requests something of a generic webserver, which in turn sends on the request to a map server. The UMN mapserver runs as a plain old CGI script. Mapserver uses a configuration file *.map, also called the mapfile. This contains everything that the mapserver needs to know what to do.

Mapserver supports lots of formats:

  • Shapefile and geotiff.

  • Various raster formats through GDAL: tiff, png, jpg.

  • OGR simple features library for vector data: tab, mif, dgn, arcinfo coverages, tiger etc.

  • Databases: postgis, arcsde, oracle spatial.

Some main features of UMN MapServer:

  • Focus on web mapping, not “real” GIS functionality.

  • Speedy and stable. A CGI script means that every web request gets a fresh instance of the software: so IF a problem crops up, the damage stays limited to that one request.

  • Multi-platform (linux/mac/windows).

  • Runs with every webserver through CGI.

  • WMS and WFS. Both as server and as client.

  • Support for lots of input formats.

  • Completely open source.

  • Diagrams in the map.

  • Lots of user.

  • Overview map, dynamic legend, scale.

UMN MapServer supports WMS. Some comments on that:

  • You can use every client to view the WMS data. Compatible…

  • … because WMS is a standard of the OGC. You can read the official specs. The page count of those specs is scary, but every one of those specs has 10-20 pages that form the real content, so it is practical to read it sometimes.

  • Mapserver can also be used in a cascading way as a WMS client.

  • WMS has a couple of possible requests: GetCapabilities, GetMap, GetFeatureInfo, GetLegendGraphic, DescribeLayer, Getstyles, PutStyles.

Hear the midgets humming. Student torture, I suppose. logo

About me

My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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