MapServer is an open-source GIS development platform that allows users to create and publish interactive maps, spatial data, and applications. It is a CGI application that can run as a standalone program or be deployed as a web service on a web server. It is built in C language and supports a variety of programming languages. In addition to this, MapServer is one of the fastest Web mapping engines available.
MapServer is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It comes with sample datasets for download. There are also instructions for setting up and using the toolkit’s GIS viewer. ESRI has also released a sample service of the United States that is powered by ArcGIS Server.
The MapServer ecosystem includes TinyOWS, a small-footprint map server that is named after Olivier Courtin. This application is perfect for deploying GIS applications on embedded ARM devices. Besides serving as a cache, it supports the full OpenGIS standard. Moreover, it also works with PostGIS.
Another option for deploying a GIS application on an embedded system is the GLG Map Server. The library supports all the features of the MapServer and is available for free. Besides being easy to set up and use, the GLG Map Server is self-contained. It supports orthographic, rectangular, and vector projections, and can handle millions of points. You can either download the Community Edition, which has a GIS viewer, or opt for the Commercial Edition, which provides all of the above features.
As a standalone application, GLG Map Server can be used to generate map images and serve them to clients. It supports transparency, full alpha blending, and dynamic attribute thresholding. Additionally, it supports orthographic and rectangular projections, raster, and vector data.
MapServer is the fastest Web mapping engine. It includes MapCache, which stores a copy of map images and allows query operations. Also, there is a geoprocessing tool called Manage Map Server Cache Tiles. For larger caches, this tool can be very useful. When it is time to update a cache, the user can simply click the Manage Map Server Cache Tiling Scheme button and make the required changes.
MapServer was developed at the University of Minnesota in the mid-1990s. After a series of releases, it was rewritten in 2002. Since then, MapServer has been updated with new features and capabilities. Some of its latest features include native FlatGeobuf support, OGCAPI: Features support, and WFS 2.0 support.
MapServer supports multiple output formats, including KML, SVG, and OpenGL. In addition, it also supports contour rendering, heatmap layers, and layer-level character encoding. However, it’s important to note that MapServer is not a fully functional mapping engine. If you’re looking to build a large map with many layers, you might want to consider a more advanced mapping software like ArcGIS Pro.