Map Server How To


Sahana's GIS framework supports plugging in a map server to enable WMS and WFS capabilities. Map server will provide those services to GIS clients which request maps using the data stored within a spatial database.

UMN MapServer is preferred because of it's support for different data formats, thus allowing their data to be accessible by a wide spectrum of clients.


UMN MapServer requires a web server (Apache is preferred) and PHP, Python or Perl scripting language support should be there. Other mandatory libraries include the following.

  • libpng – library of routines to render PNG images
  • freetype – font rendering library
  • gd – library of graphics routines used by map server to render images.
  • zlib – data compression library

These libraries will allow MapServer to work with it's basic capabilities, for extended capabilities (such as connecting with PostGIS spatial database, accessing different data formats, ….) additional libraries are needed.

Map server for Windows

The easiest way to use MapServer on the Windows platform is to use the free MS4W (MapServer For Windows) package from the web site.

All you have to do is to extract the .zip file to a drive root (e.g. c:\) and you are ready to go!

All the essential libraries and apache web server is bundled in to the MS4W package. Run the apache web server by executing the apache.exe found inside the MS4W directory structure.

Installing UMN Map Server in Linux

Debian based distributions

(Commands should be executed as the super user, thus following are tested on ubuntu linux)

  • sudo apt-cache search mapserver

make sure to have added community maintained open source software and main repositories added to your package manager's repositories list.

  • sudo apt-get update

You will see the map server cgi programme if it is there.

  • sudo apt-get install cgi-mapserver

command will install the map sever cgi program to your web server's cgi-bin directory with the dependencies libgdal1-1.3.2 and proj.

You are required to install a module to communicate with map server with a scripting language for development purposes.

Ex: php5-mapscript, perl-mapscript, python-mapscript

  • sudo apt-get install php5-mapscript

How to check whether MapServer is set up correctly

Type in your browser: http://localhost/cgi-bin/mapserv

This will give you the following output:

No query information to decode. QUERY_STRING is set, but empty.

Success Screen Shot LOL

References :

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