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Open Source WebGIS

Content description

“Open Source WebGIS: Map Publishing and Map Services-Practices Based on MapServer and Leaflet”


Senior Engineer, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Researcher, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Director, World Data System-Renewable Resources and Environmental Data Center

Authorization Statement

The content of this book will be published and updated on the website, including online version and PDF e-book version.

PDF file download:

Version: v0.2

Release Date: 2020-2-20

Download address:: download: <Open Source WebGIS: Map Publishing and Map Service> <>.

This e-book and online content is licensed under the ``CC-BY ‘’ (Creative Commons-Attribution) Agreement: As long as it is signed at the time of use, users can reprint, extract, mix, re-create, and commercialize the creation use.

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Content Abstract

This book introduces the basic principles and technical methods of open source WebGIS, the combination of principles and examples is the characteristic of this book.

WebGIS is very comprehensive and involves a wide range of technologies, it is difficult to explain in a book. But as a tutorial, it may be more important to sort out the technical framework and explain the relationship between different technologies. In these respects, you can still try to talk about it with years of practical experience.

This section requires some programming using JavaScript and Leaflet API. You don’t need to know anything about Leaflet, but you need the following:

Have enough formal experience in writing computer programs or scripts to easily identify and use basic structures such as variables, loops, decision structures, error handling, objects, etc .;

Sufficient JavaScript experience, when you can see the above structures in a piece of JavaScript code, you can easily identify these structures;

Have enough HTML and CSS experience to easily view and explain the basic elements of page markup, such as title, body, script tags, etc.

Technically the following aspects are involved:


It was originally an open source WebGIS software developed by the University of Minnesota and NASA. MapServer is a WebGIS platform developed based on the fat server / thin client model. It reads geographic data and renders it in a graphics library such as AGG to generate pictures in Jpeg/PNG/GIF format, and then sends them back to the client browser. MapServer supports multiple platforms such as Windows, UNIX, and Linux. MapServer supports several standard specifications such as WMS/WFS published by OGC, and supports distribution and interoperation. MapsServer itself is a program written in C language. It provides two development modes, one is based on CGI, and the other is MapScript. MapScript supports languages: PHP, Perl, Python, Java, Tcl, C#, etc.


MapProxy is the Swiss Army Knife for WMS web map service and tiling service providers. It caches, accelerates, and converts data services for existing map services. The service supports OGC standard desktop and web clients. MapProxy development and deployment are flexible and easy to integrate with environments such as Apache/Nginx. MapProxy can also be used as a standalone service, which is the easiest way for new users.


is a modern, open source JavaScript library developed for building mobile-friendly interactive maps. It was developed by a team of professional contributors led by Vladimir Agafonkin. Although the code is only 33 KB, it has most of the functionality for developers to develop online maps. Leaflet design adheres to the ideas of simplicity, high performance and good usability. It can operate efficiently on all major desktop and mobile platforms. It will take advantage of HTML5 and CSS3 on modern browsers, and also support old browser access. Supports plug-in extensions, has a friendly, easy-to-use API documentation, and a simple, readable source code.


The core of the “shared for all” mission is that knowledge is a public interest, and the open principle in education will provide everyone with great opportunities. Although members of our community come from different backgrounds, we all seek to bridge the digital divide, empower everyone with full citizenship, and contribute to building open knowledge for the benefit of society and future generations.

The open source WebGIS tutorial website is produced by the two authors in the process of cooperation based on the actual work experience. Open source WebGIS has a lot of meaning for GIS technology and data sharing, and there are many techniques worth sharing.

  • 1 MapServer’s Web Technology Environment
  • 2 MapServer introduction
  • 3 Basic concepts of Web
  • 4 Install and configure MapServer