[Mapserver-users] What doesn't MapServer do?
woodbri at swoodbridge.com
Sat Jul 17 09:56:47 EDT 2004
Bill Stephenson wrote:
> I've been reviewing the docs for MapServer and many of the libraries it
> uses and I'm having a harder time finding what it cannot do rather than
> what it does. It says on the home page, "MapServer is not a
> full-featured GIS system, nor does it aspire to be."
> Could someone please elaborate on this? What features does MapServer
> lack, nor aspire to include?
As its name implies, MapServer, is primarily a tool for displaying maps
as a web service. It also queries maps because most of the same
machinery for displaying is also required for queries. Once you move out
of this realm of Query and Display, mapserver functionality does not
begin to compare to real GIS systems.
For example, mapserver does not provide tools for editing data, for
adding data, for performing spatial boolean operations on data, for
supporting multiple user data management. There are no facilities to do
geocoding (address or name lookups), direction finding (routing),
network analysis and the list goes on.
While many users have built web based applications the allow data to be
collected from web users and displayed via mapserver, they are not using
mapserver for the data collection and storage management. This is
typically done via server side scripting. Other users have created
geocoding and routing solutions that run beside mapserver as a separate
web service and are integrated via the server side scripting.
Check out the demos on http://iMapTools.com/
You will find maps, geocoding, reverse geocoding, routing, and
drive-time analysis all glued together using PHP. The geocoding and
routing are two separate web services that are integrated using PHP. I
could have glued them together using any scripting language, like PHP,
Perl, Python, etc.
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