[OSGeo-Discuss] Proposal: OSGeo Cartographic Library

Brent Fraser bfraser at geoanalytic.com
Mon Apr 14 13:55:23 PDT 2008

> ESRI seems to have .mxd files, which is their map definition file. It's
> a binary format and probably not documented. Then they have ArcXML (AXL)
> which serves the same purpose () as Mapserver mapfiles. BTW, mapfile
> format is a result of a lot of thought and practical experience. I
> believe some tools (QGIS?) can export mapfiles (can they import them?).

While I think it is ok to store styling information in a map definition
file, I think it should be used only if the user has applied their own
styling, different from the default supplied with the data.

Just like .prj files tag along to define the geometry of a geographic
dataset, a default style file (.OSF?!) should tag along to define the
default rendering.

> OGC Styled Layer Descriptor specification does not impress me, and it's
> WMS implementation specific.
> GDAL has feature style specification:
> http://www.gdal.org/ogr/ogr_feature_style.html It has recently gained
> some new interest.

I missed that!  Thanks for the link!

> In my work I deal a lot with scientific data and geovisualization type
> of thing, and it would be very useful to be able to import and export
> visualization information files from desktop apps. Sometimes the problem
> solving could be based on shared development of such files.

Good point.  For me the lack of default styling info is a major
productivity killer.  Our users want to importl basemap data, then spend
their time solving geographic problems, not setting ROADS=RED,
RIVERS=BLUE, etc.   If you are using styling to expose subtler patterns in
data, it's even more important to be able to share it.


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