[Qgis-developer] QGIS mapserver project

Marco Hugentobler marco.hugentobler at karto.baug.ethz.ch
Fri May 11 10:21:25 EDT 2007

Dear QGIS developers and users

I'm happy to announce the start of the 'QGIS mapserver' project:


The idea of QGIS mapserver is simple: instead of using QGIS just as a desktop 
GIS, it can also be used as a server. The benefit is that bug fixes and 
extensions for the server also improve desktop GIS (and the other way round). 
So no need to develop two different GIS for desktop and server. And 
everything written in plattform independent C++ using the excellent Qt 

From a technical point of view, QGIS mapserver is an application linked to 
libqgis_gui.so and libqgis_core.so. QGIS mapserver composes a set of 
maplayers according to the client request, the QGIS libraries render 
everything into a QImage (offscreen buffer). The server sends back the image 
(as jpg or png) to the client byte by byte. And thanks to Martins clever 
redesign of the QGIS libraries, QGIS mapserver doesn't need a running 
X-server on Unixes.

QGIS mapserver has been developed at the Institute of Cartography, ETH Zurich 
as part of the ORCHESTRA project. On the project page, you'll find a link to 
a running instance of QGIS mapserver at our institute and some sample 

QGIS mapserver doesn't (yet) have the same number of features as the 
maperservers which are around for many years. But it is already usable as a 
basic WMS server with SLD styling capabilities. It already supports 
GetCapabilities and GetMap over HTTP GET and allows client defined styling 
with SLD. 

It also has capabilities that go beyond WMS (in fact that's why it has been 
developed): it is possible to send SOAP requests via HTTP Post. Additionally 
to the usual predefined data on the server, it is also possible for a client 
to embed the data to render dircetly in the message when using SOAP. And it 
will be possible to use diagram symbolisation (like bar and pie charts) in 
near future.

And now the most important thing: QGIS mapserver is opensource (GPL) -> 
everybody is kindly invited to contribute with code, documentation, testing, 
bug reports, constructive critisism, etc. Contact me if you are interesting 
in joining development of QGIS mapserver, there is still a lot to do... 

All the best,

Dr. Marco Hugentobler
Institute of Cartography
ETH Zurich
marco.hugentobler at karto.baug.ethz.ch

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