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MapServer Tutorial

What is MapServer?

MapServer is an Open Source platform for publishing spatial data and interactive mapping applications to the web. It is released under an MIT-style license, and runs on all major platforms, Windows, Linux, Mac OS. Map Server is one of the founding projects of the OSGeo foundation.

Map Servers allows you to create geographic image maps, and it can direct users to content. It was originally developed by the University of Minnesota (UMN) ForNet project in cooperation with NASA, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR). Later it was hosted by the TerraSIP project, a NASA sponsored project between the UMN and a consortium of land management interests.


  • Advanced cartography
    • Scale dependent feature drawing and application execution
    • Feature labeling including label collision mediation
    • Fully customizable, template driven output
    • Map element automation
    • Thematic mapping using logical- or regular expression-based classes
  • Support for popular scripting and development environments
    • PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby, Java, and .NET
  • Cross-platform support
    • Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, and more
  • Support of numerous Open Geospatial Consortium standards
    • WMS, non-transactional WFS, WMC, WCS, Filter Encoding, SLD, GML, SOS, OM
  • A multitude of raster and vector data formats
    • TIFF/GeoTIFF, NetCDF, MrSID, ECW, and many others via GDAL
    • ESRI shapefiles, PostGIS, SpatiaLite, Mapbox Vector Tile (MVT), Oracle Spatial, MySQL and many others via OGR
  • Map projection support
    • On-the-fly map projection with 1000s of projections through the PROJ library


Download MapServer latest version.


It is recommended that users of this tutorial read the Introduction to MapServer before proceeding with this tutorial.

Before start the tutorial, users will need to have a MapServer common gateway interface (CGI) program installed in their systems. download the MapServer source code.

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