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Developer(s) Stephen Lime
Stable release 5.4.2 / 2009-07-23; 14 years ago
Platform Cross-platform
Type GIS software (compare)
License X/MIT

MapServer is an open source development environment for building spatially-enabled internet applications. It can run as a CGI program or via Mapscript which supports several programming languages. MapServer was developed by the University of Minnesota. MapServer was originally developed with support from NASA, which needed a way to make its satellite imagery available to the public.[1]

Open Source Geospatial Foundation

In November 2005, Autodesk, the MapServer Technical Steering Committee Members, the University of Minnesota, and DM Solutions Group announced the creation of the MapServer Foundation.[2] With this announcement, Autodesk announced that its internet mapping application, MapGuide, would be developed as an open source application with all new code and be named "MapServer Enterprise".[2] The existing MapServer application would be renamed "MapServer Cheetah".[2] This name change was overwhelmingly opposed by the MapServer community.[3] Autodesk then backed off this name change and retained the name, "MapGuide" for its product.[3] Also, plans to establish the MapServer Foundation were scrapped; Instead, the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) was established to include MapServer and other open source GIS projects (which now includes MapGuide Open Source).[4]

ArcGIS Software

MapServer is also an ArcGIS Server software component that provides programmatic access to the contents of a map document on disk and creates images of the map contents based on user requests. It is designed for use in building map-based Web services and Web applications using ArcGIS Server.[5]


  1. Ojeda-Zapata, Julio (June 17, 2005). "Minnesota's MapServer flourishes in hot Web-based mapping sector". Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minnesota). 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Schutzberg, Adena (November 28, 2005). "MapServer Community, Autodesk Announce MapServer Foundation". 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Grimes, Brad and Joab Jackson (May 1, 2006). "What’s in an open-source name?". Government Computer News. 
  4. Schuyler Erle (February 4, 2006). "Introducing… the Open Source Geospatial Foundation!". 
  5. Class: MapServer. ArcGIS Engine Java API Specification v9.1. ESRI Developer Network. Accessed 28 May 2010.

See also

  • MapServer History - a history of the MapServer project
  • FWTools – a cross-platform open source GIS software bundle, including MapServer
  • TopoQuest - Topographic map viewer using the technology

External links