MapServer is an OpenSource development environment for building spatially enabled Internet applications. The software builds upon other popular OpenSource or freeware systems like Shapelib, FreeType, Proj.4, libTIFF, Perl and others. MapServer will run where most commercial systems won’t or can’t, on Linux/Apache platforms. MapServer is known to compile on most UNIXes and will run under Windows NT/98/95. The MapServer system now supports MapScript which allows popular scripting languages such as Perl, Python, Tk/Tcl, Guile and even Java to access the MapServer C API. MapScript provides a rich environment for developing applications that integrate disparate data. If the data has a spatial component and you can get to it via your favorite scripting enviroment then you can map it. For example, using Perl’s DBI module it is possible to integrate data from just about any database vendor (eg. Oracle, Sybase, MySQL) with traditional GIS data in a single map graphics or web page. In addition, there is now a PHP/MapScript module included in the current release- thanks DMSolutions. Of course, there is still the MapServer CGI application which provides a significant number of “out-of-the-box” features. Here’s a sampling: – vector formats supported: ESRI shapefiles, simple embedded features, ESRI ArcSDE (alpha release) – raster formats supported (8-bit only): TIFF/GeoTIFF, GIF, PNG, ERDAS, JPEG and EPPL7 – quadtree spatial indexing for shapefiles – fully customizable, template driven output – feature selection by item/value, point, area or another feature – TrueType font support – support for tiled raster and vector data (display only) – automatic legend and scalebar building – scale dependent feature drawing and application execution – thematic map building using logical or regular expression based classes – feature labeling including label collision mediation – on-the-fly configuration via URLs – on-the-fly projection MapServer is not a full-featured GIS system, nor does it aspire to be. It does, however, provide enough core functionality to support a wide variety of web applications. Beyond browsing GIS data, MapServer allows you create “geographic image maps”, that is, maps that can direct users to content. For example, the Minnesota DNR “Recreation Compass” provides users with more than 10,000 web pages, reports and maps via a single application. The same application serves as a “map engine” for other portions of the site, providing spatial context were needed. We’re not done either. In the works are OpenGIS Consortium Web Mapping Testbed (WMT) compliance, productivity code and utilities to make developing applications even easier. The MapServer was originally developed by the University of Minnesota (UMN) ForNet project in cooperation with NASA and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR). Additional enhancements were made by the MNDNR and the Minnesota Land Management Information Center (LMIC). Current development is funded by the TerraSIP project, a NASA sponsored project between the UMN and consortium of land management interests.