Open Source Server GeoServer

Open Source Web Server GeoServer
Open Source Web Server GeoServer

GeoServer is an extremely powerful, capable and open source server written in Java programming language that allows a user to share, process and edit geospatial data. It is designed for the interoperability and can publish spatial data from any other major source using open standards.

Different Meaning of GeoServer to GIS community:

For Data Provider: It is an application to publish geospatial data in World Wide Web.

For Geographer: It is a server which provides great mapping functionality.

For Programmer: it is a Java Enterprise (J2EE) web application deployable into any J2EE application server.

GeoServer can display spatial data on any popular mapping applications such as Google Earth, NASA World Wind and as well as to web-based maps such as OpenLayers, Google Maps and Bing Maps. In addition to this, it can also connect with ESRI ArcGIS. It permits a user to display their spatial data to the world. GeoServer can create and visualize GIS maps in a variety of formats by using WMS – Web Map Service standards. Free mapping library i.e. OpenLayers is integrated into GeoServer thus making map generation quick and easy. GeoServer is built on Geotools, an open source Java GIS toolkit.

A brief history of GeoServer

GeoServer was started in 2001 by TOPP – The Open Planning Project, a non-profit technology incubator based in New York. TOPP was creating a suite of tools to enable open democracy and to help make government more transparent. GeoServer 1.0 was released in October of 2003 with WFS Specification, In 2005 Web Coverage Service (WCS) and full raster support is added. In August of 2007 GeoServer 1.5.3 was released.

Many of the core developers involved with GeoServer, has founded the GeoTools project, an open source GIS Java toolkit. GeoTools is GIS toolkit which provides many of the functionality that is fundamental to any GIS task. Through GeoTools, support for shapefiles, Oracle databases, ArcSDE integration, and much more was added.

Open Source Server: GeoServer Features:

  • Easy to use web-based configuration tool.
  • Support for PostGIS, Shapefile, ArcSDE, DB2, and Oracle.
  • Java Language support for ArcGrid, World Images, GeoTIFF, GTOPO30, Image Mosaics’ and Image Pyramids.
  • Support for MrSID, ECW, JPEG2000, DTED, Erdas Imagine.
  • Web Map output as PDF, SVG, GIF, JPEG, PNG, and KML.
  • Google Earth Application advanced features supported, such as super overlays (for vector and raster), advanced layout options for pop-ups and titles,2.5D extrudes and styling with SLD.
  • Raw vector data available as GML, GeoJSON, and zipped Shapefiles through the WFS.
  • OpenLayers Integrated: As default ajax viewer and preview engine.
  • Using GeoTools DataStore interfaces, New data formats can be written easily.

Core Features:

Support data from a variety of data sources

  • Vector Data: Shapefiles, External WFS, PostGIS, ArcSDE. DB2, Oracle Spatial, MySql, SQL Server and more.
  • Raster Data: GeoTiff, JPG and PNG (with world file), image pyramid, GDAL formats, Image Mosaic, Oracle GeoRaster, NetCDF.

Data served as quick images using WMS and WMTS protocols
Using GeoServer functionality, data is served up as an image and is completely safe and secure. Unless somebody redigitize the data. The visual appearance of each map layer can be controlled using the SLD standard which allows features to be colour and labelled as per the requirements.

Full vector data can be sent to a client using the WFS protocol
WFS client can download vector and use it, Also, an authorized user can modify the data and send it back to the server to update the stored data using the WFS-T protocol. The data can be transmitted using GML, as well as other standard data formats like shapefile and JSON.

Raster data values can be sent to a client using the WCS protocol
A GIS client can request for the raster. This allows a user to create applications which can model the process.

On the fly reprojection
GeoServer supports the majority of the EPSG projections and can reproject to any of them as per the user requirements.

Implemented Standards

  1. Well-Known Text (WKT).
  2. Web Map Service (WMS).
  3. Web Coverage Service (WCS).
  4. Web Feature Service (WFS).
  5. Web Map Service – Tile Caching (WMS-C).
  6. Web Map Tile Service (WMTS).
  7. Web Processing Service (WPS).
  8. Geographic JSON (GeoJSON).
  9. Georeferenced Tagged Image File Format (GeoTIFF).
  10. Geography Markup Language (GML).
  11. Keyhole Markup Language (KML).
  12. Simple Features for SQL (SFSQL).
  13. Catalogue Service for the Web (CSW).
  14. Filler Encoding (FE).
  15. Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD).
  16. Web Map Tile Service (TMS).
  17. Web Feature Service – Transactional (WFS-T).

Future of GeoServer

The future for GeoServer (An Open Web Server) continues to appear bright. With the community and interest around the project continuing to grow in the recent years with some exciting new developments on the horizon. Individuals can expect continuing work on the versioning extensions for WFS. Data versioning has perpetually been one thing that is solely available on the market with expensive ‘high-end’ solutions like Oracle and ArcSDE. The prospect of providing versioning out of the box with GeoServer may be a constant source of excitement among users. Also of much anticipation is the integration of an embedded transaction aware tile cache. GeoWebcache, this feature will address the static limitations of conventional tile caching when working with data that is constantly being updated. These are many of the various innovations that have yet to come.

Stable Release


Operating System

Windows, Mac, Linux



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