Friday, September 21, 2007

MapServer 5.0 Released - Enhancements & Performance Improvements

When I first started using Open Source for a project in Switzerland, I went immediately to the UMN MapServer. My first introduction to this was loading and using Shape Files to create a relatively simple internet mapping site - my first!

My initial impression of Open Source, was WOW! The ease, the speed and the amount of documentation and resources available made me a believer in the Geospatial Open Source world. I then moved onto loading the data into a PostGIS database developed by Paul Ramsey at Refractions Research here in Victoria. Again, WOW! This was not difficult. I had maps and a database up and running in less than a day and I was able to spatial queries as well.

Today, the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) proudly announced on their web-site a major release for UMN MapServer, Version 5.0.

In the Press Release it states:

"MapServer 5.0 is the first major release release since version 4.0 in July of 2003. While there have been regular releases every 6 months or so this is the first time developers felt the new feature set warranted the "major release" label."

Some of the new features include many small bug fixes, more enhancements and performance improvements.

A detailed listing of the new features include:

  • style and label attribute attribute binding;
  • lookup table-based raster color correction;
  • dynamic charting (pie and bar); explicit label prioritizing;
  • enhanced debugging and logging;
  • dynamic allocation for layers, classes, styles and symbols;
  • improved memory management and garbage collection for MapScript;
  • numerous improvements for OGC service support.

This release also incorporates map rendering using the Anti-grain Geometry (AGG) graphics library. According to the Press Release this bring higher and better maps to the internet because of improved cartographic quality.

As the Press Release, and I concur, I to am "excited about the future possibilities of bringing high-end cartography to on-demand web mapping".

My hats off to Steve Lime and the UMN Developers worldwide!