FAQ

Map Server Foundation has been moved to www.osgeo.org. It is now known as the Open Source Geospatial Foundation and is hosted at www.osgeo.org.

1 General

1.1 Whats the news?
Several groups, developers and individuals have worked together to launch the MapServer Foundation (see 1.8). The foundation is a nonprofit organization created to foster and support ongoing development of open source web mapping technologies. This news is also an invitation for who are interested to become involved.
1.2 What is the MapServer Foundation?
The MapServer Foundation is an independent nonprofit legal entity established to support the needs of the open source web mapping community. The Foundation will serve as an organizing body, a public technology commons, a development community manager, and event sponsor.
Once fully established, the MapServer Foundation will provide a legal and administrative framework to better support the ongoing development and promotion of open source web mapping technologies.
1.3 How will the MapServer Foundation be governed?
The foundation will use a governance model similar to other successful open source projects. It will have a set of bylaws that provide structure and can be amended by consensus of the community.
1.4 What is planned for the foundation website?
The foundation web site at mapserverfoundation.org is where users and community participants can follow and contribute to the development of foundation projects and the roadmap for the open source web mapping technologies represented by the MapServer Foundation. This site will grow to include:

  • Source code repository and other project infrastructure
  • Formalized processes for project management, tracking bugs, submitting code changes, and setting development direction.
  • Resources for marketing, branding and professional image development of the product
Many of these community-related functions have been handled in an ad-hoc manner in the past. The MapServer Foundation will streamline the coordination of legal, administrative and governance efforts.
1.5 What projects will be part of the MapServer Foundation?
The foundation will be the home of MapServer, the most widely used open source solution for building spatially-enabled web applications. It has experienced rapid growth and has become the mapping platform of choice for many businesses, government agencies, non-profit groups and individuals.
In addition to MapServer, Autodesk has also made several code and project contributions. This includes their new web mapping platform called MapGuide Open Source. They have also contributed FDO, their spatial data access API, which supports dozens of different database and file formats.
1.6 Can I join the Foundation?
Yes! The foundation will be further developed only through broader community involvement. There will be many ways to participate in the foundation and its projects. Initially, there is a mailing list for further discussion. The foundation will work with all community members who share the goal of promoting open source web mapping.
1.7 How can I contribute code?
The governance model currently being formulated by the MapServer Foundation members will define how code will be added to foundation software projects. The foundation will emulate other successful open source projects utilizing an active meritocracy model.
1.8 Who was responsible for creating the MapServer Foundation?
There are 11 people who helped conceive and launch the MapServer Foundation:

  • Steve Lime Chair of the MapServer Technical Steering Committee (MTSC) and the creator and lead developer of MapServer
  • Yewondwossen Assefa – MTSC Member and part of the DM Solutions Group team.
  • Howard Butler MTSC Member and a GIS analyst with the Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology at Iowa State University
  • Daniel Morissette MTSC Member and one of the founders of DM Solutions Group.
  • Perry Nacionales MTSC Member and a member of the Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota
  • Frank Warmerdam MTSC Member and independent GIS consultant
  • Tom Burk, Professor responsible for the MapServer project at the University of Minnesota
  • David McIlhagga, President of DM Solutions Group
  • Tyler Mitchell, geographer, open source enthusiast and the author of Web Mapping Illustrated
  • Claude Philipona, Camptocamp SA and FOSS4G 2006 organizing committee
  • Gary Lang, VP Engineering, Autodesk Infrastructure Systems Division

2 About MapServer

2.1 What is MapServer?
The most popular open source map server software, MapServer was originally developed by Steve Lime at the University of Minnesota through the NASA-sponsored ForNet project, a cooperative effort with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Continued support has been provided through the NASA TerraSIP project, involving the University of Minnesota and a consortium of land management interests. The software is grown and maintained by an increasing number of developers from around the world and is supported by a diverse group of organizations that fund enhancements.
The software is built on top of other popular open source software libraries including: GDAL/OGR, Proj.4, Shapelib, GD, FreeType, etc. It supports dozens of vector and over 40 raster data formats. It can run as a CGI application using Apache or IIS web servers or scripted through several programming languages including Perl, Python, PHP, Java and more. MapServer is known to run on Linux, most versions of Unix, Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX.
2.3 Under which license is MapServer offered?
MapServer is available under an open source license based on the MIT license
2.4 How can I get MapServer?
MapServer is currently hosted by the University of Minnesota at: mapserver.gis.umn.edu. This project will eventually be hosted by the MapServer Foundation.

3 About MapGuide Open Source

3.1 What is MapGuide Open Source?
MapGuide Open Source is a new web mapping platform that allows developers to rapidly develop and deploy valuable spatial applications. It works with the latest PHP, .NET, and Java tools to quickly build powerful applications for Windows or Linux server environments. Developers can also easily publish spatial views internally, over the web, or using Autodesks DWF viewing technology for offline portability. Autodesk originally developed MapGuide Open Source and will donate the entire code base for this project to the MapServer Foundation.
3.2 Under which license will MapGuide Open Source be offered?
MapGuide Open Source will be licensed under the OSI-approved GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).
3.3 Will MapServer and MapGuide Open Source remain separate products?
Yes. MapServer and MapGuide Open Source will be managed as two separate open source projects. There are no plans to merge the two projects but it is likely that developers will share technologies between the two projects wherever it makes sense.
3.4 Whats available to download now? Where can I get the software?
A preview snapshot of MapGuide Open Source is currently available for download at mapserverfoundation.org. This preview is not buildable as is. A buildable release of the source will take place at a later date.