Work on geospatial data with ease
GeoServer is a free open-source utility software that lets you view and edit geospatial data. Developed by the Geospatial Foundation and its dedicated community, this is a Java-based software server that uses open standards set forth by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to create accurate maps and publish their data. It’s open for anyone to check out and work on, and comes in three versions: Stable, Maintenance, and Development.
What is GeoServer used for?
GeoServer is used to share, process, and edit geospatial data, allowing for flexible map creation and data-sharing. Since it freely displays your spatial information to the world, anyone in need of such data can easily collect this information by simply using the server. Using the Web Map Service (WMS) standard, this powerful tool can create maps in a variety of output formats—often nicely-designed for easier navigation.
This server is built on GeoTools, an open-source Java GIS toolkit. It also has OpenLayers integrated into it, which is a free mapping library that makes map generation easier. Plus, you can add more functionality via extensions—pretty handy for implementing the tool into websites and applications. It also uses the Web Map Tile Service standard to split published maps into tiles, making them much easier to use in web mapping and mobile apps.
You can find this utility server’s contributions in popular maps and virtual globes like Google Earth, NASA World Wind, Leaflet, Google Maps, and Bing Maps. It’s constantly being developed and improved for more accurate and easy data-sharing on geographic information systems. In fact, in partnership with the OSGeo Foundation, it’s aiming to be certified as a compliant software. If you’re just starting out with GIS apps, it’s recommended to try this server out.
A great server to share
Overall, GeoServer is a great open-source project of a GIS. Popular free maps use it as a reference and basis and its transparency policies enable you to see geospatial information from others that you may be in need of. While the user interface can be tricky due to its browser-based web administration style, the server is extensively documented so beginners can quickly catch up.