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I have been working with Geoserver and ArcGIS Server but I am still not sure what make these geospatial server handle the spatial data transfer compared to the normal server, like apache & jetty, on which these are installed?

What is that factor that makes Geoserver and ArcServers to be spatially enabled?

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Geoprocessing & Spatial Calculations apache/jetty only can serve up the resulting spatial process – Mapperz Aug 16 '12 at 19:54
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Calling ArcGIS Server and GeoServer 'servers' is a misnomer / marketing technique. GeoServer, for instance, uses Jetty and optionally Apache, etc.

What these are, are applications - like hosted versions of GIS applications but with more emphasis on being able to store data and provide it as APIs - whether tiled images representing the data, the data in different formats, or a way to modify the data in spatial ways.

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Exactly so how do they do that? – Sam007 Aug 16 '12 at 21:44
What value of 'how' are you asking for? How they store geodata? On the filesystem. They transfer it to and from with HTTP and process it with either a Java or C core with usually higher-level application code, like Python or JS, that makes decisions about making UI elements, upload forms, and such. – tmcw Aug 17 '12 at 13:48
So it is all basically software which is hosted on some server and executes all the spatial information? – Sam007 Aug 21 '12 at 16:45

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