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I have tab files (or shp) with information like residents , buildings etc... I need to be able to click a point in web map and query all data that fall in certain radius. I didn't decide yet which WMS I'll use because my web apps are .net and although geoserver seems more popular , I have zero experience with java. Let's say I chose a WMS. Should I use it's sdk (if it has any , currently using mapxtreme to query map data on server side) to query files directly or should I import all to SQL 2008 and work with it (not sure how to search within polygon or in radius yet) Tips , opinions will be welcome

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WMS has a request called GetFeatureInfo that you can use and will give you the information you need.

To get this information you don't need any programming or using any SDK: on the client side just build a valid GetFeatureInfo request and send it to the WMS server; that is, you don't directly query the database or the shapefile. Both GeoServer and MapServer implement this WMS request.

About the data sources, a usual option consists on using shapefiles containing the information you mentioned - residents, buildings... - as attributes. Another options is using an spatial enabled database like PostGIS.

Last, choosing MapServer or GeoServer is a matter of taste. I have used both and I prefer the latter for many reasons. One of them is that I find that GeoServer is easier to install and configure, which is done using a web interface.

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Thank you dariapra. Will I be able to do all kinds of queries using GeoServer (your chosen WMS) without writing JAVA code ? Will I be able to draw polygon in Openlayers and get all features within back as a list and create HTML report from them (Using .Net environment) or Get Nearest record from Pin on map ? –  Alophind Nov 18 '12 at 4:22
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The WMS request GetFeatureInfo will allow getting the feature attributes at point any (x, y); other queries are not possible. No programming is required. For more complex queries you can consider using Web Feature Service (WFS), which both GeoServer and MapServer feature. About OpenLayers, it can draw polygons, no matter if you are using WMS or WFS (to learn about OpenLayers capabilities, you can see the OpenLayers examples at goo.gl/ZfVsW). –  dariapra Nov 18 '12 at 12:22

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