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I am having a bunch of Mapinfo data of a large area. This data has multiple layers and is also available as SHP, and of course it could be easily converted to SQLite ("SpatiaLite"). Although probably only one layer needs to be visualized at this point.

The problem is: The customer needs to select a rectangle from the data so it can be processed further.

I already though of writing a Google Maps Plugin / Mashup that is fed by some AJAX/JSON. Or writing a Plugin for uDig. (OpenJUMP won't be appropriate because it has problems handling large amounts of data.) Another idea was writing a Java app with Google Maps embedded and maybe some (OSS) overlay that visualizes the SHP/Mapinfo data.

Each solution has its good sides but also its bad sides. So, what do you think is the best way to realize it?

Thanks, Philip

BTW: The solution should not consist of expensive Closed-Source Tools.

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Any problem with qgis? –  Pablo Jan 28 '11 at 15:34
    
@Pablo - Thanks for the hint, gotta check that out. On our last project qgis didn't work out though I forgot why... –  Philip Jan 28 '11 at 15:59
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you have to use Google Maps as your basemap then you need a web based solution (terms of service for Google mean you can't display those tiles in desktop GIS) so you may want to look at OpenLayers and a Web Map Server (e.g. GeoServer or MapServer) to serve the shapefiles to the browser. This would let you draw a rectangle on the map and make a WFS request for the data to pass to whatever processing you need to do.

Or you could go with an Open Street Map (OSM) base layer (or Natural Earth data) in a desktop GIS such as uDig, QGIS or OpenJump depending on your preferences.

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Thanks for the suggestions. This example openlayers.org/dev/examples/wfs-states.html (which is fed by a WMS) seems like a very nice starting point. With transparent: 'true' one has a transparent layer. I should be able to place a Google Maps layer below it. –  Philip Jan 28 '11 at 17:00
    
I wonder which Web Map Server has the best performance serving large maps... –  Philip Jan 28 '11 at 17:01
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it depends but see slashgeo.org/2010/09/08/… –  iant Jan 28 '11 at 18:20
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