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i have to write an application where similar to Google Maps where i have to display a shapefile in a web application. My available technologies are Java (frontend framework: Apache Wicket) or PHP. It has to work under Firefox 4+ and IE8+ What are my options?

I have found a JS library: But it does not seem to work under IE8.

I have read about Web Map Service (WMS). That seems to do the job but requires setting up another server. I could probably live with that.

Are there any other options? What are the best options?

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There are a lot of options. OpenLayers or Leaflet are probably a good place to start for the client side and they can read local shapefiles. For more options have a look at the OsGeo website (especially note the webmapping links on the right hand side).

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