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Is it necessary to learn openlayers to use geoserver? Can i completely ignore OpenLayers so long as i master using geoserver to publish data on my website because i understand openlayers is contained in geoserver? I would like to set up a web GIS but i find learning openlayers or leaflet difficult.

I would like to create a web application that receives data from, say a mobile phone and combines it with data served through GeoServer from my PostGIS database

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2 Answers 2

It isn't necessary to learn OpenLayers or Leaflet when you just want to use GeoServer.

However, I have a single advice for you: because you already have a working GeoServer, do yourself a favor and go to https://github.com/boundlessgeo/suite/tree/master/geoexplorer. Follow those instructions, build a geoexplorer.war and deploy it to your servlet container.

GeoExplorer is tightly integrated with GeoServer, and is ideal for someone without an OpenLayer or Leaflet background.

Using GeoExplorer your maps will have a professional look, as a real web application.

As a map creator you'll log into GeoExplorer using the same user and password you have in GeoServer:

enter image description here

Then, choosing your desired layers, zooming and panning to your location, you only need to export the map, ticking the tools you want to be available to your users:

enter image description here

Here's a preview of your future web application (the 3D look of the buildings is due to a SLD style in my GeoServer):

enter image description here

Your users will be able to:

  • measure length or area

enter image description here

  • read features' data

enter image description here

  • do a map print preview

enter image description here

  • modify / create features / modify values (even from their mobile devices, as you said, but only if you give them rights)

enter image description here

  • perform strong queries (if you give them rights)

enter image description here

Isn't this a great web application? And everything without writing a single code line!

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OpenLayers And GeoServer are two distinct softwares, used for different purposes.

Geoserver is a Server Software, which serves out Geospatial Data, via OGC services.

OpenLayers is JavaScript Library which can be used to make web applications that (Amongst other things) can consume OGC services.

It just so happens, that when Geoserver wants to use something to display a preview, it uses a limited version of OpenLayers. Beyond this, they are totally independent.

You can use many clients with Geoserver like Leaflet, Qgis, ArcGIS Desktop & ArcGIS Web API's and many others.

Similarly, for OpenLayers, Geoserver is just one of the many possible sources of data. OpenLayers can use data from MapServer, GeoJSON files, GPX files, ArcGIS Server, and so on.

Now the answer to your question is, it depends.

If you just need to publish Geospatial data, and serve it via OGC services (like WMS, WFS & WCS) you can just figure out GeoServer, and forget about OpenLayers.

If on the other hand, you need to develope a web application that uses data from GeoServer, you'll need to learn a web mapping library like Leaflet, OpenLayer or many others.

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Thanx Devdatta, I would like to create a web application that receives data from, say a mobile phone and combines it with data served through GeoServer from my PostGIS database. –  josemaina Jan 31 at 10:03
For this, you'll require to learn not just OpenLayers, but also some Server side technology, like Java or Php. –  Devdatta Tengshe Jan 31 at 10:15

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