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Dear all, I am building a GIS system. All my data is stuffed into geoserver. I need to have a front end able to do the following:

  1. Select one or several layers from geoserver and show it to the end user on a map. It is important to say that there are many layers (speaking 1000s or so) so I want to make a search and pile up some layers the user has choosen and then generate a map with those layers, being able the check boxes for display
  2. Create some group of layers to simplify the work as in point 1.
  3. To be nice, ie a bit like extjs (but extjs is out for licensing issues) having the possibilities to overlay windows on top of the map abd collapse them if needed.
  4. Preferably based on java, javascript, but not mandatory

So far i have checked out different things but it is always one piece of the stack. Openlayers, extjs, mapfish....

Anything out there?

If there is noting, how many people would be ready to team up to come up with opensource stuff. I was thinking about a grails plugin.

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What is the purpose of your GIS? (What is the target audience?) – Mapperz May 17 '11 at 12:46
decision makers (sort of). It is for maritime people they want to focus on only the data they need (habitat, oilrigs, vessels positions....). Basically they know what a map is, they use their own system already, but they are not tech savvy as such, so it should be clear and simple. It would be something close to that in terms of ui: – gersh May 17 '11 at 12:56
up vote 3 down vote accepted

A great option is going to be OpenLayers; this will help you show your data in a view, from there I would go to either Dojo or Ext as a UI builder.

Dojo has some great widgets to build a quick and thin UI that using CDN means you get fast and distributed downloads of the scripts to the user.

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+1 for OpenLayers – Niklas Ringdahl Jun 20 '11 at 14:28
+1 for dojo, actually i finally went for openlayers+dojo, and i have to say i am pretty happy of it. – gersh Jul 1 '11 at 6:21

You might want to use GeoExt. It combines OpenLayer's web mapping capabilities with ExtJS' widgets. Their page has great examples. It's also used by the OpenGeo Suite's GeoExplorer, GeoEditor and Styler apps.

Here's a sample site using a customized GeoExplorer:

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If you plan on running a javascript mapping front-end, take a look at

It is a framework that abstracts all of the different js api into one, so if you wanted to move to yahoo or openstreet it is a simple string change.

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sounds interesting will try out – gersh Jul 1 '11 at 6:27

We have an opensource geoserver/grails/openlayers stack that might be a good starting point. Here is a link to the github project:

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ahah, my app is on top of grails as well, yours sounds pretty good. – gersh Jul 1 '11 at 6:28

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