some background:

  • im using openlayers WMSGetFeatureInfo control to get feature info from a WMS layer.
  • the data is in postgis (its a table of points).
  • im using mapserver, and you need to define a template file for getfeatureinfo request.

if i put in the template file:

any string

it works. when clicking a feature i get back this string (for any feature of course).

if i put in the template file:


it returns the current date, (not a column in the table)

if i put in the template file:


it returns a number that is not the id column of the feature, though it is different for each feature.

how can i request all columns for that feature, as if i would do a "select *" quary ?

thanks allot!

  • Would it be OK to use text/plain or GML as outputformat or do you absolutely need text/html?
    – user30184
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 18:34
  • gml or plain text are perfect. point is that if i put "wms_feature_info_mime_type" "text/plain" in the web metadata tag i get Unsupported INFO_FORMAT value (text/html).. only if i put "text/html" it returns something..
    – dowi
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 7:08
  • INFO_FORMAT must match the mime type so use text/plain there. The columns to show are selected in layer metadata with "wms_include_items"
    – user30184
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 7:15
  • thanks! i had to write infoFormat: "text/plain" and not INFO_FORMAT: 'text/plain' in openlayers and now it returns plain text. but with "wms_include_items" "all" i see only: Layer 'wmstry' Feature 8061: Cluster:FeatureCount = '1' Cluster:Group = '' and not all columns. should i still use a template tag??
    – dowi
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 7:40
  • 1
    yes - when i removed the clustering and then clicked a feature i get now all its columns... so thanks allot for that!! i wonder is there a way to keep the clustering? i mean i clicked a single feature
    – dowi
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 7:45

1 Answer 1


Attributes from source data are picked into html templates with syntax

[item name=DATE format="$value" escape=none]</td>

Use of Mapserver templates is documented in http://www.mapserver.org/mapfile/template.html. However, with templating and INFO_FORMAT=text/html it is not possible (without scripting) to automatically select all attributes into GetFeatureInfo response because all the "items" should appear in the template. I have seen that done with some scripting so that templates are created on-the-fly to suit the data.

What is easier is to use either text/plain or application/vnd.ogc.gml as INFO_FORMAT. Then all the attributes which are defined in the mapfile at LAYER level with metadata item "wms_include_items" or "gml_include_items" are written to the GetFeatureInfo response. The desired "SELECT * FROM" output is achieved for the text/plain format with this metadata setting

"wms_include_items" "all"

Full control over the advertised and allowed info_formats may require the use of metadata items "wms_getfeatureinfo_formatlist" and "wms_feature_info_mime_type" and GetFeatureInfo must be allowed in ""wms_enable_request" list. Read the documentation http://mapserver.org/ogc/wms_server.html

  • just a comment: this works if the layer is not clustered and the parameter in openlayers is called infoFormat. thanks allot!
    – dowi
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 11:19
  • Clusters are newcomers for WMS and others have had problems with those too, see gis.stackexchange.com/questions/98536/…. When user hits the cluster symbol on a map the server should compute in reverse order from what data the cluster was built which may not be simple.
    – user30184
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 11:31

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