I am new to GIS area and am having trouble understanding what GeoServer is. Even after reading their site and the wiki page I am struggling to understand its usage. What does it mean by -- "allows users to share, process and edit geospatial data". Who am I sharing with? What am I sharing? Am I opening up a rest interface to query Geospatial data? If so why not call it a web server? Also if that is the case can I think of this GeoServer as an app server? What are some practical use cases for this?

closed as too broad by PolyGeo, Devdatta Tengshe, AndreJ, Ian Turton Aug 11 '14 at 9:15

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Welcome to GIS SE! However, as it stands I think your question is far too broad for our focussed Q&A format. As mentioned in our Tour we encourage people to post just their most important question first and then to research/ask any others separately. – PolyGeo Aug 11 '14 at 2:30
  • Ha! That is the most pointed question I can ask as I know nothing as you can see. Can you not let the community decide on at least newbie/ignorant questions? I cannot do research without getting my head around what its used for isn't it? – user220201 Aug 11 '14 at 2:43
  • "Does GeoServer open up REST interface to query geospatial data?" does not seem to hard to ask as a single focussed question before zero-ing in on any unanswered aspects that remain from what would have been your multi-part question. – PolyGeo Aug 11 '14 at 3:02
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    When I started with Geoserver, I just set an instance up on my desktop Pc and started playing with it. It has lots of demo data and after that, you can ask specific and focused questions. Just by setting it up, you will answer a lot of your own questions anyway .. – Mark Cupitt Aug 11 '14 at 3:29
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    Please do not discount the focussed Q&A that the Stack Exchange network provides as an alternative, and I think highly effective, learning style. – PolyGeo Aug 11 '14 at 5:07

Essentially it publishes mapping web services from a spatial store. So you're kind of right, in that it's a web server, but one which is specifically designed for spatial data and spatial services - such as WMS.

From there you can include these services in applications you build or in desktop applications where supported (pretty much all of the good ones).

For more learning this is a really good question:

How to start web mapping

  • Wow! Thanks. That URL you pointed to is something I have been trying to find all weekend. – user220201 Aug 11 '14 at 5:54

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