I'm a recent Computer Science graduate who prides himself on his knowledge of software development and problem solving, but has no idea how GIS systems work. (Read: I'm a programmer.)

I've been charged with developing (ie. coding) a new webmap from scratch.

I can program in any language that has bindings to COM (Microsoft Component Object Model), so I've been writing in PHP.


5 Answers 5


Fortunately for you (and all of us!), there are plenty of available (and mature!) options in the FOSS4G world!

Following your technology preferences here's some examples:

For a more complete reference please visit OSGeo.org. It's an umbrella organization for the most popular FOSS geospatial projects out there.

Maybe if you're in the neighborhood you can visit the annual FOSS4G conference. Here's a list of workshops that happened in 2011 regarding web mapping technologies:

As for my personal experience developing web mapping applications based on pure javascript/html/css frameworks (OpenLayers/jQuery) can be really straightforward.

  • Thanks for the information Pedro. I'm new to this organization so I'm wary to suggest they change technologies, especially considering they changed recently from another map technology that was even older, however I plan to just create some proofs of concept to them, and hopefully that will convince them. These resources should come hugely in handy. Aug 22, 2011 at 18:24
  • Thanks for the extensive list. Just one more, which I think should certainly be in the list, although you will most likely use it in combination with other projects (like openlayers): mapserver.org
    – johanvdw
    Aug 23, 2011 at 11:14
  • @johanvdw, Of course! :) I just listed projects regarding client side development. Map servers (Geoserver, Mapserver and few others) would be an all other list that makes sense in Jason's question. Aug 26, 2011 at 10:19

If you are interested in Open Source projects, you'll find the answers to this question helpful: What are the FOSS equivalents to these ArcGIS products?

There are quite a lot of different options how to build an OS web mapping stack. Without knowing your use case it's a little difficult to suggest one over the other.

  • I appreciate the additional information. Aug 22, 2011 at 18:31

I use GeoServer and connect to an Oracle Database (plugin required for geoserver) this happens to be old Geomedia Datastore that was reprojected into a better coordinate system.

Then use Openlayers to be the map interface of that data (data is pulled from Geoserver by WMS (Web Mapping Service)

Good documentation for this is


(you have greater control on this and can customise it as much as as you wish so.)


I would recommend checking out the OpenGeo Suite.

  • 4
    Why would you recommend it? :)
    – Nathanus
    Aug 22, 2011 at 16:07

If a Java solution is an option, have a look at Geomajas. This is a framework for integrating GIS data which gives you a uniform way to handle and display GIS data. Geomajas excels especially in the integration aspects giving powerful end-to-end security, good performance etc. For the client side development it helps by allowing you to work in Java only thanks to GWT. For non-java shops there is a JavaScript API in process, but I fear this is not yet sufficiently mature to use at this moment. That should get better in a month or two.

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