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I am successfully serving Koeppen-Geiger climate shift data from a MapServer instance. Here is an example WMS request to show the current state.

WMS example

Unfortunately this looks nothing like the ArcGIS Koeppen-Geiger map. For comparison here is a full screenshot of the layer I am serving from the raw data:

enter image description here

I downloaded the map from here. There are a lot of files in the shapefile zip, and I'm not sure if any of them can help me get the desired output. Here is a screenshot of the files:

enter image description here

Additionally, when I load the shapefile into QGIS by itself it looks the same as delivered from MapServer.

Can anyone explain how I improve the map's aesthetics?

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You can´t use the files you got there directly since they are not supported in Qgis or by MapServer. The Styling informations are within the .lyr and .lyr.xml files. There are Export-Tools that you can export the styling to .sld format which is readable by the umn-mapserver. (for example: arcmap2sld.i3mainz.hs-mainz.de) Not sure if the tools work without ArcMap, haven´t tried it in a while.

Or you would have to create the needed symbology in Qgis(and save as .sld) or with the MapServer Symbology.

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