I am doing some research and trying to understand how Mapbox compares to GeoServer (or any GIS server software), and whether or not they are used together or if using one precludes using the other. Can you/should you load services stored in GeoServer or similar in a Mapbox map? If you would not use them together, why would you use one vs the other. I'm trying to understand the main differences - it seems to be that Mapbox is more than just an API, perhaps a hosted mapping platform, but how does it interact with GIS servers/databases?

  • I'm not sure your question fits very well with the expected format for GIS.SE. You seem to have many questions for example. You say you have done some research, so you should perhaps show some of that research in the body of the question. What is it that you want to do, share maps with others (so they can use it in their own clients), build your own web site... – nmtoken Apr 7 '16 at 7:22
  • My research was inconclusive on the question that I asked, which is why I posted it here. We are building our own website. – kflaw Apr 7 '16 at 14:26
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    So the strength of GeoServer (and similar software like MapServer, deegree) is to provide services using standard interface protocols like WMS,WFS,WMTS, WCS, WPS. These OGC web services are intended to be consumed by multiple clients, whether they be on the web through libraries like OpenLayers or on a Desktop like QGIS. So if you want your data to be used in multiple locations, then you will need to set up such an OGC service. AFAIK you can't serve OGC services with Mapbox. You may be able to consume such services with Mapbox you'll need to check. – nmtoken Apr 7 '16 at 14:44

It depends a bit on what your goal is, with Geoserver (and other mapservers) you are in control of your data, as you provide the services. They do not cost anything (beside the infrastructure). But you have to care about the underlying server (hardware or platform as a service and software, security and so on), probably need an Apache/Ils/Nginx whatever configured, need to care about client side visualisation (JScript/Openlayers, PHP or others, as well as Symbology).

With services like MapBox you have less work to do but need to pay for it (beside the free version with several restrictions). There you have lots of stuff preconfigured.

That is in general the difference. For small / fast deployment a service like MapBox is probably nice (never used one though). If it gets bigger those services tend to become expensive, but you need some know-how and time to run services on your own.

And of course you can use them in parallel(if i understand you correct on this point). Its just the underlying data that needs to be yours and you can put them online in several ways.


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