I have a shapefile loaded in a GeoServer instance, and I need some guidance on how to best style the output. The file is depicting public/private land ownership in the State of Colorado. The shapefile has different feature properties (adm_name) for each agency - State Land, BLM, US Forest Service, Private, etc. Each type of ownership needs to be a different color.

A PNG image of the unstyled map is here.

enter image description here

I need it to look like this (without the grid, of course).

enter image description here

So, this is as much a theoretical question as a technical one.

Can I just apply the styling with a SLD file? Or inline in the web browser through the Leaflet code? Or should the features be split up into different layers and a single style applied to each layer? Or something else completely?

It's currently a huge resource to load on a web page. So, any suggestions to accomplish this efficiently are most welcome.


1 Answer 1


Since this is a "large" file your best bet is to style it on the server and use the WMS service to send it to your browser as a small image (i.e. a compressed png).

GeoServer uses SLD to style layers, there are many examples available in the SLD cookbook which you can use as a basis for your style. In your case I would recommend using the recode function as being the easiest and probably quickest.

  • OK, I think I'm following you, and I had seen the recode function in the SLD Cookbook. My question now is in response to your answer. You said, "send it to your browser as a small image (i.e. a compressed png). "That's where I'm scratching my head. I don't want a single image. I want it is a zoomable/togglable tile layer on an interactive map. Jul 2, 2016 at 13:38
  • That is how GeoServer works.
    – Ian Turton
    Jul 2, 2016 at 15:06

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