I've developed many GIS Applications using ESRI ArcGIS 9.3 and 10.0 for ASP.NET.

I'm wondering if I can do a GIS application using my shapefiles and pure PHP scripting. I've Googled for that purpose, found many MapServer solutions, but they were a little bit complicated.

My question is: can I have a little Web application to mange the shapefiles, create tiles for them, deal with aerial images, and then display map layers using OpenLayers for example?

I need a lite solution (No PHP extensions installing required - NO special set up...etc.).

2 Answers 2


Use your GDAL's Fusion Table driver to load your shapefiles into Google Fusion Tables. The GFT developer docs are pretty self explanatory.

You can then use standard php code (even in your shared hosting environment) to write your webapp. If you want more functionality, you are going to have to move to something where you have more control of your environment. I would start with the free Amazon EC2 micro-instances.

  • Again , it's a little bit complicated .. i'm looking for something more easier ..
    – Mathboy
    Mar 9, 2012 at 21:06
  • Signup for GFT, load the data using GDAL, and include the Google Map. That's as easy as it gets for a shared hosting environment. Mar 9, 2012 at 21:17

It might not answer your question but is there a reason why you wouldn't like to use something existing for that? Geoserver for example, that will allow you to manage your shapes and to create the tiles.

Then you can always develop your site in php and embed your maps using OpenLayers.

  • Well , The issue is i have many projects and all i have is a shared hosting , so i can't do any kind of installation or adding additional libraries , just a small web application is required to manage my issues
    – Mathboy
    Mar 9, 2012 at 20:34
  • @Ashraf I think you're out of luck
    – canisrufus
    Mar 9, 2012 at 20:46
  • If you can change hosting, webfaction allow their users on shared hosting to install lots of different programs, including postgresql/postgis. And they have the nicest, friendliest support too.....
    – djq
    Mar 9, 2012 at 21:29
  • @Ashraf Easy, cheap, good. Pick two. You're gonna have to invest more if you want to do more. Whether it be time, money or some other resource.
    – R.K.
    Mar 10, 2012 at 2:26
  • 2
    @Ashraf Throughout the years, I have seen people creating shapefile readers over and over and over and they keep making the same mistakes. Yes, you are right that you can make a pure PHP shapefile reader.AFAIK, there is no good one.At the end, I always ask why. Just use shapelib or gdal and save yourself some trouble.From the code you sent,look at how it handles geometries. Then compare it with SHPReadObject() from here svn.osgeo.org/gdal/trunk/gdal/ogr/ogrsf_frmts/shape/shpopen.c The difference? It doesn't handle multipatch, Zs, arcs, etc etc etc Mar 12, 2012 at 6:51

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