I've been trying to evaluate Mapserver , i'm wondering if there's a way to handle the large size of Aerial image with any kind of Tiling or Caching .


2 Answers 2


Yes. We are using mapserver for our National aerial imagery service and other raster maps, and geowebcache for tiling and caching. There are other tiling cache servers around, and the newest one is mapcache, which is integrated with mapserver.


In my opinion the relevant issue is the image format. For a large aerial image it is recommended that you use a format that (a) achieves high a compression ratio and (b) features partial decompression.

As far as I know, the only formats that meet these two requirements are ECW, MrSID and GeoTIFF. Unfortunately ECW and MrSID are propietary. About GeoTIFF, there is a good Q & A at this website: "Should GDAL be set to produce GeoTIFF files with compression? Which algorithm should be used"

Despite it is a propietary format, it is posible to serve large aerial photos in ECW format with MapServer. I have done it and it works fine.

  • GeoTIFF is not proprietary. Aug 25, 2012 at 16:52
  • You are right, thanks for the correction! I have just edited the response.
    – dariapra
    Aug 25, 2012 at 18:24
  • I came across your post regarding "serve large aerial photos in ECW format with MapServer". I am trying same thing on MapServer but with no success. I have GDAL installed with ECW support, MapServer supporting GDAL input. However on serving ECW in mapfile I get "Corrupt, empty or missing file 'file.ecw'...". Can you give me some steps on how you did it working?
    – asp
    Apr 21, 2013 at 18:22

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