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I would like to use geoserver to subsample a global raster geotiff into many smaller, regional images. These images all need to have their own legend and descriptive text. In all of the examples that I have seen with geoserver, the legend and text overlay and partially obscure the actual raster image. Examples: http://docs.geoserver.org/latest/en/user/services/wms/decoration.html#wms-decoration-types, http://geoserver.geo-solutions.it/edu/en/pretty_maps/map_decorations.html

What I would like is a result like this:

enter image description here

I know that technically the legend graphic can be requested separately, and then combined with the raster through some scripting- but that seems messy.

If this is not possible to do with geoserver alone - perhaps there is an extension that would help? If not, then could someone recommend another type of web service that could do such a thing?

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Seems like a job for the print plugin (normally used to generate PDFs, but it can build PNGs for you as well):

http://docs.geoserver.org/latest/en/user/extensions/printing/index.html

2

TLDR; No

You can either have GeoServer draw on top of the map using the decorators provided. Or you can use a client of your choosing to deal with drawing a map exactly as you would like.

I expect a simple shell script and imageMagick should be able to solve your problem.

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