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Steps to Start Web Mapping

I have taken on setting up a database which stores information of an annual country-wide survey of alien aquatic weeds, linked to a GIS program to map the sites and attributes.

For my database I am using postgres, with qgis for the mapping. The eventual aim is to publish it online for anybody to access, and get basic maps detailing the surveys. I have been going around in circles trying to understand what process to follow.

What tools do I need to get from my qgis map to an online map, and what is the basic outline of the process I need to follow?

I have managed to derive a map and attributes from my database.

marked as duplicate by Get Spatial, underdark Oct 17 '12 at 16:51

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  • Have a look at QGIS Cloud if you don't mind uploading your data to a cloud service. You would only need to get an account and the cloud plugin to get started. – underdark Oct 17 '12 at 16:13

I've been using WebFaction as a host which includes PostGIS,and it's needed associated libraries. Data can be accessed via QGIS for editing. On the client side I use OpenLayers, or Leaflet. Both are JavaScript libraries. I'd give Leaflet a try first as OpenLayers is robust and not for the faint of heart due to poor documentation, (my opinion). One can get Leaflet up and running in a short time. I convert the data to geojson files to avoid running a spatially enabled server such as GeoServer or MapServer.

This is a simple example of an app I did using OpenLayers, jQuery, and geojson files.

Hope this gives you another idea where to start.

  • That example is pretty much exactly how I envision mine to look. If I can eventually do that I will be chuffed! Thanks for the hints, I'll delve into them now. – user12046 Oct 19 '12 at 11:37
  • I've been reading up on OpenLayers and am not quite sure how it is actually used, where does it fit in? Do you code it into your html? So far, using Bing's documentation, I've been able to get a base map how I want it. Now to add layers... I'm very much a rookie in web developing. – user12046 Oct 23 '12 at 14:20
  • Get the e-book version of this packtpub.com/…. – geomajor56 Oct 23 '12 at 16:33
  • I wish that book was out when I started. After you've mastered rendering a few WMS layers like OpenStreetMap, Bing, etc, and centering the desired bbox and zoom level; you can move on to vector layers. I strongly advise staying away from vector layers from a server for now. read up on GeoJson files and use those. – geomajor56 Oct 23 '12 at 16:41

There are tons of options, and the best depends on your environment, your host OS and webserver in particular. One quick way would be to use QGIS's Export to Mapserver plugin to create a basic Mapserver mapfile and serve it up with Openlayers. You can also look into using QGIS server, but again, the best solution will depend on your environment.

Edit: Sorry, I forgot to add some instructions for the plugin. See this blogpost for details:


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