I have millions of seismic lines to publish on a map (3,000,000+) so WFS is not really an option at a large scale. For this reason I will have to use WMS. My question is, is it possible using Geoserver as the engine and OpenLayers (latest versions) to present a map and allow the end user to click on an item and highlight the item? Basic map functionality I would have thought.

There is a demo on the OpenLayers website but it appears this is the only example that does not work :( http://openlayers.org/dev/examples/getfeatureinfo-control.html

Thanks, Chris

1 Answer 1


The simple answer is Yes and the OpenLayers example you have found will do exactly what you are after.

I agree with your comment regarding WFS, although do not rule it out totally as you can restrict the amount of data that is served as Features onto your OpenLayers page uses different strategies, like bounding box. What this means is that not all the 3mill lines will be served to your web page only the ones that intersect the bounding box of your OpenLayers DIV box.

Having said that if all you want is a click and get info then definitely use WMS, its performance will be significantly better than a WFS.

To point you in the right directyion (not sure if you a newbie?) look at the GeoServer docs along with the OpenGeo GeoServer and OpenLayers workshops.http://workshops.opengeo.org/

If all of this is new then I have found the simplest way to get started is ot use the OpenGeo Suite, that way you do not need to figure out how to deploy GeoServer using Tomcat or similar.

Other options could be QGIS Cloud, GIS Cloud and similar where you load the data yourself to their host cloud storage, compose and map and then either embed or share that map.

Its a good way if you do not want to manage the servers yourself

Hope this helps you to get started

  • This is great, thanks for the quick response. I am new to geoserver and openlayers but not to gis, in the past because of the extremely large datasets I have built a web based system from the ground up, this application is dated and feel it is time to leverage the power of geoserver, my main concern is performance, can geoserver/openlayers handle the vast amounts of data. So far all the sites I have seen have small data sets!
    – ScottFree
    Apr 5, 2013 at 14:48
  • hi Christain, where I work, Ordnance Survey GB, we use GeoServer to serve our OS MasterMap Topography Layer which has 500 million features, which show at scales from 1:500 to 1:6k, then various products all the way up to 1:10mill. Follow the GeoServer instructions on deploying in production - docs.geoserver.org/stable/en/user/production/index.html and also the OpenGeo White Paper which is fantastic. opengeo.org/publications/geoserver-production
    – tjmgis
    Apr 5, 2013 at 15:03
  • I would also recommend some of the past presentations from FOSS4G from the likes of Andrea at GeoSolutions who talks about the importance of styling the data correctly, i.e don't show features at 1:1mill when they are really detailed. Looking at caching, which is in-built to GeoServer as GeoWebCache and maybe pre-render your mapping tiles. Just get started and see how you get on but do not worry, GeoServer can easily handle that number of features.
    – tjmgis
    Apr 5, 2013 at 15:05
  • sorry last comment, what format is your data in? For the best performance and management put them into a database.
    – tjmgis
    Apr 5, 2013 at 15:06
  • Superb, this is a great starting point to help convince "the management"! Data currently in PostGIS! I will investigate and let you know how I get on. Thanks again!
    – ScottFree
    Apr 5, 2013 at 15:34

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