I have created several projects for several different clients. Each project has OS maps, shapefile layers from Government Bodies, Shapefile layers created, AutoCAD dxf loaded in (in various manners).

Is there a programme out there that I can load all my layers into (whilst maintaining their properties), keep all the original files on my computer. Send a link to a client that allows them to open the project, turn on and off various layers, interrogate the data (as in simple information tool), measure distance, and print maps, but not be able to edit the layers or save data.

I have worked of a GIS browser with various different government agencies but never had to create one.

Is there one that is a free, easy to use, and easy to learn by the clients?

I would like to be able to load all the files from QGIS 1.8.0 to this service whilst maintaining their properties, however if this is not possible I can do it over again.

  • I think this should be a community wiki. It is a shopping question and would result in a list of x answers.
    – R.K.
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 8:29
  • I think this should be renamed to "best web GIS map application" or similar. "web browsers" typically refer to Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc. Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 0:48
  • @StephenLead "Best <anything>" risks being closed as likely to attract opinions, even when Community Wiki.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 7:24

5 Answers 5


If you are not looking to build your own, and rather use a hosted web service, there are a few that are out there to consider:

  • Excellent! Is there a with QGIS to make it only accessible by each client as there will be sensitive data on it. Can i ask someone to register on the site and select them as the only accessors apart from me and give them a password?
    – Ger
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 21:08
  • I haven't used any of their pay versions yet, but from how I read each of their plans, paid accounts allow for restricted access "private" (not public) usage. Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 21:35
  • Thanks this is very useful. Would not hurt to have a small tutorial out there on QGIS Cloud. The basics and details of what each account type entitles you to do.
    – Ger
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 14:52
  • do any of these support generating a heatmap from a grid - not of the density of points density but from a grid of values (like this question)?
    – Abe
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 16:31

A webgis solution seems ideal for your problem.

The client will be able to log to your server, view the data (based on the permissions you gave them), do basic operations, and its many-to-one solution.

Here are some open source web-gis platforms you want to consider:


If you want to avoid writing any code then MangoMap is your best bet. It's also free which is a bonus!

Just upload your shapes, update the styles, press publish and you're done!

Disclosure: I am the Founder of MangoMap


You may also want to check out QGIS server. From the website:

QGIS Server provides a web map service (WMS) using the same libraries as the Quantum GIS (QGIS) desktop application. Maps and print templates created in QGIS desktop can be published as web maps simply by copying the QGIS project file into the server directory. The resulting web maps look exactly the same as in the desktop.

For more information, see:

  • Thanks deadly. Running with QGIS Cloud. Although long term i can see me moving to Server.
    – Ger
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 14:54

You could try Geocommon, but it's very difficult to navigate through. Or give it a try ArcGIS Online (another Esri product) but lots of limitation. any way give it a try.

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