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Steps to Start Web Mapping

Does anyone know of any classes or resources where I could learn about WebGIS? I'd like to learn the steps and technology involved. I'd be looking for something online or live in the San Francisco Bay Area.


marked as duplicate by Mapperz Dec 13 '11 at 14:49

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Well, it is a vast topic, I try to give my 2 cents ;)

I am going to recommend an Open Source route, so you don't need to spend additional money in software licenses and you gain a lot in terms of freedom.

First, if you don't already have this skills, you would need to master Javascript (I would definitely leave out Flash and Silverlight for many reasons) and a server side language: for the latter I would recommend Python.

As a Javascript AJAX framework, I would definitely opt for jQuery, you could read this excellent book.

There are very nice free resources on the web for Python, I would give a look at this 2:

You will also need to learn a web mapping Javascript framework. OpenLayer is the de facto widespread solution, so you would definitely need to master it.

From Packt there is a nice beginner book, I would recommend.

You could also give a look at OpenLayers based framework like MapFish, here is a good tutorial.

If you need to publish your own data, you must definitely master a map server software like MapServer or GeoServer in order to create your own WMS, WFS, WCS etc web services: they have both excellent documentation. I personally prefer MapServer, but for a beginner maybe GeoServer has some nice add on like a web UI.

Depending on the route, and if you have chosen Python, you could then try to master a web framework like Django and GeoDjango. On this topic there is still this excellent resource from Packt.

Finally it is important that you master OGC web standards like WMS, WFS etc etc. You can find them here.


More than pure theory, the openGeo website offers GIS free software tutorials/trainings : http://workshops.opengeo.org/

Most of them concern web mapping.


Bunches of free stuff here. good for a start. esri online seminars

Always new ones occurring also.


Before investing time or money in any sort of class or even book I would first do research into the available technologies for web mapping as there are many. The first question you can ask yourself is whether you are going to go with a commercial product or an open source technology.

If you are working for a company who already has access to ESRI GIS software or have the money this could be a good way to go. Otherwise there are very good free APIs that are available.

In terms of the actual web mapping, there are several options available for programming. Likely, as mentioned above, you are going to want to use a Javascript based API as these are the most widely suppported, do not require plugins, and are at least somewhat standards based. As a starting point check out the links below. Both of these are Javascript APIs, one uses free google technology and the other ESRI based technology which will cost you money. Once you mkae the decision on which path to take (open source or commercial) you can start to look into classes and books - though if you have html and javascript knowledge already you can learn a ton on your own online.

Google Maps Javascript API: http://code.google.com/apis/maps/documentation/javascript/basics.html

ESRI Javascript API: http://help.arcgis.com/en/webapi/javascript/arcgis/


Check out this book:

Web GIS: Principles and Applications


I would recommend book called 'GIS for web developers' for beginners http://pragprog.com/titles/sdgis/gis-for-web-developers


JavaScript is not really required thanks to technology like GWT. The Geomajas framework allows you to build your entire WEB application (both front-end and back-end) using Java.

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