Geoserver and Open Standards: A Success Story

Presentation | Presented

  • Saul Farber, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

In 2000, MassGIS commissioned a proprietary WMS/WFS implementation to fulfill dual goals:

1)Creation of a repository of GIS web-services that any group in state government could use to collect data from third parties or to put maps on their websites.
2)We wanted to use this repository ourselves to create a web-based tool which would allow browsing and downloading any of the layers from the MassGIS data catalog.

In 2003 a mix of COTS and custom-written connector technology were delivered by our vendor. By 2005 the solution was proving expensive, unreliable/not-scalable and tough to maintain.

By switching to geoserver we addressed:
1)Cost: By using our money for cheap but fast commodity hardware rather than expensive software licenses.
2)Reliability/scalability: By using clustering we were able to easily increase performance by adding more hardware. Clustering also made sure our services were highly available, even if software crashes or hardware problems made one server unavailable.
3)Maintenance and development goals: Since we have J2EE experience in-house, we were able to make geoserver do exactly what we wanted, including adding new functionality. Also, we can fix our own bugs!

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