Configuration of Geoserver

Mapservers have never taken centre stage in my thinking on how to make Ecosur’s geographical data more widely available.  When using a geographical data base the underlying information is almost by definition available for analysis. In contrast data served up by a mapserver is usually only suitable for visualisation. However mapservers have an important role in conjunction with PostGIS. The NASA JPL wms server is a an essential provider of satelite images that provide the backdrop that allows a visual intepretation of spatial information.

At a recent workshop Conabio provided me with a very nice shaded relief map for Mexico derived from a digital elevation model. I have been using it locally with Qgis. However I became concerned that it must also be potentially made available for use with POSTGIS at an institutional level. This clearly needs a mapserver.

I have previously wasted a fair ammount of time failing to configure mapservers correctly. So this morning I looked with some trepidation at geoserver. To my relief within an hour I had geoserver configured and the shaded image available to QGIS through a local host WMS.

The steps are extremely simple:

1. Download geoserver as a zip file

2. Extract the contents.

3. Set an environmental variable to point to your implementation of Java. I have sun java 6 installed using the medibuntu repository.

sudo gedit /etc/environment

Add this line

JAVA_HOME=”/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun”

4. Reboot and run mapserver using a command that goes something like

/home/duncan/geoserver/bin/startup.sh

5. Point the browser at

http://localhost:8080/geoserver/

Then if everything is working simply follow all the online instructions in order to add layers.

With geoserver started there is a new wms server that QGis can connect to.

It is also easy to include data from geoserver in Google Earth. Choose <add> <image overlay> from the menu. Then the “refresh tab”. Click on WMS parameters and add the geoserver details.

You then have the layer in Google Earth

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