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Web GIS in practice IV: publishing your health maps and connecting to remote WMS sources using the Open Source UMN MapServer and DM Solutions MapLab

Maged N Kamel Boulos1* and Kiyoshi Honda2

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Health and Social Work, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, UK

2 Remote Sensing and GIS Field of Study, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Pathumthani 12120, Thailand

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International Journal of Health Geographics 2006, 5:6  doi:10.1186/1476-072X-5-6

Published: 18 January 2006


Open Source Web GIS software systems have reached a stage of maturity, sophistication, robustness and stability, and usability and user friendliness rivalling that of commercial, proprietary GIS and Web GIS server products. The Open Source Web GIS community is also actively embracing OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) standards, including WMS (Web Map Service). WMS enables the creation of Web maps that have layers coming from multiple different remote servers/sources. In this article we present one easy to implement Web GIS server solution that is based on the Open Source University of Minnesota (UMN) MapServer. By following the accompanying step-by-step tutorial instructions, interested readers running mainstream Microsoft® Windows machines and with no prior technical experience in Web GIS or Internet map servers will be able to publish their own health maps on the Web and add to those maps additional layers retrieved from remote WMS servers. The 'digital Asia' and 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami experiences in using free Open Source Web GIS software are also briefly described.