GeoServer is an open source, geospatial software which allows spatial data to be easily shared and edited by its community of global users. It is written in Java and has a large community of users who are passionate about its development and future growth. It is unique in that it reads a large variety of formats such as PostGIS, GeoTIFF, ArcSDE and it can also create output in popular formats which include GML, Shapefile, and just recently KML which allows the publishing of data to Google Earth.
GeoServer was born from the idea that systems needed to be built that would support people having a more integrated role in government processes. In 2001, The Open Planning Project began the development of the software. The tools were designed around the idea that government needed to be more transparent and that data should be readily available and easily accessible by citizens so they can make the most informed decisions possible regarding the future of their urban environment.
In 2009, GeoServer was submitted and accepted by the Open Source Geo Foundation where it was further developed and validated as following their open source principles relating to dependable code, strong community structure and a reliable team of core developers.
Today, GeoServer continues to thrive, supported by a team with strong backgrounds as users and developers of a variety of GIS software and experience working with local government to integrate components of this open source software into their infrastructure.
GeoServer is a java based software, that is always being actively developed by a strong community of users and developers. It is compatible with a variety of other popular softwares. It uses the GeoTools GIS toolkit and complies with Open Geospatial Consortium standards. The output follow Web map Services (WMS) standards which enables users to create maps in a variety of formats.
This software excels in its ability to create stylized maps and access to an interface which make data sharing and editing possible. Examples of how the software is used ranges from environmental applications, to population analysis, to natural resource management.
Because GeoServer is highly customizable, it appeals to a large audience of users. Though it was initially developed as a way to create transparency of government agencies, it has been widely integrated into both the public and private sector. The users of this software benefit from access to a strong community of developers, users and debuggers which support each other and work to build the software and increase its functionality by building tools which are not always available with other commercial software.
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