ArcIMS <=> Mapserver comparison

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maphew

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Nov 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/3/00
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Does anybody here have experience with both Mapserver and ArcIMS?

Do you have any comments you'd like to share? What do you think of
them? What are the strong/weak points of each? How is the documentation?
Technical Support? Installation? Ease of customizing? Performance?
etc. etc.


ArcIMS: http://www.esri.com/arcims/
Mapserver: http://mapserver.gis.umn.edu/


thanks in advance, will sum,

-matt

<<<x-posted to comp.soft-sys.gis.esri, comp.infosystems.gis, and ESRI-L
& Mapserver-users mailing lists>>>

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Wanadoo News

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Nov 4, 2000, 8:33:44 PM11/4/00
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I have heard rumours that MapServer is better in terms of stability,
performance and it sure is cheaper ;-)

I have not used either of these myself, we are offering our own server
software:

go to http://www2.demis.nl/mapserver for a demo, zoom in on your home
town....

The very day MapServer becomes OpenGIS compatible, i will review it, haven't
got the money to waist on IMS though....

I hope you find what you're looking for, make sure you go to www.opengis.org
and study the Web Mapping Testbed documents and links.

Bart Adriaanse


"maphew" <map...@my-deja.com> wrote in message
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Bernhard Reiter

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Nov 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/17/00
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In article <8tv8ue$vik$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

maphew <map...@my-deja.com> writes:
> Does anybody here have experience with both Mapserver and ArcIMS?
>
> Do you have any comments you'd like to share? What do you think of
> them? What are the strong/weak points of each? How is the documentation?
> Technical Support? Installation? Ease of customizing? Performance?
> etc. etc.
>
>
> ArcIMS: http://www.esri.com/arcims/
> Mapserver: http://mapserver.gis.umn.edu/

I have some experience with mapserver, but not with ArcIMS.
One advantage of mapserver is, that it is free software and will
therefor run on different software and hardware platforms.

Mapserver might fit well or might not fit within your needs.
You should evaluate it.

Bernhard
--
Professional Service around Free Software (intevation.net)
The FreeGIS Project (freegis.org)
Association for a Free Informational Infrastructure (ffii.org)

Uffe Kousgaard

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Nov 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/18/00
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> One advantage of mapserver is, that it is free software and will
> therefor run on different software and hardware platforms.

I can write lots of free software which won't run on anything but win32.
These things has nothing to do with each other.

Regards
Uffe


maphew

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Nov 20, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/20/00
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A few weeks ago asked mapserver-users, esri-l, comp.infosystems.gis,
and comp.soft-sys.gis.esri for comparitive comments on Mapserver
and ArcIMS. (respectively http://mapserver.gis.umn.edu/,
http://www.esri.com/arcims/). Full text of all respondants is
available on request.

Thank you to:
Andrea Goethals, University of Florida
John Hockaday, Department of Environment, Australia
Michael Kleih, Centro Comune di Ricerca-JRC
Michael Anderson, Spatial Information Technologies, Inc.
Chris Stuber, Silicon Mapping Solutions, Inc

Mapserver-users (MSU) responses were detailed and informative, while
the other three forums responded with a resounding silence.

MSU unanimously acclaims Mapserver as the better web-based gis map
server, however it was pointed out the problem domains of Mapserver
and ArcIMS overlap while ArcIMS has a broader functionality set. In
the words of Micheal Anderson:

"...I would like to point out that the scope of what ArcIMS and
MapServer attempt to do is different. ArcIMS has several
components designed to do things that MapServer alone doesn’t
address. This includes html and applet based viewers for the client
as well as several components on the server. The components on the
server include the application server, manager components, and the
spatial servers. The spatial server is what renders the images,
handles spatial queries, extracts features, etc. The manager
components allow you to build "Map Services" (map files), create
web sites using the map services, and publish the sites. The
application server allows you to distribute pieces of your
application over multiple machines and pool several machines to
handle increased loads. It also allows you to use COM and Cold
Fusion in your application as the "connector" between the web
server and application server. ArcIMS has two additional components
that start and stop processes and delete images on a schedule.

MapServer alone is only analogous to the spatial server, but the
other features can be added using other tools. Other than being
able to use fewer data formats, MapServer is a better spatial
server than ArcIMS’s. By using an existing web application server
you can get the additional functionality with a minimal amount of
work."

After several attempts, I can't reduce the length of Micheal's message
with out losing good info, so here is the rest of it:

"...By using an existing web application server you can get the
additional functionality with a minimal amount of work. I am using
Zope, which is Python based, as my application server. It is also
Open Source. It is a much better application server than the ArcIMS
component. In addition to allowing you to distribute your
application, and pool machines, it also handles user
authentication, and gives Unix like permissions to files, URLs, and
operations. It also handles publishing the sites easily. I haven’t
gotten around to using it to make the map files or the web site
though. I use ArcView to make the map files and have someone else
make the web site. Zope does allow me to share single html and
JavaScript files across multiple web sites, which makes maintenance
a lot easier. It is also possible to use Zope as a connector to
ArcIMS so a single application could use both MapServer and ArcIMS
(as well as other GIS engines). I am also aware of a Java based
application server called Enhydra that is also Open Source. I have
installed it, but haven’t had much time to use it, so I can’t
really say what it can do. There are also commercial application
servers available like IBM’s WebSphere. You could probably do a
lot with Cold Fusion as well.

"That said, here is my 2 cents on the advantages and disadvantages
of ArcIMS:

"Advantages of ArcIMS
- distribute applications over multiple machines
- Native integration with the Geography Network. MapServer can be
made to work within the geography network.
- Includes software to handle routine tasks like making the map
services (map files), designing web sites, etc.
- Supports more data formats - especially raster
- Better support for storing spatial data in RDBMS through SDE
- You don’t have to try to sell a relatively unknown product
(MapServer) and philosophy (Open Source)

"Disadvantages of ArcIMS
- speed (even running mapserv as regular cgi it is much faster)
- resource hog
- limited OS (no Linux)
- less stable. My ArcIMS experience is on NT so that may be more a
reflection of the OS than ArcIMS.
- poorer support
- source code unavailable
- cost"


All respondants felt Mapserver's support (via the user community) and
documentation is much more useful than ArcIMS'. It was noted that
often questions re:ArcIMS went completely unanswered. A couple of
people made the point that although Mapserver's documentation is
better there are still some gaping holes; it is expected the newly
formed documentation committee and mailing list will help address
this issue.

Several said Mapserver is easier to install and the maps are easier
to maintain.

Most everybody said that Mapserver is faster* although theoretically
this should not be the case since Mapserver is a CGI while ArcIMS
is a Java app. (*nobody claimed ArcIMS is faster, just not everybody
made a speed comparison)

Those that made reliabilty comparisons felt that ArcIMS is still
buggy and undependable.

The one* plus ArcIMS seems to have over Mapserver is the GUI that
allows development of the interface and equivalent to map files.
There is an ArcView extension and an Arc AML which make producing
Mapserver map files easier but they are still in development. There
is also talk of developing a standalone map builder but I'm not
sure how far along that project is yet.
(*where the problem domains overlap)

There were incidental threads comparing Mapserver to MapXtreme, and
JShape where Mapserver also came out on top.


Thanks to everybody who responded and a note to those who didn't:
I'm quite willing to do this again. I'm disappointed nobody came to
bat for ArcIMS. I was hoping to be able to summarize a broader range
of opinions. Than again, maybe it is simply true that Mapserver
is better than ArcIMS. ;-)

cheers,

-matt
========================================
Matt Wilkie * GIS Technician * Yukon Renewable Resources GIS
http://renres.gov.yk.ca/pubs/rrgis/

Peter N. Schweitzer

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Nov 21, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/21/00
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maphew wrote:
> MSU unanimously acclaims Mapserver as the better web-based gis map
> server, however it was pointed out the problem domains of Mapserver
> and ArcIMS overlap while ArcIMS has a broader functionality set.

Didn't anybody notice that ArcIMS can serve not just pictures of
maps but map data as well? Mapserver is nice, but its purpose
is to send a picture of a map to the user. ArcIMS can be set up
to send the vector data to the user, where the client displays
the data in combination with data from other servers or held on
the local disk. Do your potential users need only map data from
your server, or might they want to combine your data with data
from some other source? All of the discussion of ancillary tools
is fine, but the overall architecture of ArcIMS, i.e. distributed
geoprocessing, needs to be recognized for the comparison to be fair.

Peter
--
Peter N. Schweitzer (MS 918, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA 20192)
(703) 648-6533 FAX: (703) 648-6560 email: pschw...@usgs.gov
<http://geology.usgs.gov/peter/>

maphew

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Nov 21, 2000, 8:31:10 PM11/21/00
to
Hi Peter,

> > MSU unanimously acclaims Mapserver as the better web-based gis map
> > server, however it was pointed out the problem domains of Mapserver
> > and ArcIMS overlap while ArcIMS has a broader functionality set.
>

> Didn't anybody notice that ArcIMS can serve not just pictures of
> maps but map data as well? Mapserver is nice, but its purpose
> is to send a picture of a map to the user. ArcIMS can be set up
> to send the vector data to the user, where the client displays

I remember reading about but it didn't sink in (obviously :). How is
the vector data sent? In SVG? Do you need a plugin on the browser?
None of the ArcIMS sites I visited sent data, just images.
(http://www.esri.com/software/internetmaps/visit_sites.html), I didn't
try all of the links. Or is this where ArcExplorer comes in to
the picture?

> the data in combination with data from other servers or held on
> the local disk. Do your potential users need only map data from
> your server, or might they want to combine your data with data
> from some other source?

Micheal Anderson did mention using multiple servers:

"The [ArcIMS] application server allows you to distribute pieces


of your application over multiple machines and pool several

machines ..."

Though I admit that sentence does not make it clear the map data
itself may be coming from multiple servers and multiple domains.

> All of the discussion of ancillary tools is fine, but the
> overall architecture of ArcIMS, i.e. distributed geoprocessing,
> needs to be recognized for the comparison to be fair.

Thank for helping to add balance.

-matt

B. Masterson

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Nov 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/22/00
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"maphew" wrote

> > Didn't anybody notice that ArcIMS can serve not just pictures of
> > maps but map data as well? Mapserver is nice, but its purpose
> > is to send a picture of a map to the user. ArcIMS can be set up
> > to send the vector data to the user, where the client displays
>
> I remember reading about but it didn't sink in (obviously :). How is
> the vector data sent? In SVG? Do you need a plugin on the browser?
> None of the ArcIMS sites I visited sent data, just images.
> (http://www.esri.com/software/internetmaps/visit_sites.html), I didn't
> try all of the links. Or is this where ArcExplorer comes in to
> the picture?

Hi,

Just a quick note to let you know that ArcIMS will only serve feature data
to a Java client, requiring the dowloading of the Java Runtime Environment.
I can't think of an example site off the top of my head, but they do exist.
One of the down sides is that the Java client requires IE 4 or higher (and
perhaps Netscape 6), but the functionality is greatly increased, even
allowing for users to edit data (via an administrator) and post electronic
notes and graphics that can be viewed by other users. ArcExplorer 3 can
also be used as an alternative, though generally recommended for Intranet
solutions.

Regards,

Barry

Bart Adriaanse

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Nov 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/27/00
to
I suggest you look into the OpenGIS Web Mapping protocol,

It's easy to find: http://www.webmapping.org

Arc/IMS is supposed to have this interface now, mapserver is promising one
soon and most other vendors are likely to be working on this, and so are we:

http://www2.demis.nl/mapserver/

Our OpenGIS server software will be priced at only $500 US, but you might as
well use a server from another vendor or overlay your own info on a basemap
rendered by any other OpenGIS compliant server.

It just a matter of how much bucks you've got to spend and how much bang you
want for them...

Bart Adriaanse
DEMIS bv
The Netherlands

"Peter N. Schweitzer" <pschw...@usgs.gov> wrote in message
news:3A1A9807...@usgs.gov...


> maphew wrote:
> > MSU unanimously acclaims Mapserver as the better web-based gis map
> > server, however it was pointed out the problem domains of Mapserver
> > and ArcIMS overlap while ArcIMS has a broader functionality set.
>

> Didn't anybody notice that ArcIMS can serve not just pictures of
> maps but map data as well? Mapserver is nice, but its purpose
> is to send a picture of a map to the user. ArcIMS can be set up
> to send the vector data to the user, where the client displays

> the data in combination with data from other servers or held on
> the local disk. Do your potential users need only map data from
> your server, or might they want to combine your data with data

> from some other source? All of the discussion of ancillary tools


> is fine, but the overall architecture of ArcIMS, i.e. distributed
> geoprocessing, needs to be recognized for the comparison to be fair.
>

Bernhard Reiter

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Nov 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/28/00
to
In article <4OjR5.319$YI3....@news.get2net.dk>,

This is not quite true.
If your software is free software I do get the sources and have the
permission to port it. You cannot do this with proprietory software.
So there is an important connection.

If your software is poorly crafted, then of course this will be of
no help. And yes, there are certain parts of software which could be
free software and strongly tied to a platform, like a device driver.

Oh: I happen to know the software
we were talking about in this threat and you kindly cut out: mapserver
and it happen to run on a lot of platforms.

You can recompile it on a huge number of unix variants and windows
for instance...

Bernhard

--
Professional Service around Free Software (intevation.net)
The FreeGIS Project (freegis.org)
Association for a Free Informational Infrastructure (ffii.org)

FSF Europe (www.fsfeurope.org)

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