QGIS Server


QGIS Server is an open source WMS 1.3 implementation which, in addition, implements advanced cartographic features for thematic mapping. The QGIS Server is a FastCGI/CGI (Common Gateway Interface) application written in C++ that works together with a webserver (e.g. Apache, Lighttpd). It is funded by the EU projects Orchestra, Sany and the city of Uster in Switzerland.

It uses QGIS as backend for the GIS logic and for map rendering. Furthermore the Qt library is used for graphics and for platform independent C++ programming. In contrast to other WMS software, the QGIS Server uses cartographic rules in SLD/SE as a configuration language, both for the server configuration and for the user-defined cartographic rules.

Moreover, the QGIS Server project provides the ‘Publish to Web’ plugin, a plugin for QGIS desktop which exports the current layers and symbology as a web project for QGIS Server (containing cartographic visualization rules expressed in SLD).

As QGIS desktop and QGIS Server use the same visualization libraries, the maps that are published on the web look the same as in desktop GIS. The Publish to Web plugin currently supports basic symbolization, with more complex cartographic visualization rules introduced manually. As the configuration is performed with the SLD standard and its documented extensions, there is only one standardised language to learn, which greatly simplifies the complexity of creating maps for the Web.

In one of the following manuals we will provide a sample configuration to set up a QGIS Server. But for now we recommend to read one of the following URLs to get more information:

Sample installation on Debian Squeeze

At this point we will give a short and simple sample installation howto for Debian Squeeze. Many other OS provide packages for QGIS Server, too. If you have to build it all from source, please refer to the URLs above.

Apart from qgis and qgis-mapserver you need a webserver, in our case apache2. You can install all packages with aptitude or apt-get install together with other necessary dependency packages.

After installation you should test, if the webserver and qgis server works as expected.

Make sure the apache server is runnung with ‘/etc/init.d/apache2 start’. Open a web browser and type URL: http://localhost. If apache is up, you should see the message ‘It works!’.

Now we test the qgis server installation. The qgis_mapserv.fcgi is available at /usr/lib/cgi-bin/qgis_mapserv.fcgi and provides a standard wms that shows the state boundaries of the Unites States of America ref{fig:usa_wms}. Add the WMS with the URL http://localhost/cgi-bin/qgis_mapserv.fcgi as described in section ref{sec:ogc-wms-servers}.


Standard WMS with USA boundaries included in the qgis server (KDE)

Creating a WMS from a QGIS project

To provide a new qgis wms server we have to create a qgis project file with some data. Here we use the ‘regions’ and the ‘aiport’ shapefiles from the qgis_sample_dataset.

First load the shapefiles and define the colors and styles of the layers in QGIS and define the project CRS, if not already done. In a next step define the fields ‘Service Capabilities’, ‘Coordinate System Restrictions’ and ‘Advertised Extend’ under Settings ==> Project Properties ==> WMS Server and define the fields ‘Service Capabilities’, ‘Coordinate System Restrictions’ and ‘Advertised Extend’. Additionally you can enable the checkbox checkbox{Add WKT geometry to feature into response} to make the layers queryable (see figure `fig:wms_server_definition`_). Now save the session in a project file ‘alaska_airports.qgs’.


Definitions for a qgis project WMS server (KDE)

To provide the project as a WMS, we create a new folder ‘/usr/lib/cgi-bin/project’ with admin privileges and add the project file ‘alaska_airports.qgs’ and a copy of the qgis_mapserv.fcgi file - that’s all.

Now we test our project WMS, add the WMS with the URL ‘http://localhost/cgi-bin/project/qgis_mapserv.fcgi‘ as described in section Creating a WMS from a QGIS project to QGIS and load the WMS, see figure fig_wmsproject


QGIS WMS Server based on a qgis project (KDE)

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