Mapfish JavaScript Toolbox

Mapfish is an open-source web mapping framework built using the Pylons Python web framework for “creating web services that allow querying and editing of geographic objects.” However the server-side functionality of the system I am currently working on is already handled by SQL Server 2008 Spatial and MapServer. What interested me more was that Mapfish “provides a complete RIA-oriented (Rich Internet Application) JavaScript toolbox.”

A couple of examples of the front-end interface can be found at the EU Inspire Geoportal, and the Marbled Murrelet Mashup. The Mapfish client combines three frameworks into one OpenLayers, GeoExt, and ExtJS.

The client JavaScript is available via downloaded from http://www.mapfish.org/downloads/. At the time of writing mapfish-client-1.2.tar.gz was the most recent version. The files can be unzipped using the open-source program 7-zip that handles both gzip and “tar ball” zip files. Once unzipped there are a number of samples that can be run and edited locally (look for the examples/map/index.html page). This alone is a huge step forward in creating a basic online mapping system that rivals proprietary offerings.

Further details on using the toolkit can be found at the Mapfish tutorial and this blog tutorial. I’ll also be writing some more technical posts, specifically around using Mapfish with Windows, as most of the current documentation assumes people are running Linux.



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