Dutch Authorities to Sponsor KML Support for Mapserver

Aug 13, 2007

The Dutch Water and Road building Authority is having Keyhole Markup Language (KML) support developed for the Geodata Processor, Mapserver. It will be publishing the source code.

The idea is to serve up 3D geographic data to website users, giving citizens the ability to see where, say, new bridges will be built.

Mapserver is a developer environment for Web applications that generate static or dynamic maps from digital geodetic data. The Open Source software (current version 4.10.2) is platform independent and can be built for most Unix/Linux systems, Windows and Mac OS X. PHP, Python, Per, Ruby, Java and C# are the supported development languages.

According to the Dutch authorities, the contract for the development work has gone to Canada's DM Solutions who are heavily involved in Mapserver development. The authority will be looking to test the code next month. The source code for KML support will be released as Open Source shortly after.

KML is a rendering format for the client component of the Google Earth program, and an XML 1.0 application. It was developed by Keyhole, which was acquired in 2004 by Google. KML is in widespread use for processing of 3D geographic data in Google Maps and Google Earth.

Plans to standardize the KML format started late last year or early this year and are not yet complete. A Best Practice Paper was released in early May by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC); it was drafted by Carl Reed (Google Earth – current version 2.1). Google also has published a reference and a user tutorial.

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