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Getting Started with the MassGIS Geospatial Web Mapping Services

MassGIS is a database of hundreds of geospatial datalayers collected from state agencies or created in-house.  The web mapping services distribute these geospatial datasets over the Internet with well-defined application programming interfaces (APIs).  Using the web mapping services maps can be created and embedded into web pages, interactive mapping applications can be created and addresses can be geolocated (geocoding or address matching).  We recommend that you contact us about your project so that we can point you to the most appropriate strategy and examples.  Sometimes a mapping project is best done on the computer desktop with a GIS software package such as ESRI ArcGIS.  Sometimes a web client project will have a pre-processing component that is best done on the desktop as well.  We can help you make the most efficient use of the services and construct request syntax.

For those looking for a high-level overview...

Overview of MassGIS Web Mapping Services and Applications

Best Practices - MassGIS recommends these strategies to get the most out of the web services.

Availability of the MassGIS Web Services - How often are they available? How much downtime is there?

For those looking for a step-by-step guide to doing one specific task...

How do I send my request? - Besides a URL, there are various ways to post an XML request. 

How do I connect to the web mapping services with client software? - Various desktop clients can connect to the services.

How do I get a coordinate for an address? - Turn your addresses into points.

How do I get started making an interactive online map?  OpenLayers or Google Maps API are some client toolkits that can get an interactive map onto your web page fast.

For those looking for introductory/foundational technical information...

Tutorials on HTML CSS and Javascript

Learn about the GeoServer Web Map Service - The GeoServer Web Map Service creates custom maps, based on requested layers, styles, projections and sizes.

Learn about the GeoServer Web Feature Service - The Web Feature Service provides an SQL-like view into the underlying spatial data

How do I send my request? - Besides a URL, there are various ways to post an XML request

What types of data formats can I get back from the GeoServer WMS? - In addition to an image (jpg, png) or XML, there's PDF, GeoRSS, KML, OpenLayers, SVG

U Penn Tutorials on WMS/WFS and more - - Ian Turton at Penn State University online Open Web Mapping WMS/WFS lessons