Mapnik and MapServer

Mapnik 0.3.0 is released. Mateusz Loskot and Matt Perry are also now blogging mapnik news, so that makes four of us. I think I'm still the only one regularly blogging MapServer releases. This doesn't mean that mapnik is developing at four times the rate of MapServer, but perception -- particularly in the blogosphere -- can often trump reality. The MapServer project really ought to make a little more noise.

In a comment on his blog, Andrew Hallam asked if there is a correlation between use of open source and high quality cartographic output. Only in that everybody, commercial or open source, likes high quality cartography. What's new is that there is more and more competition in the open source domain lately. The MapServer project has been content with the venerable GD library, and it wasn't until I began blogging about an Agg-based renderer for PCL, and the emergence of mapnik, that other MapServer developers started to become interested at all in using Agg or Cairo. Even the most conservative open source projects must respond quickly to competition and ever-rising expectations. I expect improvements in cartographic quality from open source applications to accelerate.


Re: Mapnik and MapServer

Author: Andrew Hallam

Hi Sean, Sure, everyone like high quality cartography. Personally, I suck at cartography, so I'm presuming that providing nice maps is a combination of the skill of the cartographer and the capabilities of tools they use. What I was wondering is whether the use of open source tools has any correlation with high quality output. i.e. Are open source mapping products more capable than their commercial cousins when it comes to cartography? Obviously, users of open source tools have the opportunity to extend those product to provide the features they need. Most users of commercial products will use the available capabilities, but when they "hit the wall" they move on. Andrew