Demystifying Web Map Servers: the invisible side of Geographic Information Systems

Shivashis Padhi (~shivashis)


What is this talk about?

Web-based maps are an essential part of our daily lives. We encounter them in parts of Google Maps/Uber/Swiggy/(any application X that inputs or outputs geographical data). This talk would be about the features and protocols involved in development of servers responsible for these services, generically called Web Map Services.

How does the talk proceed?

From a general introduction to Geographic Information Systems(GIS) and various categories of Web Map Services, the talk would move deeper into components of Web Map Servers(WMS) like layers and request types, which would include code walk-through and a live demonstration of some essential functionalities, code for which would be a standalone and simplified version of mswms. The talk would conclude with some use cases of WMS, and a brief overview of development tools in Python to work with WMS.

What can someone get out of this talk?

The takeaway from this talk would be a clear understanding of web-based maps' infrastructure, and an introductory guide for someone who wants to develop/use Web Map Services in Python.

Time Split of talk duration

Duration Topic

0 - 5 Introduction to GIS and WMS

5 - 11 OGC standards for WMS and introduction to mswms.

11 - 22 Code Walk through, explaining important components and their functionalities.

  • Major ones are

    • processing get-capabilities request (how is capabilities of a WMS presented to a GIS client)

    • processing get-map request(layers, coordinates, and generation of map image from them)

    • making a WMS generic

23 - 25 Demonstration of WMS

25 - 30 Conclusion and Q&A

Duration in Minutes



Syntactic knowledge of Python

Non Technical

General interest in maps and Geography

Content URLs:

A summary of the talk content


Summary Video of talk-proposal

The code, a simplified version of which is to be used for walk-through and demonstration.

Another code-base, to be used as reference.

Speaker Info:

Shivashis Padhi is a senior, majoring Computer Science and Engineering at National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, India.

He loves earth and atmospheric sciences and pursues them as hobby. With a desire to contribute more directly towards research in these areas, he has developed a keen interest in Geographic Information Systems over time.

With ~2.5 years of experience as a student software developer, ~2 years of which at Delta Force(the official programming club of NIT Trichy), Shivashis has written ~7000 lines of Python. During his internship at Flytbase Labs in summer'18, he started programming parts of the GIS infrastructure in Python and absolutely loved it. He started contributing to Mission Support System around mid-February'19. For the past few months, he has primarily been involved with the MSS community working on 1.8.0 release of the MSS software. He's participating in GSoC'19 with MSS under Python Software Foundation.

It's strange how most of the programmers and developers are unaware of this amazing set of softwares which power a vast majority of the digital mapping services. During PyCon India'19, he would love to throw some light on this area and welcome 'Pythonistas' to their usage and development.

Speaker Links:

Website, Blog

Contribution to Mission Support System If you are logged in to Bitbucket, open this in an Incognito tab/window.

Github, Bitbucket


Id: 1083
Section: Web development
Type: Talks
Target Audience: Beginner
Last Updated: