|Stable release||6.0.2 / February 8, 2012|
|Preview release||6.0.0-beta6 / April 13, 2011|
|Written in||C / C++|
|Type||GIS software (compare)|
MapServer is an open source development environment for building spatially enabled internet applications. It can run as a CGI program or via MapScript which supports several programming languages (using SWIG). MapServer was developed by the University of Minnesota — so, it is often and more specifically referred as "UMN MapServer", to distinguish it from commercial "map server". MapServer was originally developed with support from NASA, which needed a way to make its satellite imagery available to the public.
Open Source Geospatial Foundation 
In November 2005, Autodesk, the MapServer Technical Steering Committee Members, the University of Minnesota, and DM Solutions Group announced the creation of the MapServer Foundation. With this announcement, Autodesk announced that its internet mapping application, MapGuide, would be developed as an open source application with all new code and be named "MapServer Enterprise". The existing MapServer application would be renamed "MapServer Cheetah". This name change was overwhelmingly opposed by the MapServer community. Autodesk then backed off this name change and retained the name, "MapGuide" for its product. Also, plans to establish the MapServer Foundation were scrapped; Instead, the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) was established to include MapServer and other open source GIS projects (which now includes MapGuide Open Source).
MapServer has had an important role in Web mapping history. The following is a summary of its evolution:
- 1994: UMN awarded with NASA/ForNet funding to support web-based delivery of forestry data.
- 1997-07: MapServer 1.0, Developed as Part of the NASA ForNet Project. Grew out of the need to deliver remote sensing data across the web for foresters.
- 1998-07: MapServer 2.0 released as final ForNET deliverable; added reprojection support (PROJ.4).
- 1999: UMN makes MapServer an open source project.
- 2000-06: MapServer 3.0 was developed as part of the NASA TerraSIP Project. This is also the first public, open source release of UMN MapServer.
- 2001-06: MapServer 3.2 released with MapScript 1.0, like CSS, adds layout flexibility.
- 2002-06: MapServer 3.5 was rewritten, and added support for PostGIS and ArcSDE. Version 3.6 adds initial OGC WMS support.
- 2003-07: MapServer 4.0, adds 24bit raster output support and support for SWF.
- 2005-04: MapServer 4.6, adds support for SVG.
- 2007-09: MapServer 5.0 released, introducing Anti-Grain Geometry (AGG) graphics library.
- 2011-05: MapServer 6.X released, with 5.6.X as stable versions.
See also 
- FWTools – a cross-platform open source GIS software bundle, including MapServer
- Mapnik - Open source mapping toolkit for desktop and server map rendering
- TopoQuest - Topographic map viewer using the technology
- Ojeda-Zapata, Julio (June 17, 2005). "Minnesota's MapServer flourishes in hot Web-based mapping sector". Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minnesota).
- Schutzberg, Adena (November 28, 2005). "MapServer Community, Autodesk Announce MapServer Foundation". directionsmag.org.
- Grimes, Brad and Joab Jackson (May 1, 2006). "What’s in an open-source name?". Government Computer News.
- Schuyler Erle (February 4, 2006). "Introducing… the Open Source Geospatial Foundation!". mappinghacks.com.
- MapServer History