Autodesk contributes Web mapping software to open-source community

Autodesk announced on Monday it is releasing the code for MapServer Enterprise, the company's new Web mapping platform, as open source. A snapshot of the source code is available through the new MapServer Foundation, an independent non-profit organization with the mission of supporting and promoting open source Web mapping. The charter members include MapServer Technical Steering Committee members, the University of Minnesota MapServer Project, the DM Solutions Group and Autodesk.

"The decision to contribute to the open-source community is a reflection of our customers' desire for faster innovation, more frequent product releases and lower total cost of ownership," says Chris Bradshaw, VP of Autodesk's infrastructure solutions division.

MapServer Enterprise enables developers to develop and deploy spatial apps. It works with PHP, .NET and Java tools to build apps for Windows or Linux server environments. Developers can also publish spatial views internally, over the Web, or use Autodesk's DWF viewing tech for offline portability.

In addition to the snapshot of the code, the company says it expects the full MapServer Enterprise open-source project Web site to be live in early 2006.

The project site will support code contributions, as well as bug submissions, mailing lists and discussion forums. As a component of MapServer Enterprise, Autodesk will also make available source code for its feature data objects (FDOs), tech that provides an app programming interface for accessing any type of spatial information. Autodesk will contribute nearly a dozen FDO "providers" to the open-source project including ArcSDE, WFS, WMS, SHP, ODBC and MySQL, the company says.