When MapServer runs as a web mapping application it produces various graphic images. A map image is one of them. It can also produce an image of a scale bar, a reference map, and a legend. The command-line utilities let you create these manually (or scripted through your favorite scripting language). The following examples give a feel for the process of creating some basic results using these programs. These examples use the utilities from a typical MapServer installation as described in Chapter 4.
A simple world map boundary dataset will be used for this example. This shapefile contains boundaries of the country borders for the world and are available from the FreeGIS (http://www.freegis.org) web site at http://ftp.intevation.de/freegis/worlddata/freegis_worlddata-0.1_simpl.tar.gz.
This version contains simplified, lower-resolution boundaries and are about 3.7 MB in size. The full resolution boundaries take more effort for MapServer to display and are a larger file at over 30 MB.
You can use the full resolution data for the exercises in this chapter, but the files are large enough to require optimization to be effective. The exercises will run more slowly than with the simplified boundaries. For further exploration of MapServer, the higher resolution boundaries make a great dataset to work with. You can download them from http://ftp.intevation.de/freegis/worlddata/freegis_worlddata-0.1.tar.gz.