Animate your maps with GeoServer Animator Tool

In this blog post we’d like to introduce you to a new GeoServer feature, the WMS animator.

The animator follows in the footsteps of the WMS reflector, allowing a client to build an animated map with a relatively compact syntax.

An animation is built as a set of frames, and each frame is a separate WMS GetMap call, similar to the others in the set, but with a different value in one of the parameters.
The animator allows you to specify the parameter that will vary and its value via the aparam and avalues request parameter.
For example, let’s say we have a dataset with time support enabled, in particular a small set of blumarble images for the different months in the year. A call to get a continuously animated progression would look like:
The aparam in this request is the WMS time parameter, while the avalues list a number of possible times, in particular a few months of the year. Also notice the output format, asking for an animated GIF that loops continously. The result is as follows:
Time and elevation are obviously prime candidates to drive an animation, but in fact every WMS request parameter can be used to drive the animation.
For example, we could change the bounding box and have the map move:
The actual reason the animator was developed was to allow building animation of tuna catches by ocean area over different types of aggregation factors, that are passed down to a parametrized SQL view building all the little squares you see in the map.
Here is an example showing the evolution of catches of a particular tuna spieces over the years:
As you can see some of the maps include the indication of the year in the lower left. This is a recent addition to the animator framework, it uses a text WMS decoration to embed in the image the current avalue. See the animator documentation for details on how this can be achieved.
At the time of writing the only possible output format is animated GIF, but other formats could be written and plugged in, for example AVI or Flash, and transition effects could be added too.
Interested? Let us know!
The GeoSolutions team,