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Display of International Characters in MapServer

Author:Jeff McKenna
Contact:jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com
Revision:$Revision: 12506 $
Date:$Date: 2011-08-29 14:26:49 +0200 (Mon, 29 Aug 2011) $

Credit

The following functionality was added to MapServer 4.4.0 as a part of a project sponsored by the Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA), in Japan. Project members included: Venkatesh Raghavan, Masumoto Shinji, Nonogaki Susumu, Nemoto Tatsuya, Hirai Naoki (Osaka City University, Japan), Mario Basa, Hagiwara Akira, Niwa Makoto, Mori Toru (Orkney Inc., Japan), and Hattori Norihiro (E-Solution Service, Inc., Japan).

Requirements

  • MapServer >= 4.4.0
  • MapServer compiled with the libiconv library

How to Enable in Your Mapfile

The mapfile LABEL object’s parameter named ENCODING can be used to convert strings from its original encoding system into one that can be understood by the True Type Fonts. The ENCODING parameter accepts the encoding name as its parameter.

MapServer uses GNU’s libiconv library ( http://www.gnu.org/software/libiconv/ ) to deal with encodings. The libiconv web site has a list of supported encodings. One can also use the “iconv -l” command on a system with libiconv installed to get the complete list of supported encodings on that specific system.

So, theoretically, every string with an encoding system supported by libiconv can be displayed as labels in MapServer as long as it has a matching font-set.

Step 1: Verify ICONV Support and MapServer Version

Execute ‘’mapserv -v’ at the commandline, and verify that your MapServer version >= 4.4.0 and it includes ‘’SUPPORTS=ICONV’‘, such as:

> mapserv -v

  MapServer version 5.6.5 OUTPUT=GIF OUTPUT=PNG OUTPUT=JPEG
  OUTPUT=WBMP OUTPUT=PDF OUTPUT=SWF OUTPUT=SVG SUPPORTS=PROJ
  SUPPORTS=AGG SUPPORTS=FREETYPE SUPPORTS=ICONV SUPPORTS=FRIBIDI
  SUPPORTS=WMS_SERVER SUPPORTS=WMS_CLIENT SUPPORTS=WFS_SERVER
  SUPPORTS=WFS_CLIENT SUPPORTS=WCS_SERVER SUPPORTS=SOS_SERVER
  SUPPORTS=FASTCGI SUPPORTS=THREADS SUPPORTS=GEOS SUPPORTS=RGBA_PNG
  SUPPORTS=TILECACHE INPUT=JPEG INPUT=POSTGIS INPUT=OGR INPUT=GDAL
  INPUT=SHAPEFILE

Step 2: Verify That Your Files’ Encoding is Supported by ICONV

Since MapServer uses the libiconv library to handle encodings, you can check the list of supported encodings here: http://www.gnu.org/software/libiconv/

Unix users can also use the iconv -l command on a system with libiconv installed to get the complete list of supported encodings on that specific system.

Step 3: Add ENCODING Parameter to your LABEL Object

Now you can simply add the ENCODING parameter to your mapfile LAYER object, such as:

MAP
 ...
 LAYER
   ...
   CLASS
     ...
     LABEL
       ...
       ENCODING "SHIFT_JIS"
     END
   END
 END
END

One of the benefits of having an “ENCODING” parameter within the LABEL object is that different LAYERS with different encoding systems can be combined together and display labels within a single map. For example, labels from a Layer using Shapefile as it source which contains attributes in SHIFT-JIS can be combined with a Layer from a PostGIS database server with EUC-JP attributes. A sample Mapfile can look like this:

LAYER
  NAME "chimei"
  DATA chimei
  STATUS DEFAULT
  TYPE POINT
  LABELITEM "NAMAE"
  CLASS
    NAME "CHIMEI"
    STYLE
      COLOR 10 100 100
    END
    LABEL
      TYPE TRUETYPE
      FONT kochi-gothic
      COLOR 220 20 20
      SIZE 10
      POSITION CL
      PARTIALS FALSE
      BUFFER 0
      ENCODING SHIFT_JIS
    END
  END
END

LAYER
  NAME "chimeipg"
  CONNECTION "user=username password=password dbname=gis host=localhost port=5432"
  CONNECTIONTYPE postgis
  DATA "the_geom from chimei"
  STATUS DEFAULT
  TYPE POINT
  LABELITEM "NAMAE"
  CLASS
    NAME "CHIMEI PG"
    STYLE
      COLOR 10 100 100
    END
    LABEL
      TYPE TRUETYPE
      FONT kochi-mincho
      COLOR 20 220 20
      SIZE 10
      POSITION CL
      PARTIALS FALSE
      BUFFER 0
      ENCODING EUC-JP
    END
  END
END

Example Using PHP MapScript

For PHP Mapscript, the Encoding parameter is included in the LabelObj Class, so that the encoding parameter of a layer can be modified such as:

// Loading the php_mapscript library
dl("php_mapscript.so");

// Loading the map file
$map = ms_newMapObj("example.map");

// get the desired layer
$layer = $map->getLayerByName("chimei");

// get the layer's class object
$class = $layer->getClass(0);

// get the class object's label object
$clabel= $class->label;

// get encoding parameter
$encode_str = $clabel->encoding;
print "Encoding = ".$encode_str."\n";

// set encoding parameter
$clabel->set("encoding","UTF-8");

Notes

Note

During initial implementation, this functionality was tested using the different Japanese encoding systems: Shift-JIS, EUC-JP, UTF-8, as well as Thai’s TIS-620 encoding system.

Examples of encodings for the Latin alphabet supported by libiconv are: ISO-8859-1 (Latin alphabet No. 1 - also known as LATIN-1 - western European languages), ISO-8859-2 (Latin alphabet No. 2 - also known as LATIN-2 - eastern European languages), CP1252 (Microsoft Windows Latin alphabet encoding - English and some other Western languages).