MS RFC 107: Support for the edge of pixel (OGC) extent model in MapServer

Author:Tamas Szekeres
Version:MapServer 7.0

This RFC is related to MS RFC 25 which addresses the same issue, but we now intend to keep the current edge-of-pixel extent model as well by using a different implementation proposal.

1. Overview

According to MS RFC 25 “MapServer uses different pixel and extent model than defined by OGC services such as WCS and WMS. MapServer uses the center of a pixel to represent its unique coordinate value. An extent is interpreted as the bounding box that runs from the center of the UL pixel in an image to the center of the LR pixel in an image. Why? Well, it goes back to companion software that existed along side MapServer to display satellite data stored in ERDAS that used the center to center extent model. The math is simple and there is a certain logic in having the extent actually represent pixel values - that is, if you render the extent as a polygon you get the exact edge of the image as one might expect..

On the other hand, OGC service specifications define an extent (BBOX) to refer to the dimensions of the outside edges of the image being requested. This appears to be a far more common means of expressing an area of interest.”

As an attempt for handling the difference between the MapServer and OGC extent models an adjustment code has been applied in MapServer (ie. in mapwms.c, mapwmslayer.c):

dx = (map->extent.maxx - map->extent.minx) / map->width;
map->extent.minx += dx*0.5;
map->extent.maxx -= dx*0.5;

dy = (map->extent.maxy - map->extent.miny) / map->height;
map->extent.miny += dy*0.5;
map->extent.maxy -= dy*0.5;

But this fix still doesn’t resolve a couple of issues, like:

  • The search rectangle is decreased by half pixels at each sides, therefore we get less amount of information we expect from the MapServer based OGC server
  • msAdjustExtent still causes extent distortion (especially for small images), since (width-1)/(height-1) is not equal to width/height.

Furthermore, mapscript users may incorrectly assume we use the OGC extent model (the documentation of setExtent/getExtent doesn’t seem to provide guidance) which results in different scales and incorrect width/height adjustments they would normally expect.

In this RFC I’m about to provide support for both the OGC extent model and to the current model which can be selected by a new parameter added to the mapfile.

2. Proposed solution

The key point of the implementation is to replace the ‘1’ constant values in the extent/scale calculations with a new pixeladjustment parameter. This parameter can be defined in the mapfile as:

    # 0 for using the OGC extent model 2 for the current edge-of-pixel model

The value 1 will represent the current (edge of pixel) behaviour (which will be the default setting), while setting this parameter to 0 will switch MapServer to use the OGC extent model. The introduction of this new parameter makes the implementation fairly straightforward not requiring to add quite some ‘if’ conditions in the codebase.

Regarding to the performance, calculating with the new pixeladjustment parameter in the formula instead of the constant 1 should not result in perceptible degradation.

3. Implementation Details

The core of this implementation will change the cellsize calculation macro by adding the new parameter (in mapfile.h) as follows:

#define MS_CELLSIZE(min,max,d,a) ((max - min)/(d-a))

and we modify msAdjustExtent (maputil.c):

double msAdjustExtent(rectObj *rect, int width, int height, int pixeladjustment)
  double cellsize, ox, oy;

  if(width == 1 || height == 1)
    return 0;

  cellsize = MS_MAX(MS_CELLSIZE(rect->minx, rect->maxx, width, pixeladjustment), MS_CELLSIZE(rect->miny, rect->maxy, height, pixeladjustment));

  if(cellsize <= 0) /* avoid division by zero errors */

  ox = MS_MAX(((width - pixeladjustment) - (rect->maxx - rect->minx)/cellsize)/2,0); /* these were width-1 and height-1 */
  oy = MS_MAX(((height - pixeladjustment) - (rect->maxy - rect->miny)/cellsize)/2,0);

  rect->minx = rect->minx - ox*cellsize;
  rect->miny = rect->miny - oy*cellsize;
  rect->maxx = rect->maxx + ox*cellsize;
  rect->maxy = rect->maxy + oy*cellsize;


and msCalculateScale (mapscale.c):

int msCalculateScale(rectObj extent, int units, int width, int height, int pixeladjustment,  double resolution, double *scale)
  double md, gd, center_y;

  /* if((extent.maxx == extent.minx) || (extent.maxy == extent.miny))   */
  if(!MS_VALID_EXTENT(extent)) {
    msSetError(MS_MISCERR, "Invalid image extent, minx=%lf, miny=%lf, maxx=%lf, maxy=%lf.", "msCalculateScale()", extent.minx, extent.miny, extent.maxx, extent.maxy);

  if((width <= 0) || (height <= 0)) {
    msSetError(MS_MISCERR, "Invalid image width or height.", "msCalculateScale()");

  switch (units) {
      center_y = (extent.miny+extent.maxy)/2.0;
      md = (width - pixeladjustment)/(resolution*msInchesPerUnit(units, center_y));
      gd = extent.maxx - extent.minx;
      *scale = gd/md;
      *scale = -1; /* this is not an error */


Most of the further implementation will imply to change of all occurrences of msAdjustExtent, msCalculateScale and MS_CELLSIZE to provide this new parameter from the map object. See the following subchapters for the details.


A new integer parameter will be added to mapObj (in mapserver.h) and we will also modify the lexer (maplexer.l, maplexer.c) to recognize this new setting. The mapfile reader and writer (in mapfile.c, mapfile.h) will be modified to read/write this new value and initialize the default value of PIXELADJUSTMENT to 1.

3.2 Modify the WMS half of pixel adjustment code

The OGC adjustment code (mentioned above) should now be changed to:

dx = (map->extent.maxx - map->extent.minx) / map->width;
map->extent.minx += dx*0.5*map->pixeladjustment;
map->extent.maxx -= dx*0.5*map->pixeladjustment;

dy = (map->extent.maxy - map->extent.miny) / map->height;
map->extent.miny += dy*0.5*map->pixeladjustment;
map->extent.maxy -= dy*0.5*map->pixeladjustment;

3.3 Provide pixeladjustment parameter for msAdjustExtent and msCalculateScale and MS_CELLSIZE

We enumerate all occurrences of these functions and provide the new parameter from mapObj->pixeladjustment or mapServObj->map->pixeladjustment. For the list of all files affected in this change please refer to chapter 4.

3.4 Modify the calculation of the search rectangle

We should modify the code in some places when searching for the shapes to utilize the pixeladjustment parameters like:

/* identify target shapes */
if(layer->transform == MS_TRUE)
  searchrect = map->extent;
else {
  searchrect.minx = searchrect.miny = 0;
  searchrect.maxx = map->width - map->pixeladjustment;
  searchrect.maxy = map->height - map->pixeladjustment;

3.5 Modify msMapComputeGeotransform

The calclulation should be modified as (in mapobject.c):

map->gt.geotransform[1] =
  cos(rot_angle) * geo_width / (map->width - map->pixeladjustment);
map->gt.geotransform[2] =
  sin(rot_angle) * geo_height / (map->height - map->pixeladjustment);
map->gt.geotransform[0] = center_x
                          - (map->width * 0.5) * map->gt.geotransform[1]
                          - (map->height * 0.5) * map->gt.geotransform[2];
map->gt.geotransform[4] =
  sin(rot_angle) * geo_width / (map->width - map->pixeladjustment);
map->gt.geotransform[5] =
  - cos(rot_angle) * geo_height / (map->height - map->pixeladjustment);
map->gt.geotransform[3] = center_y
                          - (map->width * 0.5) * map->gt.geotransform[4]
                          - (map->height * 0.5) * map->gt.geotransform[5];

4. Files affected

  • mapchart.c: Modify the calculation of the search rectangle (see 3.4)
  • mapcluster.c: Modify the calculation of the search rectangle (see 3.4)
  • mapdraw.c: Modify the calls of msAdjustExtent and msCalculateScale (see 3.3)
  • mapfile.c: Mofify the reader/writer (see 3.1)
  • mapfile.h: Define PIXELAJUSTMENT
  • mapgraticule.c: Modify the call of msAdjustExtent (3.3) and the search rectangle (3.4)
  • maplegend.c: Modify the calls of msAdjustExtent and msCalculateScale (see 3.3)
  • maplexer.c: Add support for reading PIXELADJUSTTMENT (see 3.1)
  • maplexer.l: Add support for reading PIXELADJUSTTMENT (see 3.1)
  • mapobject.c: Modify the calls of msAdjustExtent and msCalculateScale (3.3), modify msMapComputeGeotransform (3.5)
  • mapquery.c: Modify the calls of msAdjustExtent and MS_CELLSIZE (see 3.3)
  • mapraster.c: Modify the call of msAdjustExtent (see 3.3)
  • maprasterquery.c: Modify the call of msAdjustExtent (see 3.3)
  • mapscale.c: Implement changes in msCalculateScale (see chapter 3) and modify calls (3.3)
  • mapserver.h: Implement changes in MS_CELLSIZE, add pixeladjustment to mapObj, modify the calls of msAdjustExtent and msCalculateScale
  • mapservutil.c: Modify the calls of msAdjustExtent, MS_CELLSOZE and msCalculateScale (see 3.3)
  • maptemplate.c: Modify the calculations in setExtent (FROMIMGBOX, FROMIMGPNT, FROMREFPNT, FROMSCALE), change the call of msAdjustExtent in checkWebScale
  • maptile.c: Modify the adjustment code in msTileSetExtent (see 3.2)
  • maputil.c: Implement changes in msAdjustExtent (see chapter 3)
  • mapuvraster.c: Modify the cellsize and the extent calculation in msUVRASTERLayerWhichShapes
  • mapwcs.c: Modify msWCSGetCoverage to include pixeladjustment in the formula when recomputing the BBOX.
  • mapwms.c: Modify the adjustment code (3.2) and msAdjustExtent and MS_CELLSIZE calls (3.3)
  • mapwmslayer.c: Modify the adjustment code (3.2) and msCalculateScale and MS_CELLSIZE calls (3.3)
  • mapscript/swiginc/map.i: Modify the call of msCalculateScale (see 3.3)
  • mapscript/swiginc/mapzoom.i: Modify the calls of msAdjustExtent and msCalculateScale (see 3.6)
  • mapscript/swiginc/rect.i: Modify the signature of ‘fit’ (see 3.6)
  • mapscript/php/map.c: Modify the calls of msAdjustExtent and msCalculateScale (see 3.6)
  • mapscript/php/mapscript_i.c: Modify the calls of msCalculateScale, modify the signature of ‘fit’ (see 3.6)

5. Backwards Compatibility Issues

The default value of PIXELADJUSTMENT will keep the current behaviour with regards the the calculation, but we need to modify the signature of the mapscript function: ‘fit’.

6. Bug ID


7. Voting history