Map Feature Language (MFL) Specification. Version 1.0

The Map Feature Language, MFL, is an XML language that enables content providers to provide map-based content without supplying the entire map. It supports a model where content from different providers can be overlaid on the same map. MFL was defined as part of the MapWeb project at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center.

MFL was designed to enable commonly portrayed map features to be defined textually. Currently, MFL supports the following kinds of features: icons, point-shapes, text, linestrings, polygons, multi-linestrings, multi-polygons, and image tiles. The geometry of each feature is described in geographic coordinates. (MFL allows the geometries to be described in any well-known geographic coordinate system, but MFL viewers are only
required to support the common latitude and longitude of WGS-84 coordinates.) The presentation of each feature is described using presentation attributes such as color, linewidth, font and font-size. This integration of geographic coordinates with presentation information is what gives MFL its unique role as presentation language for map features.

Feature geometry in MFL is specified with elements from the Basic Features specification of the Geography Markup Language (GML), defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium. Implementors of MFL interpreters should consult the GML specification directly [GML]. For convenience, some elements of GML are described here. Readers should note that the descriptions here are based on GML 2, whereas the latest version is GML 3. Some elements of GML 2 are deprecated in GML 3.

By: Jonathan P. Munson

Published in: RC24318 in 2007


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