Many producers of geographic information are now disseminating their data using open web service protocols, notably those published by the Open Geospatial Consortium. There are many challenges inherent in running robust and reliable services at reasonable cost. Cloud computing provides a new kind of scalable infrastructure that could address many of these challenges. In this study we implement a Web Map Service for raster imagery within the Google App Engine environment. We discuss the challenges of developing GIS applications within this framework and the performance characteristics of the implementation. Results show that the application scales well to multiple simultaneous users and performance will be adequate for\ud many applications, although concerns remain over issues such as latency spikes. We discuss the feasibility of implementing services within the free usage quotas of Google App Engine and the possibility of extending the approaches in this paper to other GIS applications
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