The GeoServer team is excited to announce that GeoServer 1.6.0 has been released. There are a host of advances from 1.5.x, and many GeoServer users have been testing the release candidates and giving us great feedback, so this final release should be very stable. Foremost among the improvements is a huge performance increase in the rendering of maps (WMS), bringing GeoServer speed that matches the fastest mapping engines in the world. The other big focus has been on tightening everything up, as we’ve been getting more and more feedback from production deployments of GeoServer (which we’ll highlight soon in this blog).

The most cutting edge new feature is support for ‘versioning’ as extensions to WFS-T. This allows users to edit geographic data as if it was a wiki or in a version control system like svn. You can check out the preliminary demo, though we’re working on a more intuitive user interface. The start of that can be seen on our New York annotation demo, which also has a base map served by GeoServer. Right now only PostGIS can support versioning, but we’re hoping to find funding to hook it up to the native versioning in ArcSDE and Oracle Spatial.

There are also a number of other new features, including WFS 1.1 support, which adds reprojection when accessing raw data, as well as the ability for queries to return the number of results expected before getting the full results. We’ve also added a new integrated security subsystem, built on Acegi, to provide role-based access control to GeoServer resources. There is also improved connectivity to Google Maps/Virtual Earth/Yahoo! Maps, leveraging better integration with OpenLayers as well as bug fixes for our Google Earth support.

Also added is the WFS datastore, enabling GeoServer to serve as a Cascading WFS and a Component WMS (also known as a Feature Portrayal Service). Another cool improvement is our WMS reflector, which makes it a lot easier to experiment with map rendering through the browser. There are countless other improvements and fixes, in all over 400 issues were handled for the 1.6.0 release.

Stay tuned for the 1.6.1 release, we’ve already got a bunch of improvements lined up for it that we’ve held off on to get 1.6.0 absolutely stable. Thanks to everyone for all your hard work on this one, it’s a great step forward for this community, and the future is looking quite bright. And just to give the link one more time, the release can be downloaded from