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PHP and GIS software

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If anyone has any experience or knowledge of commercial GIS mapping solutions for websites and how they integrate with PHP, please can you answer the questions below. I would be ever grateful and you would be helping me with my final year undergraduate project.

[b]I've read that some providers communicate in XML, do you know of any examples on the web (access to code xml document trees etc.)?[/b]

[b]How do GIS software providers provide the map to the client and in what format is it? [/b]

[b]What information does the client need to send in order for the provider to process a request for a map?[/b]

[b]What information does the provider need to send back to the client in order to enable them to plot objects on the map they have recieved? [/b]

[b]Will the client need specialised software in order to plot real co-ordinates on the map (for example if they wanted to plot the location of a pub using real geographical co-ordinates)?[/b]

[b]If I were to use the PHP's longitude and latitude co-orrdinate functions to plot the objects on the map at the client end, would I be able to do this with a street level map? If it can, then how? [/b]

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There is in fact an article on this ver site. Try [url=http://www.phpbuilder.com/columns/moss20031023.php3]here[/url].

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thanks for the help guys.

i'm now using google maps api to build a prototype web app and its pretty comprehensive so i won't need answers to my questions .

for the time being i'm using an alternative site (http://gaze.mysociety.org) for the search function on my prototype app which you can query for geocode by placename. they says that you must use "HTTP GETs" and make the request directly via url. would using  HttpMessage::getBody work for recieving messages in csv format?

i'm not too sure how i should make a request. i was thinking of writing a php function which would take the location from an input box and proccess the request and results from the response locally. can this work during runtime without affecting the browser?

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