Web Map Service (WMS) is a widely supported format for integrating imagery into mapping applications.  With the addition of WMS in Spatialkey you can overlay imagery on top of the existing map tiles or use a WMS layer as your backdrop instead of using the provided MapQuest map tiles.  Many third parties provide WMS imagery that can be used in SpatialKey as a visual reference to your existing data. A few examples are; weather data (watches, warnings, cloudcover, wind and temperature), custom imagery (flyovers after weather events, satellite imagery), geographic boundaries (state, county, parcels).  Many of these services are available for free – Mapmatters.org catalogs over 250,000 different map layers. For more on WMS see this Wikipedia article.

Adding a WMS layer in SpatialKey is as simple as adding a layer in your dashboard.  Click on the  icon in the layer manager to add a layer to your dashboard.  Select the WMS Layer option.

Paste in the URL for the Web Mapping Service and click “Next”.

SpatialKey will show all of the layers available within the WMS. Select a layer then click “Next”.

Provide a label that will be shown in the map layer manager.  You can also adjust the opacity of the layer in this step.  This can be adjusted through the map layer manager after it has been added to the map as well.  After clicking “Finish” the layer will be added to the map.

Depending on your zoom level and where the map is centered the layer may or may not appear.  Some WMS layers only appear at certain zoom levels and in certain locations.  Consult the documentation for the WMS layer to better understand the location and zoom level where the data is shown.  In the example below we have to zoom in farther before viewing the WMS Rivers layer.

Configuration changes for the layer can be made from the map layer manager.  You can change the label, opacity and switch between the different available layers that are part of the service.

Issues you may experience:

  • After adding a WMS layer it may not appear immediately.  Some services are constrained to certain zoom levels (city level and bellow) and certain locations (along the coast, a particular county or city).  You may need to consult the documentation of the service for more information.
  • Image tiles for the service may appear slowly as you zoom and pan if the service is not responding well.

Some WMS sources to try with SpatialKey:

  • Near real-time observations: http://nowcoast.noaa.gov/wms/com.esri.wms.Esrimap/obs?service=wms&version=1.1.1&request=GetCapabilities
  • Watches, warnings and observations: http://nowcoast.noaa.gov/wms/com.esri.wms.Esrimap/wwa?service=wms&version=1.1.1&request=GetCapabilities
  • Gridded weather and oceanographic surface analyses: http://nowcoast.noaa.gov/wms/com.esri.wms.Esrimap/analyses?service=wms&version=1.1.1&request=GetCapabilities
  • Geo-reference hyperlinks and map background layers: http://nowcoast.noaa.gov/wms/com.esri.wms.Esrimap/geolinks?service=wms&version=1.1.1&request=GetCapabilities