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OGC support in ArcGIS Server

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC), web services provide a way that you can make your maps and data available in an open, internationally recognized format over the web. OGC has defined specifications for making maps and data available on the web to anyone with a supported client application. All developers are free to use the OGC specifications to create these supported clients. In some cases, the client can be as simple as a web browser. In other cases, it can be a rich client such as ArcMap.

OGC publishing capabilities in ArcGIS Server

OGC has defined several types of services for serving different kinds of data and maps. ArcGIS Desktop allows you to publish the following types of OGC services:

  • Web Map Service (WMS) for serving collections of layers as map images
  • Web Map Tile Service (WMTS) for serving map layers as cached map tiles
  • Web Feature Service (WFS) for serving data as vector features
  • Web Coverage Service (WCS) for serving data as raster coverages (not to be confused with Esri's ArcInfo coverages)
  • Web Processing Service (WPS) for serving geospatial processing

You publish these services by enabling capabilities on certain types of ArcGIS Server services. When you create the service, you must explicitly enable the OGC capabilities; they are not enabled by default.

The table below shows which service types can expose OGC capabilities:


Map services





Geodata services



Image services




Geoprocessing services


Consuming OGC services

In addition to publishing services, you can use ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap, ArcGIS Pro, ArcGlobe, and ArcGIS Explorer) to consume existing OGC services from both inside and outside your organization. Additionally, the ArcGIS API for JavaScript allows you to build web apps that consume OGC services.

Metadata and portals

Once you've published your OGC services, you might want to organize them in a catalog so others can see what's available on your server. You can use Esri Geoportal Server to publish this type of catalog. These metadata services can be built to comply with one of several recognized standards for cataloging and retrieving data. Supported standards include Z39.50 (from the International Organization for Standardization), CSW with support for both the eb-RIM and ISO profiles (from OGC), and the OAI-PMH standard for metadata harvesting (from the Open Archives Initiative).

OGC services are frequently used in spatial data infrastructures (SDIs). An SDI provides users with a common way to find, evaluate, download, and use data. You can use Esri Geoportal Server to design and build an SDI at a local, state, country, or even global level.

Securing OGC services

OGC services are secured by managing the security of their parent services. For example, when you deny a certain role access to a map service, a user in that role will not be able to access the map service through SOAP, Representational State Transfer (REST), or any OGC interfaces (WMS, WMTS, WFS, WCS, or WPS).

ArcGIS Server supports a variety of authentication schemes. Services that are expected to be accessed via OGC interfaces should be secured using HTTP Basic or HTTP Digest. Most OGC clients (both non-Esri as well as Esri clients) will understand and work with these widespread standard authentication schemes.

Further reading

The links below contain more information about publishing OGC services on ArcGIS Server:

You can learn more about OGC services at the Open Geospatial Consortium website.