Skip To Content


In this topic

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international voluntary consensus standards organization. The mission of the OGC is to develop, approve, and maintain standards for making your maps and related geographic data available and shareable over the web. Using OGC services and encodings enables open access to geographic data and software functionality, allowing organizations to incorporate their GIS data and services into any app on a variety of computing and mobile devices. These open services and encodings help improve the sharing and interoperability of geospatial information.

There can be associated challenges with OGC services; for example, some are being served out on relatively old servers that can cause performance issues when displaying in newer apps. In addition, there can be issues related to the support of tiling schemes or projections of layers on a basemap.

Portal for ArcGIS currently supports two OGC specifications: Web Map Service (WMS) and Web Map Tile Service (WMTS).

  • OGC Web Map Service (WMS) is a dynamic map service that follows the specifications of OGC. You can add OGC WMS layers to maps you create with the map viewer. You can also add OGC WMS maps as items in your portal.
  • OGC Web Tile Map Service (WMTS) is a set of cached image tiles that follows the specifications of OGC. You can add OGC WMTS layers to maps you create with the map viewer. You cannot add OGC WMTS maps as an item in your portal.

Use compatible basemaps with OGC layers

For maps to display correctly, the projection of the layers and basemaps need to be compatible. In addition, the tiling scheme of a WMTS layer needs to match the tiling scheme of the basemap. The map viewer attempts to draw your OGC layer with the basemap you select. If the map viewer can't draw your layer on the basemap (because the projection or tiling scheme don't match), and the OGC layer is the first layer you've added to a map, the map viewer attempts to use a different basemap.

For example, if your layer is in GCS WGS84, the map viewer uses the GCS WGS84 World Imagery basemap. Your portal administrator may have changed the default basemaps and may have included some that support your layer's projection. If a basemap in the gallery is not compatible, the map viewer uses your layer as the basemap. If you add an OGC layer to an existing map or it is not compatible with any basemaps in your gallery, the map viewer will not add it to your map; instead, you will see an error message letting you know your layer is not compatible with the basemap's coordinate system.

Control which OGC WMS layers appear in your map

When you add an OGC WMS layer to a map, all the layers in the service get added to the map, but only the first layer appears in the map. To turn on the other layers, click the Contents button, click the OGC WMS layer name, and check the boxes next to the layers you want to appear in the map.

When you add an OGC WMS layer as a basemap, the first 10 layers in the service are added and all 10 layers appear visible.

You can control which layers in your OGC WMS appear on the map by default by first adding the OGC WMS to your portal and using the Search for layer option in the map viewer to add your layer to the map. When you add the layer as an item in your portal (through My Content), you select which layers you want to include and these layers automatically appear on the map when you add the OGC WMS to the map.

Add OGC WMTS layers to your map

Each layer in an OGC WMTS service contains a set of cached images and can have a different tiling scheme than the other available layers in the WMTS service. You should only add the layers that your map audience needs to see because a lot of cache image tiles can clutter the map and it may take a long time to draw, especially in web browsers. To help maximize the performance of your map, the map viewer has you select a specific layer to add from your WMTS service. You can add more than one layer, but you need to go back through the process of adding the WMTS to your map.

Supported functionality

The map viewer supports a subset of functionality for OGC. The list below will expand as Esri continues to develop support for OGC.

  • Embed in websites
  • Print
  • Published legends (WMS only)


Below are the current limitations of using OGC in the map viewer.

  • You cannot enable pop-ups, edit features, set visibility range, or add secure OGC layers.
  • If the portal website is installed on the same network as an OGC WMS layer, the OGC WMS layer will be accessible in the map viewer and the website (WMS only); otherwise, internal OGC WMS layers are not supported.
  • Your OGC layer and basemap need to use the same coordinate system, for example, Web Mercator (the coordinate system of the default basemaps in the map viewer basemap gallery). Your portal administrator may have changed the default basemaps. Check with your administrator if you have issues using the map viewer's basemaps with your OGC layer.