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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 challenges associated with OGC services; for example, some are served on relatively old servers that can cause performance issues when the services are displayed in newer apps. In addition, there can be basemap compatibility issues related to the support of tiling schemes or coordinate systems of OGC layers. Learn more about OGC at the Open Geospatial Consortium website. Esri also maintains an Interoperability and Standards web page detailing its support for OGC services in ArcGIS.

OGC specifications

ArcGIS Enterprise supports the following OGC specifications in the ways described:

OGC API – Features

The OGC API – Features specification has multiple parts. It includes standards for creating and working with spatial data on the web and standards for APIs for sharing feature data on the web.

ArcGIS Online allows you to publish an OGC feature layer from a hosted feature layer. OGC feature layers follow the OGC API – Features specification.

You can use the layers in third-party applications in which you require OGC features. You can also add the OGC feature layer to Map Viewer or use it in ArcGIS Pro 2.8 or later.

OGC Web Feature Service (WFS)

OGC Web Feature Service (WFS) is a dynamic feature service that follows the WFS specification of OGC.

You can do the following with OGC WFS layers in ArcGIS Enterprise:

OGC Web Map Service (WMS)

OGC Web Map Service (WMS) is a dynamic map service that follows the WMS specification of OGC.

You can do the following with OGC WMS layers in ArcGIS Enterprise:

OGC Web Map Tile Service (WMTS)

OGC Web Map Tile Service (WMTS) is a set of cached image tiles that follows the WMTS specification of OGC.

You can do the following with OGC WMTS layers in ArcGIS Enterprise:

Additionally, WMTS is available for hosted tile layers you publish to your organization and share with the public.

Add OGC WFS layers

When you add OGC WFS layers to a map in Map Viewer or Map Viewer Classic, you must choose one sublayer at a time. To add more layers from the same WFS layer, repeat the steps to add the layer and choose a different sublayer each time.

In Map Viewer Classic, you can also specify advanced configuration options when you add a WFS layer to a map. You can change the maximum feature limit or choose to flip x,y coordinates. If the WFS layer contains complex features, you must also select the type of features to display: points, lines, or polygons.

When you add a WFS layer to the map, your basemap must be compatible with the coordinate system of the WFS layer.

You can also add WFS layers to Scene Viewer.

Add OGC WMS layers

When you add an OGC WMS layer to a map in Map Viewer or in Map Viewer Classic, you can choose to add all the layers in the service or select the layers you want to add. If you add all the layers in the service, all the layers are added to the map, but only the first layer is displayed. 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. You can also control which layers in your OGC WMS service appear on the map by choosing the layers you want when adding the OGC WMS as an item or updating the item.

By default, when you add an OGC WMS layer as a basemap, the first 10 layers in the service are added and all 10 layers are visible. You can select different layers in the WMS service to add to the basemap when you add the WMS to the map or if you add the WMS as an operational layer and move it to the basemap.

You can also add WMS layers to Scene Viewer. After adding a WMS layer, you can view the legend and configure pop-ups, save the layer in a scene, and share it.

Add OGC WMTS layers

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. Only add the layers that your map audience needs to see, because a large number 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, select a specific layer to add from your WMTS service. You can add more than one layer in Map Viewer or in Map Viewer Classic, but you must go back through the process of adding the WMTS to your map.

When adding a WMTS as an item, you must select a specific layer and must also select the coordinate system for the layer, if the layer supports multiple coordinate systems. To add multiple layers or additional coordinate systems, you must author individual items for each layer or coordinate system.

You can also add WMTS layers to Scene Viewer.

Use compatible basemaps with WMTS, WMS, and WFS layers

For maps to display correctly, the coordinate systems of the layers and basemaps must be compatible. In addition, the tiling scheme of a WMTS layer must match the tiling scheme of the basemap. Map Viewer or Map Viewer Classic attempts to draw your layer with the basemap you select. If your layer can't be drawn on the basemap (because the coordinate system or tiling scheme doesn't match), and the OGC WMS or WMTS layer is the first layer you've added to a map, Map Viewer or Map Viewer Classic attempts to use a different basemap.

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

For OGC WFS layers, the coordinate system of the basemap must be supported by the WFS service or the layer may not be drawn successfully. Map Viewer or Map Viewer Classic will not switch to use a compatible basemap. If the basemap is not compatible with the WFS layer, Map Viewer or Map Viewer Classic will display a message to that effect.

Secure OGC services

OGC WFS, WMS, and WMTS services secured with web-tier authentication, such as Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA), a public key infrastructure (PKI), Basic, or Digest access authentication, are supported. OGC WFS, WMS, and WMTS services secured with token-based authentication are not supported. Configure support for OGC services secured with web-tier authentication by adding the server hosting the services to your organization’s list of trusted servers. The server on which the OGC services are running must support Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS); otherwise, the OGC layers will not function as expected in the portal. Additionally, you must configure CORS to allow the specific domains that will communicate with the server, such as your ArcGIS Enterprise portal domain.

Once you've added the server to the list of trusted servers, you can add your OGC services to the map or as an item. If authentication is necessary, users adding or viewing secured OGC layers will be prompted to enter their credentials.

Custom parameters

If you connect to an OGC service that has additional capabilities or if you want to set a property connection itself, you can add custom request parameter names and values when you add the OGC service as an item to your organization. Parameter names and values are defined on the service and are specific to that service. They may be vendor specific and usually add capabilities that fall outside the scope of the OGC standard. For example, you can use a custom parameter on an OGC WFS service to transpose the x- and y-coordinates of features when they are queried (swapxy, True), or a custom parameter can define a filter expression to return a specific feature (FeatureID, Feat203).


The following are the current limitations of using OGC layers in ArcGIS Enterprise:

  • OGC WFS, WMS, and WMTS layers are supported in Map Viewer and Map Viewer Classic.
  • Hosted WFS layers support a maximum of 3,000 features per request.
  • You can only add WFS 2.0 layers that support GeoJSON output to a map in Map Viewer.
  • OGC API – Features (including OGC feature layers) are only supported in Map Viewer.
  • You cannot edit features or add token-based 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 Map Viewer Classic and the website (WMS only); otherwise, internal OGC WMS layers are not supported.
  • Your WFS, WMS, and WMTS layer and basemap must use the same coordinate system, for example, Web Mercator (the coordinate system of the default basemaps in the basemap gallery). Your administrator may have changed the default basemaps. Check with your administrator if you have issues using basemaps with your OGC layer.
  • OGC WMS group layers are not supported.
  • Refresh on OGC WMS layers only works if the WMS service honors standard HTTPS caching rules.
  • If the option to enable pop-ups is not available for the WMS layer, you may need to add the layer to the map again or re-create the WMS item. Some WMS layers do not support pop-ups.
  • When printing OGC WMS or WMTS layers, custom parameters are not supported.