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Use an external capabilities file with a WPS service

Each WPS service exposes service-level metadata through its capabilities file. The capabilities file is the XML response that clients receive when they make a GetCapabilities request to the service. Configuring an external capabilities file gives you the flexibility to do the following:

  • Add metadata about the service.
  • Add metadata about each service process.

To use an external capabilities file with a WPS service, you'll need to create the file and then configure the file for use with your WPS service. The sections below describe this process.


By using an external capabilities file for your WPS service, you must be responsible for validating your capabilities files against the DTD or XML schema from OGC. You also assume responsibility for all the synchronization between your capabilities file and the source data from which your WPS service is published.

Create an external capabilities file

To configure a WPS service to use an external capabilities file, you must prepare a WPS capabilities file. You can create the file from scratch, but it's often easier to use a system-generated capabilities file as a template.

By default, the system-generated capabilities file is created automatically every time you send a WPS GetCapabilities request to the service. To use the system-generated capabilities file as a template, you need to manually send the GetCapabilities request and save the response as XML. Currently, 1.0.0 is the only WPS protocol version offered by OGC, so you need to generate only one capabilities file.

Follow these steps to create an external capabilities file for your WPS service:

  1. If you haven't done so already, publish a geoprocessing service and enable the WPS capability. For more information, see WPS services.
  2. In a web browser, enter the URL of your WPS service. The URL is formatted:

  3. Append ?request=GetCapabilities&version=1.0.0 to the end of the service URL and press Enter. The XML displayed in the browser is the WPS version 1.0.0 capabilities for your service.
  4. Save the results as an XML file. The file name must follow the format <prefix><WPS version>.xml. For example, when you save the result XML from a WPS version 1.0.0 GetCapabilities request, the file must use a common prefix (such as Roads) followed by the three-digit WPS version number (100). The resulting file is Roads100.xml.
  5. Configure and customize metadata information in the capabilities file.
  6. Move the capabilities file into a common folder that is accessible through HTTP. Typically, this will be a virtual directory on your organization's web server.

Configure a WPS service to use external capabilities files

To configure your WPS service to use the external capabilities file, you'll need to update the WPS service to reference the URL of your capabilities file. You can do this in ArcGIS Server Manager.

In ArcGIS Server Manager

  1. Open ArcGIS Server Manager and log in. If you need help with this step, see Log in to Manager.
  2. Click Services > Manage Services.
  3. In the Manage Services module, locate your service and click Edit Edit. If you don't see your service in the list, it may be located in a subfolder under the Site (root) folder.
  4. In the Edit module, click Capabilities.
  5. In the capabilities list, click WPS.
  6. In the WPS Configuration list, choose Use external capabilities files.
  7. In the Specify the location and prefix box, specify the URL of the folder where you placed your capabilities files plus the common prefix you used for the files. For example, if the URL to the folder that contains your files is and the common prefix you used is Roads, the URL you specify in the Specify the location and prefix box is
  8. Click Save and Restart.