Connecting to a Web Map Service (WMS)

A Web Map Service (WMS) was developed to provide georeferenced drawings online from several different servers which allows professionals build customized maps. This tutorial will show the procedure on how to connect to a WMS for the creation of new map provider in Plex-Earth.



Step 1: Accessing The Map Explorer

Select "Show Imagery Manager" in the Imagery panel of Plex-Earth 5 ribbon.

On the Imagery Manager tab, click on the "Sources" icon. The Imagery Providers window will pop up and then click on  "+ CREATE A NEW MAP" at the left bottom corner of the window.


Assign a name to your customized map and add a thumbnail (optional). Click on "SAVE & EDIT" afterwards.


The Map Explorer window will be displayed and then click on the "CREATE NEW MAP" button.



Step 2: Creating and Setting Up a New Map Layer

The Layer list will be displayed on the left side. Click on the encircled "+" button and select "WMS" from the dropdown list.


Fill up the the fields for the name and description of your layer. You may also add a thumbnail for the layer if you have its link (optional). For this tutorial, we will be using the WMS Layer from FEMA - National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) as an example. 



Step 3. Locating and Managing Your WMS Data Source

The URL of your WMS server will also be required. Paste the URL on the field provided if you already have it. For this tutorial, the URL for FEMA - National Flood Hazard Layer WMS can be found on their webpage:

The link for FEMA's NFHL WMS Server is specified under the OGC Web Mapping Service (WMS) section on the webpage above or here:

Paste this link on the URL field in the Map Explorer Window and click the gear icon to manage the WMS layer or if you simply wish to view its properties.


Tick the boxes of the layers provided by the WMS server that you wish to display on your custom map.

For this tutorial, we will select the "Flood Hazard Zones", "Flood Hazard Boundaries" and "NFHL Availability" layers.


Set the format of the image to /png. WMS layers are usually non-transparent which results to the layers blocking the background map when overlaid.  Setting the image format to PNG is a must as it is the only format that offers transparency attributes.


Check the "Use layer styles" box if you wish to use the assigned layer styles of each selected layers instead of the default layer style of the WMS data source. This option is usually used to further customize the layers within the WMS Data Source. 

Click "SAVE" when done and the window will automatically close.


Step 4: Finalizing Your Map Layer

The layers you selected from the WMS server will be listed. Click "CREATE" to finalize.


This is how the custom map will look like for this example:


You can also add multiple map layers in the Map Explorer. Layers higher in the list will appear on top of those under them. You can rearrange layers by holding on the layer (mouse pointer will change into the move pointer) and dragging them in place.

You can also select which layer/s you'd like to display by using the "show/hide" icon. When the layer is hidden, the thumbnail of the layer will be blurred as shown for layers below FEMA.


Once you have finalized your custom map, just close/minimize the window to proceed with importing imagery.



With a vast database of Web Map Services readily accessible online which contain valuable information for companies and professionals, Plex-Earth 5 offers the capability to view them within AutoCAD, and import imagery from these providers for further customization and usability on a project.


NOTE 1: There are cases where some WMS layers does not show up right away. Allow some time for the layers to load. Also, certain layers only appear when a specific zoom level is reached.

For example, in the FEMA NFHL WMS we just covered, the "Flood Hazard Zones" layer is only available when the zoom (Max Scale Denominator) is set to 1:47247.023810 or lower.

If we had selected only this layer, we wouldn't have been able to view it, unless we zoomed to an acceptable scale value.


NOTE 2: If the WMS is not loading properly (see Note 1), take a look into the capabilities file for information about the WMS and its parameters. The capabilities file can usually be found in the location from which you obtained the WMS Server URL.





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