A Web Map Service (WMS) defines an interface that allows a user to get maps of geospatial data and gain detailed information on specific features shown on a map. Connecting to a WMS allows professionals to build customized maps from several different servers online and obtain useful information distinct for their projects. This tutorial will show the procedure on how to connect to a WMS for the creation of a new map provider in Plex-Earth through our very own custom map tool, Map Explorer.
Step 1. Accessing the Map Explorer
The Map Explorer can be accessed via the Imagery Manager.
First, select Show Imagery Manager on the Imagery panel of the Plex-Earth ribbon.
The Imagery Manager palette will pop up and on its upper part, click on the Basemaps button. From the Basemaps window, hit the +CREATE A NEW MAP button. The New Custom Map window will pop up where you can assign a name to your customized map, and add a thumbnail (optional). Click on SAVE & EDIT to proceed.
The Map Explorer will then pop up and you can choose to pick from ready-to-use maps in our collection or create an entirely new one by clicking on the CREATE NEW MAP button.
Step 2. Creating and Setting Up a New Map Layer
The Layer list will display the existing layers on the drawing. To create a new layer, click on the encircled "+" button and select Tile Server from the dropdown list.
Fill up the fields for the name (required) 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. 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 stated 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 to simply 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.
Tick 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 visualization of 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.
The custom map will be displayed like for this example:
You can also add multiple map layers in Map Explorer. Layers listed higher in the list will appear on top of those listed under them. You can rearrange layers by holding on to a layer (the mouse pointer will change to the move pointer) and dragging it in place.
You can also select which layer/s you want to be displayed 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.
With a vast database of Web Map Services readily accessible online which contain valuable information for companies and professionals, Plex-Earth offers the capability to view them within your AutoCAD or BricsCAD workspace, and import imagery from these providers for further customization and usability on a project.
NOTE 1: There are cases where some WMS layers do not show up right away. Allow some time for the layers to load. In addition, 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.|
We hope that you have found this introduction on how to connect to a Web Map Service, helpful. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions you may still have.
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