How to Use a WMS

Web Map Services allow you to display air photos and other maps on your computer without having to download all the data.

There are a number of ways to connect to a WMS:

Free Software

Both ArcGIS Explorer and Google Earth can be used to view air photos through the Minnesota Geospatial Image Service. After downloading and installing the software, follow the step-by-step instructions below to add a mapping service.

GIS Software

A number of geographic information systems software packages can connect directly with the service. Once connected, you can view and use the images just as you would if they were on your computer.

Check your software manual or help files for specific instructions on how to add a mapping service.

Here are software clients known to be able to connect with WMS services (please let us know if you find others:

Web Browser

Although you can connect to a WMS with only a web browser, it's much easier to use it effectively with a website application that already has a connection set up and that provides a user-friendly interface. See some examples of applications that use MnGeo's Geospatial Image Service WMS.

Create Your Own Web Application

Programmers and web developers can add WMS services to their website applications. For example, see the technical specifications for MnGeo's Geospatial Image Service.

Use without an Internet Connection

Return to MnGeo WMS homepage

Geographic Data Clearinghouse