Web Map Service, or WMS, is a widely adopted protocol for providing georeferenced map images over the internet. It is a standard protocol for serving georeferenced map images over the internet that are generated by a map server using data from a GIS database.

WMS provides a simple HTTP interface for requesting geo-registered map images from one or more distributed geospatial databases. It is a service interface defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standard that provides maps of spatially referenced data.

What is WMS?

WMS is a set of conventions for serving and retrieving georeferenced map images over the internet. Developed and maintained by the Open Geospatial Consortium, WMS allows for client applications to request maps from a server over the Internet using a standardized HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) interface.

WMS produces maps as digital image files in formats like PNG, GIF or JPEG. The rendered map is based on user-defined parameters, such as the geographical area, scale, coordinate system, and layers included. The data itself will be stored on the server as vector or raster datasets.

The strength of WMS lies in its ability to integrate information from multiple sources. As long as each source adheres to WMS standards, map layers from different sources and in different formats can be overlaid and displayed together.


What is a WMS server?

A WMS server refers to a server that uses the Web Map Service standards to deliver georeferenced map images. These servers respond to requests from client applications following the WMS protocol by returning a map as a digital image.

What types of applications use WMS?

Various types of applications including GIS software, web mapping applications, mobile apps, and even desktop software like CAD programs make use of WMS. Any software that requires geospatial data displayed in a map format can potentially use WMS.

What is the difference between WMS and WFS?

WMS and WFS (Web Feature Service) are both standards developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium. While WMS serves georeferenced map images, WFS provides direct access to the raw spatial data. A WFS service allows client applications to query and update geospatial data in real-time.

What are the benefits of using WMS?

The main benefits of using WMS include the ability to access updated and diverse geospatial data without the need to host it locally, the possibility to overlay geospatial data from multiple servers and to customize map images based on user-defined parameters. It also promotes data interoperability by ensuring that data from diverse sources can be used together seamlessly.

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