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Building the Catalog
About connecting to GIS servers
To access services provided by an ArcGIS, ArcIMS, or Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc (OGC) Web Mapping Service (WMS) server, you make a connection to it in the ArcCatalog GIS Servers folder. To connect to either a server over the Internet, you must provide the Universal Resource Locator (URL) that uniquely identifies the server on the Internet. For ArcGIS Servers, you can also connect over your local network; to connect, you must provide a local area network (LAN) address, such as the name of the computer.
In the case of connections to ArcGIS or ArcIMS servers, your connection can either access all the services provided, or you can choose the specific services in which you are interested. In addition to services that are freely available, you may have permission to access secure services. For ArcIMS Servers, to include secure services in the list you must provide a username and password before clicking Get List.
Upon starting ArcCatalog, all GIS servers are disconnected; a little red x will appear on the icon, indicating that it is unavailable. The first time a GIS server is selected, the Catalog connects to it. If your login information isn't saved with the connection, you will be prompted for that information. If the connection attempt is successful, the x disappears and you can access the available services.
Learn more about GIS servers and services
Your GIS Servers folder may already contain a connection to a GIS server, called Geography Network services hosted by ESRI. To access all the contents, including data not hosted by ESRI, access the Geography Network Web site directly by going to www.geographynetwork.com in your Web browser. You can add data from the Geography Network in ArcMap.
How to connect to GIS servers
Connecting to an ArcIMS Server
Accessing secure ArcIMS services
- In the ArcCatalog GIS Servers folder, double-click Add ArcIMS Server.
- In the dialog box that appears, type in the URL of the Internet Server to which you want to connect.
- If you will be accessing secure services on this server, check Show secure services and type your username and password. (Note that this is how you access services that are available by subscription only.)
- If you only want to access particular services on this server, click Get List. A list of all services that are available on the server appears.
- Check the services you want to be able to access from this server.
- Click OK.
Connecting to an ArcGIS Server
- Double-click ArcIMS Servers in the Catalog tree and double-click Add ArcIMS Server.
- Type the URL of the ArcIMS Server to which you want to connect.
- Check Show secure services.
- Type the username and password for accessing the available secure services.
- If you don't want to connect to all services, click Just the following service(s) and click Get List. The list of services that appears includes all free services provided by the ArcIMS Server as well as the secure services that you have permission to access.
- Check the services you want to use. Uncheck the services you don't want to use.
- Click OK.
- Type a new name for the ArcIMS Server.
- Press Enter.
Connecting to a WMS Server
- Double-click the ArcGIS Servers folder in the Catalog tree and double-click Add ArcGIS Server.
- Click either Internet Server or Local Server in the Add ArcGIS Server dialog box.
- Type the name or URL of the ArcGIS Server to which you want to connect.
- If you don't want to connect to all server objects, click Just the following resource(s) and click Get List. A list of all server objects that are available on the server appears. Check the objects you want to use.
- If required, type your username and password for accessing the server, then uncheck Save Name/Password if you don't want this information saved with the connection.
- Click OK.
- If you want to rename the ArcGIS Server, right-click the ArcGIS Server name, click Rename, then enter a new name.
- Double-click the ArcGIS Servers folder in the Catalog tree and double-click the Add WMS Server.
- In the dialog box that appears, type the URL to the WMS service. This will create a connection to the server on which the service is running.
The URL you specify for a WMS service needs to be the complete URL, not just the server domain as when you make a connection to an ArcIMS server. All WMS URLs end either with a ? or & character, and this character needs to be included in the URL. Here are two common formats for WMS URLs:
If you enter a URL without the required character at the end, ArcCatalog automatically adds it for you when you make the connection.
- Double-click the server connection to see the WMS service it contains.
When you look inside a WMS server in ArcCatalog, you'll only see one service. You don't see multiple services as you do with ArcIMS or ArcGIS servers. With OGC WMS, the server and the service are really the same thing, but separate server and service objects are provided to match how ArcCatalog handles other GIS servers.
- Add the WMS service into ArcMap either by dragging and dropping from ArcCatalog or from the ArcMap Add Data dialog box.
- A WMS service doesn't define which of its layers appear turned on when you initially access it. ArcGIS automatically turns on the first 20 layers in any WMS service you add to a map or preview in ArcCatalog. In this way, you are likely to see something useful when you first add the service to a map.
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