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GIS Servers and services

Using GIS Services in ArcGIS Desktop applications

Release 9.2
Last modified March 10, 2008
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This topic gives an overview of using GIS Services in ArcGIS Desktop applications such as ArcCatalog, ArcMap, and ArcGlobe. (How these services are used in other clients, such as custom web applications, is not discussed here.)

About map services

One commonality between the three different servers is that they all have a map service, meaning you can view add the service to ArcMap and ArcGlobe by using the Add Data tool (Add Data). They are named differently in the three servers, as follows:

These services send maps as images. They are all based on a simple concept—rather than streaming feature data across the network (analogous to streaming video or music) to draw in ArcMap or other clients, the service renders the map on the server, saves the map to a graphics file, and sends the graphic file across the network to be drawn.

In ArcMap, you use the Add Data tool (Add Data), browse to a server and choose one of these services. The layer that is added to ArcMap is called a service layer. These three service layers:

Some service layers allow selection, some allow you to open their attribute table, and some support Identify (Identify).

Learn more about using service layers

ArcGIS Map service

You can add a Map service to ArcMap or ArcGlobe using the Add Data tool (Add Data) and browsing to an ArcGIS Server. An ArcGIS Map service layer will be added to the ArcMap table of contents.

Learn more about ArcGIS Map service layers

A Map service may have an associated Geoprocessing or Geodata service. The associated service has the same name as the Map service.
Learn more about an associated Geoprocessing service
Learn more about an associated Geodata service

ArcGIS Geocode service

Click here for an overview of geocoding and address matching in ArcGIS.

You can use a geocode service in ArcMap or with the tools found in the Geoprocessing toolbox.

To use a geocode service to find an individual address in ArcMap:

You can also geocode a table of addresses in ArcMap.
Learn more about geocoding a table of addresses

You can also use geocode services with tools found in the Geocoding tools toolbox.
Geocoding toolbox

Learn more about the Geocoding toolbox

ArcGIS Geoprocessing service

You add an ArcGIS Server geoprocessing service to the ArcToolbox window. In any ArcGIS Desktop application

Learn more about using geoprocessing services

The geoprocessing service may have an associated map service.
Learn more about associated map services

ArcGIS Map with associated Geoprocessing service

A map service and a geoprocessing service with the same name are said to be associated services. The tools within the geoprocessing service depend on the map service in one or more of the following ways:

The associated service is not automatically added. For example, if you add the map service, the geoprocessing service is not automatically added to the ArcToolbox window.

It is not a requirement that you add both services.

To establish whether there is an associated service, browse to the server in ArcCatalog and see if there is a map and geoprocessing service of the same name.
To add both services:

  1. Click Add Data (Add Data), browse to the server, and add the map service.
  2. In the ArcToolbox window, right-click on the ArcToolbox entry and click Add Toolbox. Browse to the server and add the associated geoprocessing service.

ArcGIS Geodata service

A geodata service is used to distribute data found in geodatabases. Its primary intent is to serve data so that you can create replicas of the data, edit the replicas, and synchronize changes back to the geodata service, which references a centralized database.

Learn more about distributed data, replicas, and synchronization

Tools that work with distributed geodatabases can be found in three places:

Geodata services can be based on file, personal, and ArcSDE geodatabases. The Distributed Geodatabase tools only work on geodata services based on ArcSDE geodatabases. However, you can use the Data Extraction tool found on the Distributed Geodatabase toolbar in ArcMap for file and personal geodatabases.

If you navigate to a geodata service in ArcCatalog, right-click and use one the Distributed Geodatabase tools, they will return an error if the geodata service is based on a file or personal geodatabase. (The Distributed Geodatabase tools are always enabled for a geodata service—the tool cannot determine the source of the geodata service until it opens and queries the underlying geodatabase.)

For geodata services based on file or personal geodatabases, you can extract the data using the associated map service.

ArcGIS Map with associated Geodata service

A map service and a geodata service with the same name are said to be associated services. If you want to use the Distributed Geodatabase toolbar in ArcMap, you add the associated map service to ArcMap.

If the geodata service is based on a file or personal geodatabase, you can only use the Extract data tool (Extract Data). If the geodata service is based on an ArcSDE geodatabase, you can use all the tools in the Distributed Geodatabase toolbar (some of which are only enabled when you have replicas).

You need to establish whether there is an associated service by browsing to the server in ArcCatalog and determining if there is an a map and geodata service of the same name.

ArcGIS Globe service

You can add a globe service to ArcGlobe by click the Add Data tool (Add Data), browsing to an ArcGIS Server, and choosing a globe service (Globe service).

Learn more about ArcGlobe and the 3D Analyst extension

ArcIMS Feature service

An ArcIMS Feature service streams the actual feature data to you over the Internet, similar to the way audio and video are streamed.
Each Feature service contains one or more ArcIMS feature classes. When adding a Feature service to ArcMap, you can choose to

You can change the symbology used to display the layer (unlike an ArcIMS Image service, ArcGIS Map service, or a WMS service, all of which have fixed symbology).

ArcIMS Feature services can be used in Geoprocessing tools. For example, you can use Clip to extract a portion of data within an ArcIMS Feature class.

Learn more about ArcIMS Feature service layers in ArcMap

Learn more about querying features in an ArcIMS service layer

As its name suggests, an ArcIMS Feature Service cannot contain raster data.

ArcIMS Image service

An ArcIMS Image service is a kind of map service, in that the map is sent as a graphics image.
When you add an ArcIMS Image Service to ArcMap, the layer it creates will either be one of two types:

You can determine the type by right-clicking the layer and clicking properties. The Data Source tab will display the type of service. You cannot rearrange layers in an ArcIMS ArcMap Image service.

Learn more about ArcIMS Image service layers in ArcMap

Learn more about querying features in an ArcIMS service layer

ArcIMS Metadata service

A Metadata service contains documents which are typically organized into a hierarchy of folders for easy browsing.

The illustration below shows the Browse_Metadata service found in the folder Geography Network Services hosted by ESRI.

Metadata service in the catalog tree

To view the contents of a metadata folder, simply double-click the folder. To view the actual metadata for a folder or document within the service, use the Metadata tab in ArcCatalog, as illustrated below.

Viewing metadata in a metadata service

Live services

An individual document may refer to a live service, which means you can add that service to ArcMap. A live service will have a blue globe in the lower right corner, as shown below.

Live service

You can browse to a metadata service using the Add Data tool (Add Data) and choose a live service. The ArcIMS Image or Feature service referred by the metadata entry will be added to the table of contents.

WMS service

A WMS service (Web Map Service) is a map service that you can view in ArcMap or ArcGlobe with the Add Data tool (Add Data). WMS was developed by OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) as a web-based standard for serving map images.

Learn more about OGC support in ArcGIS

Learn more about adding WMS services to ArcMap

Learn more about WMS service layers and coordinate systems

Learn more about querying features from a WMS service layer

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