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GIS Servers and services
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 (). They are named differently in the three servers, as follows:
- ArcIMS Image service
- ArcGIS Map service
- WMS service
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 (
), 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:
- Are similar to group layers because they typically contain sublayers. You can turn individual sublayers on and off. Sublayers will frequently have scale dependencies, where features will only draw at certain map scales.
- The Properties of a service layer will display the type of service in the Data Source tab. To view properties, right-click the layer and click Properties.
- You cannot export data from these three service layer to a local workspace.
Some service layers allow selection, some allow you to open their attribute table, and some support Identify (
Learn more about using service layers
ArcGIS Map service
ArcGIS Geocode service
You can add a Map service to ArcMap or ArcGlobe using the Add Data tool () 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
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.
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
- Show the ArcToolbox window by clicking the Show/Hide ArcToolbox tool ().
- In the ArcToolbox window, right-click the ArcToolbox entry in the tree and click Add Toolbox.
- Browse to the server and choose the toolbox.
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 output of the tool uses the map service to draw its results, and adds its results as a map service layer to ArcMap.
- The tool uses layers in the map service as input.
- The tool allows you to interactively digitize input features, and the map service gives you a background context for digitizing the features.
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.
- For example, the geoprocessing service may use the map service only to display results. It is up to the author of the geoprocessing service to document whether the map service is needed to run tools within the service.
- You can always use the map service independent of the geoprocessing service.
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:
ArcGIS Geodata service
- Click Add Data (), browse to the server, and add the map service.
- In the ArcToolbox window, right-click on the ArcToolbox entry and click Add Toolbox. Browse to the server and add the associated geoprocessing 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
ArcGIS Globe 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 (). 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.
You can add a globe service to ArcGlobe by click the Add Data tool (), browsing to an ArcGIS Server, and choosing a globe service ().
ArcIMS Feature service
Learn more about ArcGlobe and the 3D Analyst extension
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
- Add the Feature service (), in which case the layer will contain all features.
- Double-click the Feature service and add individual feature classes. An individual layer will be created for each feature class.
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:
- ArcIMS Image Service
- ArcIMS ArcMap Image Service
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.
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.
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.
You can browse to a metadata service using the Add Data tool (
) and choose a live service. The ArcIMS Image or Feature service referred by the metadata entry will be added to the table of contents.
A WMS service (Web Map Service) is a map service that you can view in ArcMap or ArcGlobe with the Add Data tool (). 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