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Are you thinking of enabling your data using OGC web services?

Data sharing in the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) is based in part on Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards. The OGC develops and tests open geospatial standards, so when the OGC asked me for a list of some Canadian sites on Esri technology that provide services based on OGC standards, I was eager to find out myself. Have a look at this blog to get some background on CGDI/OGC standards and the results of my investigation.

Recently I was asked by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) for a list of some Canadian websites based on Esri technology that provide web services implemented in OGC standards. Well, this was an interesting request and a question that I had wondered about also, so I was happy to do an investigation and provide some results back to the OGC. Do you want to know what the results were?

Just to bring readers up to speed on this topic, the OGC is an international standards organization with more than 500 participating organizations worldwide that collaborate in a consensus process to develop and test open geospatial standards. Esri Canada is a member of the OGC Technical Committee and has contributed to the OGC standards process for many years. The GeoConnections project at Natural Resources Canada which governs the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) supports data interoperability through OGC standards.

Among the most popular OGC standards are the standards for exchanging geospatial data via web services. These standards include Web Map Service (WMS), Web Feature Service (WFS), Web Coverage Service (WCS), Web Map Tile Service (WMTS) and Web Processing Service (WPS).

Esri’s ArcGIS Server includes these OGC standards in its repertoire of available web services. Data publishers simply need to enable these OGC compliant interfaces when they publish a service. OGC services are not enabled by default.

ArcGIS Server supports the ArcGIS REST API by default, which allows users to work with web services they have published in either ArcGIS Server or ArcGIS Online. There are many types of layers and services such as Feature Services, Map Services, Geoprocessing Services and Image Services available through ArcGIS Server that will help users to publish and provide data.

One of the really nice features of ArcGIS Server is that users can easily and quickly determine what data and services are available at that site from the ArcGIS REST Services Directory. For example, Esri Canada has data and services available on an ArcGIS Server site. To determine what’s available at a site, users simply need to enter the URL of the services directory on their browser. For example, to access the Esri Canada services directory, users simply need to type into their browser as shown below.

The Esri Canada ArcGIS Server services directory is accessible at The ArcGIS REST Services Directory contains a list of the folders, services and supported interfaces as shown above.

Here's an example of some imagery data that is available as an OGC WMTS service (noted in red ellipse). Users can view this image in many different applications (noted in green ellipse) by clicking on the link.

Here’s an example of some geospatial data that is available as an OGC WMS service (noted in red ellipse). Users can copy the WMS link and paste it into their application that supports WMS (e.g. ArcGIS Pro).

ArcGIS server supports many OGC standards and the organization operating the server simply needs to enable them. Users can then access the URL for these OGC services and enter them into their application software.

Getting back to the OGC request for Canadian sites that provide OGC services using Esri technology, I was able to find 26 significant websites in Canada that provided OGC web services in less than an hour. To share an example, one of the sites was a Government of Canada site which provided 448 datasets in WMS format and 105 datasets in WFS format on their open government portal.

Are you enabling your data as OGC web services as well? Share your comments below.

About the Author

Gordon Plunkett is the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Director at Esri Canada. He has more than 30 years of experience in GIS and Remote Sensing in both the public and private sectors. He currently sits as a member of the Community Map of Canada Steering Committee, GeoAlliance Canada Interim Board of Directors, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Technical Committee, the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) Committee on Geomatics, the University of Laval Convergence Network Advisory Committee and the Advisory Board to the Carleton University Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre. During his career, Gordon has worked on projects in more than 20 countries and has contributed to numerous scientific conferences and publications. At Esri Canada, he is responsible for developing and supporting the company’s SDI vision, initiatives and outreach, including producing content for the SDI blog.

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