OGC support in ArcGIS Server

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC), Web services provide a way that you can make your maps and data available in an open, internationally recognized format over the Web. OGC has defined specifications for making maps and data available on the Web to anyone with a supported client application. All developers are free to use the OGC specifications to create these supported clients. In some cases, the client can be as simple as a Web browser. In other cases, it can be a rich client such as ArcMap.

OGC publishing capabilities in ArcGIS Server

OGC has defined different types of services for serving different kinds of data and maps. ArcGIS Server allows you to publish three types of OGC services:

You publish these services by enabling capabilities on certain types of ArcGIS Server services. When you create the service, you must explicitly enable the OGC capabilities. The capabilities are not enabled by default.

The table below shows which service types can expose OGC capabilities.




Map services (either MXD or MSD based)




Geodata services



Image services



Consuming OGC services

In addition to publishing services, you can use ArcGIS to consume existing OGC services from both inside and outside your organization. For example, the Web Application Developer Framework (ADF) included with ArcGIS Server allows you to build out-of-the-box Web mapping applications that consume WMS services. Additionally, ArcMap, ArcGlobe, and ArcGIS Explorer support the visualization and query of OGC services.

Metadata and portals

Once you've published your OGC services, you might want to organize them in a catalog so others can see what's available on your server. You can use ArcIMS Metadata Services to publish this type of catalog. These metadata services can be built to comply with one of several recognized standards for cataloging and retrieving data. Supported standards include Z39.50 (from the International Organization for Standardization), CSW with support for both the eb-RIM and ISO profiles (from OGC), and the OAI-PMH standard for metadata harvesting (from the Open Archives Initiative).

OGC services are frequently used in spatial data infrastructures (SDIs). An SDI provides users with a common way to find, evaluate, download, and use data. You can use the ArcGIS Server Geoportal extension (formerly the GIS Portal Toolkit) from ESRI to design and build an SDI at a local, state, country, or even global level.

Securing OGC services

OGC services are secured by managing the security of their parent services. For example, when you deny a certain role access to a map service, a user in that role will not be able to access the map service through SOAP, Representational State Transfer (REST), or any OGC interfaces (WMS, WFS, or WCS).

ArcGIS Server supports a number of different authentication schemes. Services that are expected to be accessed via OGC interfaces should be secured using HTTP Basic, HTTP Digest, or Integrated Windows Authentication. Most OGC clients (both non-ESRI as well as ESRI clients) will understand and work with these widespread standard authentication schemes.

Further reading

The links below contain more information about working with OGC services in ArcGIS Server:

For additional discussion of OGC support in ArcGIS, see the following: