Using ArcGIS Server map services

ArcGIS map services serve ArcMap map documents as Web-based map services and can be used in ArcMap (as well as in ArcGlobe) as map layers. Following are some common tasks for working with ArcGIS map service layers.

ArcGIS service layers in the table of contents

ArcGIS map service layers are added to the table of contents as composite layers. You can expand a map service layer to see its sublayers.

A map service layer added from ArcGIS Server

However, you cannot add or remove sublayers in the map service in the table of contents.

Since the service is based on an ArcMap document, you will see the layer organization in the source map document.

A view of an ArcGIS map service in the table of contents

In the example above, note the line connecting the sublayers together. This line prohibits you from inserting a layer within this composite service layer or breaking apart the service layer into its constituent sublayers.

Map service layer shortcut menu

You can access and perform a series of tasks by right-clicking a map service layer to display its shortcut menu.

Map service layer shortcut menu

The Layer Properties dialog box for map service layers

As with other layers, you use the Layer Properties dialog box to view and change the properties of ArcGIS map service layers. Right-click the layer name in the table of contents and select Properties on the shortcut menu.

The Layer Properties dialog box for an ArcGIS map service

The Source tab

The service layer properties Source tab displays information such as the map extent, data (service) type, server name or URL, operations allowed/service restrictions, and the native coordinate system of the service.

ArcGIS map service Data source

The Layers tab

The Layers tab displays the list of sublayers in the map service. It also provides information about the scale ranges of the sublayers (if they differ) and which sublayers have labels that can be toggled on and off.

ArcGIS map service Layers tab

Use the Visibility column to turn the visibility for sublayers on and off.

The Advanced tab

Use the Advanced tab to control

The Advanced tab on the Properties dialog box for ArcGIS map service layers

Setting layer transparency

Adding transparency allows you to see map features that lie underneath the layer. This adds information to your map and can add depth to your cartography. You can only add transparency to the entire service layer—not to sublayers.

Setting a color to be transparent

You can also set a specific color in the service as transparent. The following graphic shows an ArcGIS map service. Since no transparency has been applied, you cannot see any layers underneath the states.

Image service symbolized without transparency

In the next graphic, the yellow used as the fill color (above) for the states is made the transparent color. The gray outlines are retained for each state, but you can now see the relief underneath the states layer.

Image service where yellow is the transparent color

The Eye Dropper tool Eye Dropper tool can be used to click a color in your map display and determine its RGB values. Then, you can use the RGB values to set the color to transparent. You can add the Eye Dropper tool to any ArcMap toolbar from the Page Layout category on the Commands tab on the Customize dialog box.

Open the Customize dialog box by clicking Customize > Customize Mode on the main ArcMap menu.

All image-based services have a background. The background is any part of the image layer in which no map features are drawn. If the image type received from the server supports transparency, ArcMap, by default, makes the background transparent. A transparent background is particularly useful for using the layer in mashups (such as for point and line service layers).

Changing the service's image format

Many ArcGIS map services can be served in a selected image format. By default, ArcMap requests images in

  • PNG32 for optimized map services
  • PNG24 for standard map services

These formats return a high-quality image and support transparency. However, their data size can be much larger than other formats. You can use smaller-sized formats, such as JPEG. However, layer transparency is not supported for JPEG. To choose an available image format, use the Layer Image Format drop-down menu. This drop-down menu will display the format options supported by the service.

Working with the Time tab

If the service supports time, you will see a Time tab on the Layer Properties dialog box. You can step through your data in time and see the patterns or trends.

For more information on working with time, see About visualizing temporal data.

Working with sublayers

You can work with sublayers in an ArcGIS map service. Right-click the sublayer in the table of contents and select the desired operation from the shortcut menu.

The shortcut menu for map service sublayers

For example, for map service layers that enable labeling, you can turn labeling on and off for sublayers.

Saving a service layer

When you save the ArcMap document containing a GIS service layer or a layer file, the GIS service connection information and the state of the GIS service layer are saved as part of your map document. When you reopen the map, ArcMap automatically reconnects to the server and sends an appropriate request based on the initial spatial reference, map extent, and the saved state of your map layers. For example, if you turned off the visibility for a particular server layer (or its sublayers) and saved the map, the layer will remain turned off the next time you open the map.

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