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Home > How to use a OneGeology service > How data from a WMS can be viewed and accessed

1.4 How data from a WMS can be viewed and accessed

This section shows how you may access any WMS service (not only those WMS accessible through the OneGeology Portal client) in a number of popular desktop software clients and web based browser applications.

Generally, (we will run through this again per each piece of software or application), to view any WMS you must provide the client software or web application with the URL to the service. This may be referred to as the ‘Service URL’ or the ‘GetCapabilities request’ URL or (XML) document, or a combination of these terms!

Normally, you would use the URL without any parameters, as it is up to the client software and WMS server to work out which version of the WMS standard both can use. Sometimes though you may wish to force a particular version or response, (for example when your service supports a version 1.3.0 WMS, but you want to test your version 1.1.1 WMS before you submit it for inclusion in the OneGeology Portal), and you do this by supplying the appropriate parameters (as below) either in the Service URL or in a form whilst setting up your client.




  • 1.0.0
  • 1.1.0
  • 1.1.1 (version also supported by the OneGeology portal)
  • 1.3.0 (version required by the OneGeology portal)

Note that according to the WMS specifications the case of the parameter value is important, so it should be WMS and GetCapabilities above, and not, for example, something like Wms or wms, or GETCAPABILITIES or getcapabilities etc. In reality it usually doesn't make a difference, but if your request doesn't work you should check first you have the correct spelling.

To view the response (XML document) to a GetCapabilities request in a web browser, you must supply at least the ‘service’ and ‘request’ parameters. If you wish to see the response for a particular version you must also supply the ‘version’ parameter, otherwise you will get the response of the highest version supported by the server. Note if you request a version not supported by the WMS server, you will get the next lower service supported.

See the WMS Coobook appendices G for the version 1.1.1. and F for the version 1.3.0 WMS GetCapabilities XML response documents created by the BGS shapefile exemplar service.

Section last modified: 4 Jan 2016

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