Not Just a Pretty Face: WMS Servers as Basemaps

If you have an internet connection, you can add a dynamic Web Map Service (WMS) server to your session to enhance data display or help in locating sites. In order to do so, you need to enter the WMS address or URL. A Google search will return countless free WMS servers developed by national organizations and users in the GIS community.

One of the most useful I’ve found for coastal areas in Greece is hosted by Ktimatologio, the organization responsible for maintaining information on real estate in Greece. This basemap is in the WGS 1984 geographic coordinate system, but you can add it to a session that is in a projected system if you want to work in meters instead. Keep in mind that resolution varies throughout the country.

Mycenaean and Modern Argos - imagery courtesy Ktimatologio

Mycenaean and Modern Argos – imagery courtesy Ktimatologio

  1. Add Data
  2. GIS Servers (select from dropdown menu)
  3. Add WMS Server

When WMS layers are turned on, they can significantly slow down your session, so it’s best to turn them off when panning or zooming, then turn them back on for display.

When it comes time to exporting images, keep in mind that each server has specific limits regarding the resolution of images it can deliver. If the output dpi is set above this limit, the exported image may be blank.  I have had success exporting Ktimatologio imagery at 150 dpi, but not 200.


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