Web Map Service
|Type of format||Container format|
|Container for||XML, JPEG, PNG, others|
|Open format?||Yes, with Copyright|
A Web Map Service (WMS) is a standard protocol for serving georeferenced map images over the Internet that are generated by a map server using data from a GIS database. The specification was developed and first published by the Open Geospatial Consortium in 1999.
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) became involved in developing standards for web mapping after a paper was published in 1997 by Allan Doyle, outlining a "WWW Mapping Framework". The OGC established a task force to come up with a strategy, and organized the "Web Mapping Testbed" initiative, inviting pilot web mapping projects that built upon ideas by Doyle and the OGC task force. Results of the pilot projects were demonstrated in September 1999, and a second phase of pilot projects ended in April 2000.
The Open Geospatial Consortium released WMS version 1.0.0 in April 2000, followed by version 1.1.0 in June 2001, and version 1.1.1 in January 2002. The OGC released WMS version 1.3.0 in January 2004.
WMS specifies a number of different request types, two of which are required by any WMS server:
- GetCapabilities - returns parameters about the WMS (such as map image format and WMS version compatibility) and the available layers (map bounding box, coordinate reference systems, URI of the data and whether the layer is mostly opaque or not)
- GetMap - returns a map image. Parameters include: width and height of the map, coordinate reference system, rendering style, image format
Request types that WMS providers may optionally support include:
- GetFeatureInfo - if a layer is marked as 'queryable' then you can request data about a coordinate of the map image.
- GetLegendGraphic - return an image of the map's legend image, giving a visual guide to map elements
Map image 
Proprietary server software that allow providing web map services include:
- ObjectFX Web Mapping Tools
- ArcGIS Server
- VT MAK's VR-TheWorld
- Envinsa from Pitney Bowes Business Insights
- GeoWebPublisher from Bentley Systems
- GeognoSIS from Cadcorp
- Oracle MapViewer
- LizardTech's Express Server
- SIAS (Smallworld Internet Application Server) from GE Energy
- Autodesk's Infrastructure Map Server
- ERDAS, Inc's APOLLO Suite of products
Open source standalone (client side) software that allow viewing web map services include:
Proprietary standalone (client side) software that allow viewing web map services include:
- CompeGPS Land
WMS is a widely supported format for maps and GIS data accessed via the Internet and loaded into client side GIS software. Major commercial GIS and mapping software that support WMS include GeoBase (Telogis GIS software), MATLAB and Mapping Toolbox, Netwin, Autodesk's Map 3D and Civil 3D products, Bentley Systems's GIS products, ESRI's ArcGIS products, the Maptitude Mapping Software, Cadcorp SIS product suite, MapInfo Professional, GeoMedia, Global Mapper, Manifold System, PYXIS WorldView and Visual Crossing. Open source software that supports WMS include Quantum GIS, uDig, OpenJUMP, MapGuide Open Source, NASA World Wind, GRASS GIS, JOSM, and gvSIG. OpenLayers, GE Energy's SIAS, an Ajax library, supports WMS for integrating WMS maps into web pages, as does Mapbender.
Vertical search engines focused on WMS services 
- MapMatters: WMS services catalog
- Looking for Maps: WMS and KML search engine - in spanish-
- Geopole: WMS service repository (no updates since 2011)
See also 
- Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)
- Web Coverage Service (WCS)
- Web Feature Service (WFS)
- Tile Map Service, a specification by Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) for tiled map layers
- "OGC Document Notice". Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "Web Map Service". Open Geospatial Consortium. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
- Scharl, Arno; Klaus Tochtermann (2007). The Geospatial Web: How Geobrowsers, Social Software and the Web 2.0 are Shaping the Network Society. Springer. p. 225. ISBN 1-84628-826-6.
- Doyle, Allan (1997). WWW Mapping Framework. Open GIS Consortium.
- Cuthbert, A. (1998). User Interaction with Geospatial Data. Open GIS Consortium.
- Peng, Zhong-Ren; Ming-Hsiang Tsou (2003). Internet GIS. John Wiley and Sons. p. 191.
- "OpenGIS Web Map Server Interface Implementation Specification (Revision 1.0.0)". Open Geospatial Consortium. 2000-04-19. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- "Web Map Service Implementation Specification Version 1.1.0". Open Geospatial Consortium. 2001-06-21. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- "Web Map Service Implementation Specification - Version 1.1.1". Open Geospatial Consortium. 2002-01-16. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- "Web Map Service Implementation Specification - Version 1.3.0". Open Geospatial Consortium. 2004-01-20. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
- "WMS Server". Mapserver. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- "PYXIS WorldView GeoWeb Browser".
- "Visual Crossing".
- "Geoserver - Clients". OpenGeo. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
- OpenGIS Web Map Service (WMS) Implementation Specification, Version 1.3.0, 2006-Mar-15, 06-042
- WMS directory with map views and RSS-feed
- WMS directory with monitoring of WMS performance and availability