Web Map Tile Service

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Developed by OGC
Type of format Container format
Container for XML, JPEG, PNG, others
Open format? Yes, with Copyright[1]

A Web Map Tile Service (WMTS) is a standard protocol for serving pre-rendered georeferenced map tiles over the Internet. The specification was developed and first published by the Open Geospatial Consortium in 2010.[2]


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".[3] The oldest and most popular standard for web mapping is WMS. However, the properties of this standard proved to be difficult to implement for situations where short response times were important. For most WMS services it is not uncommon to require 1 or more CPU seconds to produce a response. For massive parallel use cases, such a CPU-intensive service is not practical. To overcome the CPU intensive on-the-fly rendering problem, application developers started using pre-rendered map tiles. Several open and proprietary schemes were invented to organize and address these map tiles. An earlier specification for this is the Tile Map Service (TMS). It is simpler than WMTS. It was developed by members of the OSGeo and is not backed by an official standards body.


WMTS specifies a number of request encodings:

The syntax for the WMTS request types is different for each of these encodings. Some request types are:

  • Capabilities: returns information about the WMTS service parameters
  • Tile: returns a map tile
  • FeatureInfo: returns (alphanumeric) information for a given map location
  • Legend: returns a legend image for the map

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "OGC Document Notice". Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "OpenGIS® Web Map Tile Service Implementation Standard". Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Doyle, Allan (1997). "WWW Mapping Framework". Open GIS Consortium. 

External links[edit]