WMS is often maligned as being a bloated and difficult to use standard, but there has been a ton excellent data published using it. We thought this was a great opportunity to do our part to make WMS a bit more accessible to the masses through GeoCommons. Figured, while we were at it, would be cool to also give users the ability to register map tiles as well.

Accessing WMS and map tiles is definitely nothing new, but previously it required a good bit of patience with GIS applications to get WMS working, or you needed to be able to write code to work with map tiles. Now you can just plug the URL for a WMS of map tile set in GeoCommons and start mapping.

Cut and paste your URL, pick the feed type, and you are good to go

We’ve already had a good number of WMS and map tiles uploaded to GeoCommons by users. One of my favorite things lately has been combining WMS or map tiles with Acetate. Since Acetate allows you to break out roads and place names from the base map you can sandwich imagery between the two, and create your own satellite hybrid mode. Check out this example in Khartoum, Sudan – fusing a Landsat WMS + OSM roads + GeoNames.

#maker_map_47765 {width: 100%; height: 400px;}

View full map

maker_map_47765 = new F1.Maker.Map({map_id: “47765″, dom_id: “maker_map_47765″,uiLayers:false});
Now anyone can make their own satellite hybrid layer. For things like disaster response I think this could be huge. Bring in the latest imagery as WMS or a tile set after a disaster, and then add the updating OSM road network on top of it. Then you could layer in dynamic feeds like Ushahidi, along with traditional spatial data like demographics and land use. Just one area of many where I think more democratic access to imagery and other raster layers can be beneficial.


4 Responses to Making WMS and Map Tiles Fun and Accessible!

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by geocommons and SeanGorman, FortiusOne. FortiusOne said: "Making WMS and Map Tiles Fun and Accessible!" New blog post by @SeanGorman on how to do this in @GeoCommons http://ow.ly/3Lu55 [...]

  2. Steve says:

    A very good post, it is deferentially huge, it will make things much easier.

  3. [...] week has seen the unveiling of a new feature from within GeoCommons.com - support for adding WMS and Tile layers! In this post I will guide you though what they mean, how you can play with them, and how you can [...]

  4. [...] The ability to add WMS servers as data layers [...]