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Map-A-Planet: Web Map Service (WMS)

Introduction to Map-A-Planet WMS

Map-A-Planet now has a WMS service, allowing access to all available data from a variety of desktop applications that support WMS. The Map-a-Planet WMS follows the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) specifications for WMS 1.1.1 (PDF) and WMS 1.3.0 (PDF). The service uses the MapMaker engine that also drives Map-a-Planet Explorer.

How to use the WMS

Accessing the Service

The Map-a-Planet WMS located at http://www.mapaplanet.org/explorer-bin/imageMaker.cgi? requires an additional parameter in the web address query string. The value 'map=[body]' (where "[body]" is the name of a planet or satellite, such as Mars or Europa) needs to be added in order to retrieve information and data from the service for a specific planet or satellite. The layer parameter indicates which data set will be retrieved. The service's GetCapabilities request lists and describes all the available data sets.

Below are a few examples of base web addresses for some of the bodies served by Map-a-Planet.

Image formats supported by the WMS include JPEG, TIFF, GIF, RAW, and PDS.


Like all WMS servers there are GetCapabilities and GetMap requests. Below are a few linked examples of GetCapabilities and GetMap requests for data served by Map-a-Planet.

Coordinate Reference Systems

The Map-a-Planet WMS was designed to support the planetary coordinate reference system parameter standards recommended by Trent Hare, et. al. (2006). This capability has not been thoroughly tested due to the current lack of support for the proposed standard among mapping applications. To allow the service to be usable by most WMS clients, the service supports the Earth WGS84 coordinate reference system (EPSG:4326).

Additional Functionality

Our GIS experts have asked for functionality for selecting only certain bands, or single bands from an image. So as per their requests the optional tag "bands" can be added to directly control the bands supplied by the WMS. The 'bands' tag is used by telling the server which bands you would lke seperated by commas (i.e. bands=1,2,3). If a single band is wanted as opposed to multiple bands only a single number is required (i.e. bands=2).


This WMS (version 1.1.1) has been tested using ESRI ArcMap 9.1, ArcGlobe 9.1, WMS Connect [tool for ArcMap 9.1]; NASA WorldWind; Global Mapper; Gaia 2; and Worldkit (an Adobe Flash viewer for web pages). At this time (September 2006) no applications supporting WMS 1.3.0 are available.


This live demo using the Map-a-Planet WMS uses Worldkit (Flash 8.0 or higher required).


This project was funded by the NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program. The development team for the Map-a-Planet WMS was Brian Peck (Programmer), Deborah Lee Soltesz (Project Lead), and Trent Hare (GIS and OGC Expert); Janet Barrett provided MapMaker support and Patty Garcia provided data set support for the project.


Hare, T., Archinal, B., Plesea, L., Dobinson, E., Curkendall, D., 2006. Standards Proposal to Support Planetary Coordinate Reference Systems in Open Geospatial Web Services and Geospatial Application LPI XXXVII 1931. (PDF)

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. 2006. Open GIS Web Map Server Implementation Specification, Version 1.3.0. OGC 06-042. (PDF)

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. 2004. OGC Web Map Service Interface, Version 1.3.0. OGC 03-109r1. (PDF)

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. 2002. Web Map Service Implementation Specification, Version 1.1.1. OGC 01-068r3. (PDF)