Connecting to a WMS

In this tutorial, all the necessary steps for connecting Plex.Earth to a WMS are presented. Then, imagery import will be possible into our AutoCAD project.

Step 1: Open the Map Explorer window

To open the Map Explorer window, simply go to the Plex.Earth 4 ribbon:

- Select "Import Imagery"

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- Select "Map Explorer" as the provider

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- Click to Open Map Explorer

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Step 2: Create a new Map Layer

Once you open the Map Explorer, there will be a background map, to serve as the backdrop to the new WMS layer we will create.

Click on the "+" at the bottom.

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Step 3: Setup your new Map Layer

On the dialogue that appears, you will be able to choose the Map Type (Provider) you will be creating, which in this case will be a WMS.

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- Type/paste a name and a description for each layer (in this example FEMA - National Flood Hazard Layer).

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Step 4: Copy the URL of your selected WMS 

Plex.Earth will now prompt you to add a WMS server. All you need to do is copy the URL address of your preferred WMS and paste it to the text box provided. In this example, we are going to use FEMA's National Flood Hazard Layer WMS URL, which can be found in the following link, by scrolling down:

https://hazards.fema.gov/femaportal/wps/portal/NFHLWMS/

 

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If you wish to try out this WMS, simply copy and paste the following URL, which is specific for FEMA's NFHL WMS Server:

https://hazards.fema.gov/gis/nfhl/services/public/NFHLWMS/MapServer/WMSServer

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Step 5: Manage your WMS Data Source (layer selection)

Once you have copied the WMS URL, you will be able to manage certain aspects of it.

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Most importantly, these will be the layers of the WMS you wish to view, or put more simply the information you want to see.

WMS's may contain numerous layers for you to view. It's up to the user to select the desired content of the resulting map.

In this example, we will select the "Flood Hazard Zones", "Flood Hazard Boundaries" and "NFHL Availability" layers

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Step 6: Select the Image Format for the WMS

WMS layers are usually non-transparent, thus obscuring the view of the background Map.

Make sure that a /png format is selected. 

If not, then change the Image Format to /png manually. This is essential, as /png formats alone offer the transparency attributes.

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Step 7: Personalize your WMS Layer

Once you have closed the management of your Data Source, you can of course continue to customize your WMS Layer, for example by adding a personal thumbnail for the layer.

This Layer, will be stored for future use, so you might as well set it up to suit your preferences.

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- Click "CREATE".

Step 8: Create the WMS Layer

Once you've completed the creation of your Map Layer, the resulting image in your Map Explorer window, after zooming, should look like this:

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Then, you can close the Map Explorer and now you can easily use any image importing feature of Plex.Earth 4, to go ahead and import imagery from the WMS to your AutoCAD project. 

Conclusions: 

With thousands of Web Map Services available through Open Data sources, containing valuable information for companies and professionals, Plex.Earth 4 offers the capability to view them within AutoCAD, and even import them for further editing and usability.

 

Note 1: 

Don't be alarmed if the WMS layers you have selected are not showing straight away. Certain layers appear only when you have reached a specific zoom. 

For example, in the FEMA NFHL WMS we just covered, the "Flood Hazard Zones" layer is only available when the zoom (Max Scale Denominator) is set to 1:47247.023810 or lower. 

If we had selected only this layer, we wouldn't have been able to view it, unless we zoomed to an acceptable scale value.

Note 2: 

It is generally advisable, especially if the WMS is not working properly (see Note 1), that you look into the capabilities file for information about the WMS and its parameters.

Often, the capabilities file can be found in the location from which you obtained the WMS Server URL.

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Note 3: 

Note that you can add multiple map layers in the Map Explorer. Layers higher in the list will appear on top of those under them. You can rearrange layers by holding the "move" icon and dragging them in place and also selected ones by using the "show/hide" icon.

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