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Using MnGeo's Imagery WMS in ArcGIS Online

ArcGIS Online (AGOL) is a popular subscription-based web mapping platform. MnGeo’s WMS Imagery can be added to an AGOL map using these instructions.

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Map”
  3. Click "Modify Map" in the upper right
  4. Click “Add” and “Add Layer from Web”
  5. Under “What type of data…”, choose “A WMS OGC Web Service”
  6. Turn on the Checkbox “Use as a Basemap”
  7. In the URL, enter one of the following (yes, the question mark is part of the URL):
    • For our Geospatial Image Service with a large list of layers:
      • Click “Get Layers” to see a list of layers and choose which one(s) you want (the top checkbox will toggle all layers on/off if desired). For the most recent layers, look at the bottom of the list.
      • If you don’t choose anything, you’ll get all layers and will have to toggle them to see them. Depending on your area of interest, statewide layers will likely work better as a “basemap”.
    • For our “composite” service, which automatically switches layers for you based on extent and scale:
  8. Click “Add Layer”
  9. This will automatically add the WMS layer under the “Basemap layer”, which is likely named “Topographic” if you started with the default map. To avoid confusion, rename that layer to something else using the ellipsis (three dots in a row). You may wish to do the same with the WMS layer.
  10. Save your map if desired. Warning: choosing one of Esri’s basemaps will change your coordinate system and lose the imagery until you make the image service your basemap.

If you want to have a reference layer to help you navigate around the map, there are several options. While most are not ideal for a “production map”, they are at least useful in helping orient yourself. Here are three examples:

  1. Click “Add” and “Add Layer from Web”
  2. Under “What type of data…”, choose “An ArcGIS Server Web Service”
  3. For the URL, paste in the following:
  4. Click “Add Layer”


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