WMS Service Mining

Services such as Jeremy’s mapdex has certainly raised the profile or rather, the ease of use in finding geospatial web services. Although limited to picking up ArcIMS at the moment, i eagerley await his next installment of WMS service support *hint hint*.

In the mean time, i had a query from a collegue about how to go about finding some open WMS services so he could test out one of his apps. While CS-W (Catalogue Services – Web) is brewing away in the never never, lets use Mr Google,

http://www.google.com/search?q=allinurl:+”Request=getcapabilities”

12,100 results. A good enough start. Although be weary that pagerank doesnt really help us,

  1. in determining the more “popular” services
  2. if the service is still alive
  3. if the service is even supposed to be public

I’d highly advise contacting the owner before using any servers in a non-test environment :)
Lets narrow it down to country,

(Aus) http://www.google.com/search?q=allinurl:+”Request=getcapabilities”&meta=cr=countryAU

  • 30 results. Ouch

(US) http://www.google.com/search?q=allinurl:+”Request=getcapabilities”&meta=cr=countryUS

  • 980 results … better

(UK) http://www.google.com/search?q=allinurl:+”Request=getcapabilities”&meta=cr=countryUK

  • 16 results. Surprising.

Sure it’s hit and miss but at least it gives you somewhere to start. Who knows, you might even find a service which is documented and actually has metadata!

Skylab Mobilesystems has a rather large list available which was collected using their “WMS-Crawler”. No idea on how it actually collects the servers, but i suspect its much the same as what we use with google.

If there are further resources on public services, please leave a comment for others to use.

It raises an interesting point on WMS security though. Mapdex honours any ACL restrictions on ArcIMS services … but with no such alternative for most WMS apps, anyone who visits a getCapabilities document and then visits google is potentially opening up the server to the googlebot crawler.

I guess if you’re really that worried, you should look into adding your WMS applications to your robots.txt, or using some rewrite rule to deny access to identified crawlers.

Interesting point none the less.

4 thoughts on “WMS Service Mining”

  1. Hi!

    I really miss a united wms-catalogue service, this site is really a big step in the right direction.

    Could anyone please tell me if there exist a WMS supplied with topographic maps for the Serengeti area in Tanzania, Africa?

    Best regards Frank

  2. UK: 16 results. Surprising.

    not for european people. I could add
    FR: 2 results found.

    geographic data is hold on strong copyrights in most countries of europe. It goes totally against the WMS idea. 2-3 years ago, You talked about WMS to them, they think its like giving banknotes to hobos, sorta cool-smoker-of-the-seventies anarchist foolish idea. I’ve read official statements that releasing freely geo data will go against the security of this data, followed by a page-full of reasons and explanation why the data must be provided rarely at most.

    Nowadays, things are getting rocked a bit, though. thx to google and worldwind.
    Needless to say this data is produced the same way as USGS and so. public funds. I am sued for 10 000 EUR for having displayed small frames of topographic data. _public_ administration of my own state is at the begininng of this.
    in fact, geo data is related to DVD pirating and such. Taxes are a good thing. but mine obviously don’t go to Universal and Walt Disney.

    So a search for WMS on european land is a difficult one.
    The best sources for europe coverage are US data.

    loads of interesting topics on your blog. keep on.

    jean marc

  3. I’ve put together a visual catalog of WMS sites at http://wms-sites.com. If you know of a site that is not listed there, drop it in the suggestion box.

    I’ll be adding a geographic search interface soon. Until then, you have to rely on metadata supplied by the providers.

    I’m working out a number of issues as more sites get added. When it’s all running smoothly, I’ll hook up an automated mining process.

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