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WMS stands for Web Map Service. It's an OGC standard for serving up map images over HTTP. See wikipedia:Web Map Service

Client Setup

Using WMS in JOSM

  • The JOSM editor can load images and maps from WMS servers as background. See JOSM Imagery help for details.

Using WMS in Merkaartor

  • The Merkaartor editor can load WMS data as background. Use Tools -> WMS Servers Editor..., then right click on a layer -> WMS adapter

Public WMS Servers

Aerial Imagery

See the Aerial imagery page for a list of aerial imagery WMS sources.

SRTM contours

See the SRTM and Contours pages for details.


See TIGER 2011

OSM WMS Servers

Name Free Updated Coverage Style sep. Layers
GDV cityMap No
Geofabrik No minutly world Mapnik default
custom styles
HistOSM Yes weekly custom style
irs.gis-lab.info Yes default + others
IT-Consult Halle noncommercial only daily DE
Omniscale No minutely world custom style Yes
terrestris Yes weekly world custom style
WhereGroup only basic edition DE Yes
WORLD OSM WMS Yes weekly world custom style

Server Software

  • GeoServer is an open source software server written in Java that allows users to share and edit geospatial data. Implements WMS, WFS, WCS, TMS, WTMS, includes embedded GeoWebcache for caching. Supports [PostGIS] databases as a data source so osm2pgsql can be used to setup a database with OSM data.
  • MapProxy (mapproxy.org) can be used as a proxy/cache for the open streetmap tiles, and serve that data using the WMS, WMTS, TMS, and KML ogc standards. See Mappproxy setup for a OSM specific instructions.
  • Mapnik includes a component called ogcserver which is a Python-based WMS server.
  • mod_mapnik_wms is an apache module for building a Mapnik based WMS server.
  • You can also use Map Warper as a tool to create WMS layers for use in JOSM

Tiles vs. WMS

There are good reasons for using tiles (mainly speed) and good reasons for using WMS (mainly flexibility).

Some software to help you move between those worlds:

  • Tirex has a WMS backend, so accesses to tiles can be converted into accesses to WMS

See also