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

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 TIGER 2011.

OSM WMS Servers

Name Free Updated Coverage Style Layers (roads, buildings, etc) Native support
for local projections
Geofabrik no minutely World Mapnik default
custom styles
The Hug no monthly GB, EI loosely based on Ordnance Survey
HistOSM yes weekly only historic objects
irs.gis-lab.info yes World Mapnik default
satellite images
IT-Consult Halle noncommercial only daily DE, CH, AT custom style yes yes
magOSM yes daily FR custom style yes yes
mundialis yes weekly World custom style
Omniscale No, free trials minutely World custom style yes yes
terrestris yes weekly World custom style
MapTiler Cloud noncommercial only weekly World custom style yes
WhereGroup only basic edition Europe custom style
WORLD OSM WMS yes weekly World custom style
Geoportal yes weekly PL custom style

Server software

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:

See also