How to manually add a WMS layer via url
    • 01 Aug 2022
    • 4 Minutes to read
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    How to manually add a WMS layer via url

    • Dark

    Article Summary

    This method requires the url for the website providing the WMS data (there are various free sources of data available that an internet search should yield). A preferred approach is therefore to instead Add a WMS layer using the predefined layers in Flood Modeller.

    To manually add a WMS layer via a url:

    1. Start Flood Modeller and either load an existing project that you want to work on or define a new project.

    2. In order to utilise a WMS layer you require the URL for the website providing the data (there are various free sources of data available that an internet search should yield).

    3. Once you know the URL for a WMS you need to set up a WMS layer to display these data on your map. Access the New GIS data button and select the WMS Layer option.


    4. A new window is displayed. Select the New button to start defining your WMS layer details. Enter the WMS URL in the space provided (plus any associated username and password if they are required). Give you layer a name, so you will recognise the data source later.


    5. With a WMS URL address defined and highlighted in the WMS server table, click OK to proceed to generate a WMS layer in your map view. This will have all associated layers (applying to all zoom levels) embedded within it, so all of these data will be available in your map. However, in some cases this will be more data than is required and loading all layers will lead to slower performance (as you zoom and pan around your map and the data needs to refresh each time from the host web server).

      Therefore you have the option to only select a subset of layers available from the WMS server to add to your map (or even just one). To view the available layers click the Validate button. The layers will be listed in the Layers panel as shown below. Select layers by clicking in the adjacent box (so it is ticked). The details of the highlighted layer are displayed to the right of the panel.


      Flood Modeller provides a save button on the WMS layer definition window. This allows you to save the WMS web server reference (or multiple references) that you have defined in the interface to a standalone file (xml format). This can then be imported into other projects or distributed to other users. The interface also provides a load button that enables you to browse to a saved WMS reference file. Note that when a WMS xml file is loaded in it will only populate the upper table in the above interface with WMS URLs. You are still required to select which to utilise and then which layers within this to select for the WMS layer to be added to your map.

    6. When you have defined your subset of layers, click the OK button. A new WMS layer will be created in your map view. This will include all data layers selected in the previous step. The 1D networks in your project will always be displayed on top of this layer, but the WMS layer will be added above other GIS layers already displayed in your map. You can drag the WMS up and down the layer order (to the left of the map) to move it above or below other layers.


    7. It is not possible to switch individual layers within a WMS off and on within your map view. Therefore if you require this functionality you will need to create multiple WMS layer files in your map, with each one referencing a different layer from the WMS server.

    8. Once you have added your GIS data to your map view you can “move around” the view using the standard map tools provided:

      • Zoom in – Click toolbar button to activate and then drag a rectangle on the map to define the area you want to zoom to. Click the button a second time to deactivate the zoom function.

      • Zoom out – Click toolbar button to activate and then click on map to zoom out a fixed amount. Click the button a second time to deactivate the zoom function.

      • Zoom to extent of selected layer – right-click on a model network in the project view or on any layer in the Layers panel and select the zoom to option from the displayed menu.

      • Zoom to full extent – toolbar button that sets zoom level to show all layers currently loaded in map.

      • Fixed zoom in / out – on map “+” and “-“ buttons that zoom in or out a fixed amount (centred on the current view centre)

      • Pan – Click on toolbar button, on map button or right-click on map and select Pan from displayed menu. The mouse cursor will change to the pan icon. You can then move about the map by dragging the mouse with the left click button depressed. Select the pan function again (from any location) to deactivate function.

    9. If you double-click on the layer in the Layers window (or right-click on it and select Properties from the displayed menu) then you can access the WMS layer properties window. This enables you to edit the following key settings to affect how the WMS data are displayed:

      • Transparency – you can vary the opacity of the layer from 0 to 100% (fully transparent, i.e. not visible in the map)

      • Refresh timeout – you can set a maximum time that Flood Modeller will try to access the web server to update the WMS map view. After this time Flood Modeller will stop trying to access the internet and return control to you (the interface is locked while the map is updating). This is useful if your internet connection is unreliable. The default setting is 60 seconds.

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