Testing your Web Services using Non-Proprietary GIS Software (uDig)

Testing your Web Services using Non-Proprietary GIS Software (uDig)

Geologic Map View in uDig

I’ve found that an important part of web service deployment is testing the WMS and WFS capabilities once the service is up and running.  In the beginning, most of the testing I performed was using the proprietary GIS Software distributed by ESRI (ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcGIS Server). 

I was introduced to uDig a few months ago and was very surprised to learn that uDig has both WMS and WFS capabilities out of the box, with no configuration necessary.  This is in contrast to the ESRI interoperability extension in ArcCatalog for WFS connections which can be purchased by the ArcGIS Desktop user for $2500 USD.  uDig can be downloaded free of charge via the World Wide Web at http://udig.refractions.net.

Adding a WMS in uDig

Open uDig

In your internet browser, navigate to the rest page and access the WMS or WFS capabilities for your service.

uDig supports drag and drop so you may either copy everything left of the question mark in the URL for the WMS (or WFS) in the address box in your browser, or drag and drop the WFS icon into uDig.

WMS URL screenshot, browser 

In uDig, open a new map.

uDig Interface

In the toolbar, select Layer > Add…

From the dialog window, select “Web Map Server” and click “Next”.

Add Data screenshot

In the Add Data window, uDig asks you to “Enter a URL that points to a Web Map Server’s GetCapabilities document”.  Paste the URL you copied from your browser into the box and click “Next”.

Add Data (Web Map Server) URL

A “Resource Selection” window opens.  Select all layers you wish to test by checking the box next to each layer.  Click “Finish”

The layers should now be visible in the “Layers” tab on the left side of the uDig interface.  This environment is a good place to check rendering times, projections, SLD portrayals (if using GeoServer), and functionality of the WMS.