Digital Geography

12. April 2016

A not complete list of WFS/WMS Catalogs

I am more the offline data user but when it comes to the question “Where can I get my data from?”, Web Feature Services (WFS) are a great way to share your data with others. So where to find your WFS data? What catalogs are there? Follow me an find out. I will try a search for WFS services with the keyword “Nigeria” and the spatial extent of the country. So let us start with it.

Spatineo

Spatineo is a Finnish company and they
offer easy-to-use SaaS products for improving the use and usability of spatial web service technologies for both public and commercial uses.
But probably one of the coolest things is their directory:

Directory map of Spatineo

The catalog returned 60 results for my keyword “Nigeria”. Each result has a seperate page with further information of the service. Take a special look on the “Service health” as it shows you, how reliable the service is offered. Unfortunately no real “spatial” search is offered. You can limit your search results by countries which is a different approach. Furthermore they offer a so called service map which shows services and their quality:

servicemap by Spatineo for Europe

GeoNetwork

GeoNetwork is a catalog application to manage spatially referenced resources. It provides powerful metadata editing and search functions as well as an interactive web map viewer.
Actually GeoNetwork is not a catalog but more a tool with a catalog inside. You need to download and install it (via GitHub, yeah!). As it is programmed in JAVA (make sure to use Maven for the line mvn clean install it will probably work on all major OS. Yet it is not a one-click installer and I had several issues installing it (make sure to have JDK installed and a lot of coffee available as about a trillion files will be downloaded and the whole process took me two days!…).

Once it was installed you can use the application not only to search and discover WFS/WMS but also to manage those services by adding your own services, use keywords and harvest meta data.
Harvesting is the process of ingesting metadata from remote sources and storing it locally in the catalog for fast searching. It is a scheduled process, so local copy and remote metadata are kept aligned.
The whole application is for advanced users only but there are some tutorials on it. Still, this looks like the one fits all solutions as you can create an own catalog very easily. The search is only effective if you have imported own lists/xml files of WFS/WMS servers or you harvested from other systems.

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GeoClub

Geoclub or as it is named “WFS Geodata Catalog” is a project of Thomas Mönkemeier (HU Berlin). He created an exhaustive catalog of WFS. Unfortunately it not showed any results for my keyword but it is probably concentrated on German WF Services as the local government need to publish their data also in a readable format (WFS seem legit, right?).

Geoclub search result

You can also add WFS to this list using a online form. Thomas also developed a WFS downloader which enables you to download data directly. At the moment his list shows about 300 entries.

SkyLab list

The Skylab list is quite impressive yet the entries I’ve tested where not valid anymore and there is no search included. So a simple old list which needs an update. Feels bad man!

data.gov

Okay, my search for Nigerian data on a US governmental page is quite useless but I would like to mention data.gov nevertheless. The catalog is searchable for WMS/WFS format and you will find more then 14.000 entries!

12000 WMS entries in the data.gov

Definitely worth a visit when it comes to US data!

Inspire

Inspire is a big buzz word in the European spatial context. So it is just fair to mention this webpage as well. Make a stop and search for your stuff (Nigeria isn’t covered of course). Yet it seems strange that the tag cloud is quite Polish:

Inspire discovery start page

Geoportal

Also quite US based is this ESRI GeoPortal. No entries for “Nigeria” but there are simple search possibilities.

Alabama in the ESRI GeoPortal

I can’t recommend this “catalog” as it is not very user friendly in my eyes.

Pyxis Cralwer

I know, it should be spelled “Crawler” but hey, it’s not my GeoNetwork installation. The pyxis catalog contains more then 25000 datasets and responds with two results for “Nigeria”. You can copy the WMS and WFS directly to you GIS and import the layer. But the data richness is mind blowing.

pyxis cralwer welcome screen

You can also add your own server quite easily. Definitely a great catalog!

Geoportal.org

Geoportal.org is a service by the ESA. It has 1.300 entries tagged with WFS and 13.000 WMS entries. Yet no service for “Nigeria”. Yet you can find data for Nigeria by selecting it as country and run the search. The search function is easy to use but not as “cool” as seen on “data.gov”.

Geoportal ESA



Your choice!?

If you know of a good curated catalog, just drop us a comment and we will review it or write us a mail.