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Connect to a GIS server

A variety of GIS capabilities are available as web services online. Connecting ArcGIS Pro to a GIS server gives you access to maps, editable features, geoprocessing analysis, and other useful services. The steps in this topic show you how to connect to ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Online servers, and Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC), servers.

When you connect to an ArcGIS Server site, several connection options are available that let you use or publish services, or administer the server. When connecting to a federated server in ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Pro only supports connections that let you use services. When you connect to a stand-alone ArcGIS Server site, ArcGIS Pro supports connections that let you use or publish services—the connection with the most privileges allowed for your credentials will be created.

Access a server in a folder

You can see and work with a GIS server from a folder connection, as well as any additional items stored in the same location. This may be important if you create files using data in the server, store those files in the same location, and use those files in the project.

  1. Connect to a folder containing the server you want to use.
  2. In the Catalog pane or the catalog view, browse to the folder that contains the server.
  3. Browse to the server and start using the items it contains.
Tip:

When you're browsing a folder in the Catalog pane or the catalog view, you can add a server directly to the project by clicking it and clicking Add To Project Add To Project on the Catalog tab on the ribbon, in the Organize group. In the Catalog pane, right-click a server and click Add To Project Add To Project.

Add a GIS server directly to the project

You can connect to an ArcGIS Server site to work with its contents in the project. For example, you may already have an ArcGIS Server connection file (.ags), a WCS Server connection file (.wcs), a WFS Server connection file (.wfs), a WMS Server connection file (.wms), or a WMTS Server connection file (.wmts) that was created using ArcMap. You can add these connections to a project.

  1. Add an existing server to the project.
    • Open the catalog view and click Project or Servers in the Contents pane. On the Catalog tab on the ribbon, in the Create group, click the Add drop-down arrow and click Add Server GIS Server.
    • On the Insert tab, in the Project group, click the Connections drop-down arrow Add Database and click Add Server GIS Server.
  2. Browse to and click a server connection file on the local or network computer.
  3. Click OK.

    The ArcGIS server ArcGIS server, WCS service WCS server, WFS service WFS server, WMS service WMS server, or WMTS service WMTS server appears in the Catalog pane and the catalog view in the Servers category Server folder.

  4. Browse into the server to start using the items it contains.

For OGC service connections, an item referencing the existing connection is added to the project.

For ArcGIS server connections only, if the original connection file provides more privileges than ArcGIS Pro supports, a new connection file is created that offers the highest level of privileges available, and the connection file is added to the project. For example, suppose you are signed in to an ArcGIS Enterprise portal. You have a connection file created in ArcMap that you use to publish services to one of the portal's federated servers. When the ArcGIS server connection is added to ArcGIS Pro, a new connection file is created that allows you to use services on the server; you must publish to the portal in ArcGIS Pro.

Tip:

You can drag a server connection from Windows Explorer to the Catalog pane or the catalog view to add it to a project. You can also drag these items from folder connections in the project to the Servers category to add them directly to the project. Drag the items within the Catalog pane, between the Catalog pane and catalog view, or between two catalog views. When browsing a folder, you can also right-click a server connection and click Add To Project Add To Project.

Create an ArcGIS Server connection

You can create a server connection that will be used in the project. When you connect, you see a list of items you have permission to access. If you provide a user name and password, you may have permissions to see additional items only available to specific users.

Connect to an ArcGIS Server site

If you're connecting to a federated server in ArcGIS Enterprise, you must sign in to the Enterprise portal. The server connection will use the portal's credentials to access content on the server.

If you're connecting to a stand-alone ArcGIS Server site, the server connection will use the provided user name and password to determine your level of access. If you have sufficient privileges, the connection will allow you to publish services.

  1. Create a server connection.
    • Open the catalog view and click Project or Servers in the Contents pane. On the Catalog tab on the ribbon, in the Create group, click the New drop-down arrow and click New ArcGIS Server New ArcGIS Server.
    • On the Insert tab, in the Project group, click the Connections drop-down arrow Add Database and click New ArcGIS Server New ArcGIS Server.

    The Add ArcGIS Server Connection dialog box appears.

  2. Type the URL of the ArcGIS Server site to which you want to connect in the Server URL text box.

    The URL varies depending on the site configuration.

    Learn how to specify the server URL

  3. Type your User Name and Password, if appropriate, and choose how those credentials will be stored. You can't type or save credentials if you're connecting to a federated server; you must sign in to the portal associated with the server.
    • Save Username / Password to Windows Credential Manager—The default option. Your credentials will be stored in the computer's operating system. You will not be prompted for your credentials again unless you use the file to access the server from another computer.
    • Save Username / Password to connection file—Your credentials will be stored in the connection file. Anyone can access the server with your credentials without being prompted to sign in if they have access to this file.
  4. Click OK.
  5. If you provided credentials and chose the Save Username / Password to connection file option, a warning message appears. Click Yes to continue and save your credentials within the connection file.
  6. If you are connecting to a federated server and you are not currently signed in to its associated portal, the portal's Sign In dialog box appears. Provide your credentials and click Sign In.

An ArcGIS Server connection file (.ags) is created and saved in the project's home folder. An item referencing this connection file is added to the project, and the server connection ArcGIS server appears in the Catalog pane and the catalog view in the Servers category Server folder.

To determine the level of access that was granted to this server's contents, check the server connection's properties.

Connect to ArcGIS Online ready-to-use services

You can sign in to an account on ArcGIS Online to access portal items, web maps, hosted feature services, and so on. You can also connect to specific servers associated with ArcGIS Online to access additional services that allow you to analyze your data or use high-quality data curated by Esri.

  1. Open a catalog view.
  2. Click Project or Servers in the Contents pane.
  3. On the Catalog tab on the ribbon, in the Create group, click the New drop-down arrow and click New ArcGIS Server New ArcGIS Server.

    The Add ArcGIS Server Connection dialog box appears.

  4. Type the URL of the ArcGIS Online server to which you want to connect in the Server URL text box.

    • https://elevation.arcgis.com/arcgis—Calculate viewsheds, elevation profiles, and elevation summaries.
    • https://hydro.arcgis.com/arcgis—Create watersheds and trace point locations downstream.
    • https://traffic.arcgis.com/arcgis—Visualize traffic incidents as well as live and typical traffic conditions.
    • https://logistics.arcgis.com/arcgis—Perform routing, fleet routing, and other analyses on roads and walkways.
    • https://geocode.arcgis.com/arcgis—Convert addresses and place names into longitude and latitude. When you are signed in to ArcGIS Online, the Online World Geocoding Service is added to your project automatically and is available in your project's Locators folder, in the Locate pane, in What's here?, and in relevant geocoding geoprocessing tools. It will also be available from this server connection.

  5. Click OK.

    Caution:

    Some of the services provided on these servers consume credits from your ArcGIS Online account. Visit the ArcGIS Online service credits page to learn more about service credits.

    You are prompted to sign in to an ArcGIS Online account if you are not already signed in. ArcGIS Online does not have to be the active portal.

An ArcGIS Server connection file (.ags) is created in the project's home folder. An item referencing this connection file is added to the project, and the server connection ArcGIS server appears in the Catalog pane and the catalog view in the Servers category Server folder.

Create an OGC web service connection

If a server provides OGC WCS, WFS, WMS, or WMTS services, you can connect to the service and add either the entire service or individual layers from the service to a map.

  1. Open a catalog view.
  2. Click Project or Servers in the Contents pane.
  3. On the Catalog tab on the ribbon, in the Create group, click the New drop-down arrow and click the appropriate option.
    • New WCS Server New WCS Server
    • New WFS Server New WFS Server
    • New WMS Server New WMS Server
    • New WMTS Server New WMTS Server

    The appropriate OGC server connection dialog box appears.

  4. Type the URL of the server to which you want to connect in the Server URL text box.
  5. If you want to communicate with the service using a specific version of the service specification, click the Version drop-down list and choose the appropriate version number. Otherwise, the default version for that service will be used.
  6. If you are creating a WFS, WMS, or WMTS connection, click the Custom request parameters heading and specify any custom request parameters that should be used.
  7. Type your User Name and Password, if appropriate, and choose how those credentials will be stored.
    • Save Username / Password to Windows Credential Manager—The default option. Your credentials will be stored in the computer's operating system. You will not be prompted for your credentials again unless you use the file to access the server from another computer.
    • Save Username / Password to connection file—Your credentials will be stored in the connection file. Anyone can access the server with your credentials without being prompted to sign in if they have access to this file.
  8. Click OK.
  9. If you provided credentials and chose the Save Username / Password to connection file option, a warning message appears. Click Yes to continue and save your credentials within the connection file.
  10. If the OGC service is associated with a service on an Enterprise portal, you may be prompted to sign in to the portal.

A WCS Server connection file (.wcs), WFS Server connection file (.wfs), WMS Server connection file (.wms), or WMTS Server connection file (.wmts) is created in the project's home folder. An item referencing this connection file is added to the project, and the WCS service WCS server, WFS service WFS server, WMS service WMS server, or WMTS service WMTS server appears in the Catalog pane and the catalog view in the Servers category Server folder.

Favorite a server

If you add the same GIS server to many projects, you can make that server a favorite to simplify the process. The project favorites collection is always available. Add a favorite server to projects without having to remember its location or URL. You can add a favorite server to every project you create. Server connections of all types can be created directly in the project favorites roaming folder. If your user profile supports roaming, these connections will be available on every computer you use.

Tip:

You can drag any server connection from Windows Explorer to the favorites collection in the Catalog pane or the catalog view. You can also drag these items from the Project tab in the Catalog pane to the favorites collection in the catalog view, or drag them between two catalog views. A copy of the connection file will be saved to the project favorites roaming folder.

Copy a server from another project

A GIS server can be copied from one project to another if both projects are open at the same time.

  1. Browse to the collection of servers in your source project.
    • In the catalog view, click Servers in the Contents pane.
    • In the Catalog pane, on the Project tab, double-click Servers.
  2. Select the appropriate servers; for example, Ctrl-Click each server you want to copy.
  3. Copy the servers.
    • In the catalog view, on the Catalog tab on the ribbon, in the Clipboard group, click Copy Copy.
    • In the Catalog pane, right-click the selected maps and click Copy.
  4. Browse to the collection of servers in your destination project.
  5. Paste the servers.
    • In the catalog view, on the Catalog tab on the ribbon, in the Clipboard group, click Paste Paste.
    • In the Catalog pane, right-click the Servers container and click Paste.
Tip:

You can also copy the selected servers by dragging them from the source project to the Servers container in the destination project.

Modify server connection properties

Once a server has been added to your project, you can view and modify its connection properties.

  1. Right-click the server in the Catalog pane or the catalog view.
  2. Click Properties.

    The server's Properties dialog box appears.

  3. For ArcGIS Server connections only, the Type drop-down list shows the level of privileges you have with this server. Modify your level of access as appropriate, if the option to do so is available.
    • User Connection—You can use services on the server. Map and feature services are listed, along with any other items available with your credentials. This is the only option available if you're connected to a federated server.
    • Publisher Connection—You can publish services to a stand-alone ArcGIS Server site with this connection. Items available with your credentials are listed, however, feature services won't be included in the list.
  4. Modify the URL of the server in the Server URL text box as appropriate.
  5. For OGC servers only, modify the version of the service specification in the Version drop-down list as appropriate.
  6. For OGC WFS, WMS, or WMTS servers only, click the Custom request parameters heading and modify the custom parameter values as appropriate.
  7. Modify your User Name and Password and change how your credentials are stored, if appropriate. You can't provide credentials if you're connected to a federated server; you must sign in to the portal.
    • Save Username / Password to Windows Credential Manager—The default option when you create a new server connection. Your credentials are stored in the computer's operating system. You will not be prompted for your credentials again unless you use the file to access the server from another computer.
    • Save Username / Password to connection file—Your credentials will be stored in the connection file. Anyone can access the server with your credentials without being prompted to sign in if they have access to this file.
  8. Click OK.
  9. If you have provided credentials and chose the Save Username / Password to connection file option, a warning message appears. Click Yes to continue and save your credentials within the connection file.

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