Using Web Map Services (WMS) in InfoWorks ICM, InfoWorks WS Pro and InfoNet

InfoWorks ICM, InfoWorks WS Pro and InfoNet all support the following Map Controls: ArcGIS Engine, ArcGIS Desktop and MapXtreme. The GIS Layer Control Dialog is used to choose how map layers are displayed on the GeoPlan Window. The dialog is displayed by right clicking on the GeoPlan View and choosing GIS Layer control… from the popup menu.

As well as supporting the traditional GIS layers associated with ArcGIS and MapInfo, InfoWorks and InfoNet can utilise Map Layers offered up by WMS Servers.  An example would be mapping provided by Open Street Map (  This resource provides maps of the world that are free to use under an open licence. Users can connect the GeoPlan view to both remote web servers and LAN servers.

To utilise WMS you need to know the URL of the Web Map Server. Many of the publicly available server can be found by searching with Google.  For example, one WMS addresses for Open Street Map is  This will provide a colour map, but if you’d like a black & white version, you could try instead.

Here are some examples you might like to experiment with that can all be used free of charge as background layers for your model. As many organisations offer WMS as a free service, they do not always guarantee any continued availability, but most organisations do their best to keep them up and running.  Please let me know if you have a favourite WMS resources and I’ll update this blog.

Open Street Maps from Terrestris Server
URL (colour):
URL (b/w):

Open Street Maps from Mundialis Server

Cached OSM-WMS via MapProxy (Uni Heidelberg)

Cached HillShade WMS of Europe via MapProxy (Uni Heidelberg):

In some cases you need the “?” at the end of the links, in others not.  These WMS map layers can be combined with the traditional GIS layers associated with ArcGIS and MapInfo that have always been available in the GeoPlan view.

Combining MapInfo TAB file and WMS layer from Open Street Map

Depending on whether you utilise MapXtreme as the map control for the InfoWorks / InfoNet GeoPlan, or if you work directly with ArcGIS Engine / ArcGIS Desktop in the background, the way you access and apply WMS layers will be slightly different.

MapXtreme as map control in InfoWorks and InfoNet
From the GeoPlan, right-click and select GIS Layer control… from the popup menu.  Click the Add WMS… button to display the Add WMS Layer dialog, and then enter a WMS Server URL and click OK.

The WMS layer will be added to the list of GIS layers. If you’d like to view or edit the display properties for the layer in the Web Map Service Properties Dialog, select the WMS layer and click the Properties… button.  If not, just press OK or Apply and the WMS layer will appear in the background of the GeoPlan.

ArcGIS as map control in InfoWorks and InfoNet
ArcGIS Server Map Services are fully supported in InfoWorks ICM, InfoWorks WS Pro and InfoNet.  You can use a WMS layer with a Map Control from ESRI if you save the WMS as a layer in ArcMap. You can then add this layer as a background layer in InfoWorks ICM. These are the steps you need to follow:-

  • Firstly, create a new layer in ArcMap, ready to add the required WMS data from ArcGIS Online.

  • Next, using ArcGIS Online you can add OpenStreetMap from the list of available resources:

  • Next, export the layer you’ve just created as a Layer File.

  • Finally, add the layer created in ArcMap as a background GIS layer in InfoWorks / InfoNet:

Working with ArcGIS (32-bit) and InfoWorks ICM / InfoWorks WS Pro (64-bit)
ESRI ArcGIS is still only available as a 32-bit application.  As things currently stand, you can’t use the 64bit version of the InfoWorks User Interface (UI) with layers hosted by ESRI ArcGIS because of incompatibilities between the 32-bit and 64-bit environments.

So, when you install the 64-bit edition of InfoWorks ICM or InfoWorks WS Pro on your workstation, the installer will also add a 32-bit version of the User Interface (UI) to your Windows Start Menu so that you can circumnavigate any issues with applying ESRI ArcGIS layers in the InfoWorks ICM or InfoWorks WS Pro GeoPlan.

Rest assured, if you have installed the 64-bit edition of InfoWorks ICM or InfoWorks WS Pro, your simulations will always run in 64-bit mode, even if the model was created using the 32-bit UI of InfoWorks.

This restriction only applies to ArcGIS, when using MapXtreme all mapping functions, including WMS, will operate in either 32-bit or 64-bit modes.


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    About Andrew Walker

    Andrew Walker is a Senior Client Services Manager with Innovyze in the United Kingdom, specializing in the computerized analysis of drainage and flooding. He has over 30 years experience of modeling the key hydraulic processes involved in urban drainage design and analysis. He is one of the key members of staff tasked with supervising the roll-out and adoption of InfoWorks ICM throughout the UK and Europe.
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