MapInfo Pro

MapInfo Monday: Time-enabled WMS Layers in MapInfo Pro v2021.1

  • 1.  MapInfo Monday: Time-enabled WMS Layers in MapInfo Pro v2021.1

    Posted 05-02-2022 06:32
    Happy #MapInfoMonday,

    Today, we will look at time-enabled WMS Layers and how you can use these in a Time Series visualization.​ We will look at how you can visualize Hurricane Ida using a time-enabled WMS service in MapInfo Pro. To do this, you will need to update your MapInfo Pro to v2021.1.

    Here is an example of the output from such a visualization.

    What is WMS?

    WMS, or Web Mapping Service, is an OGC standard for retrieving maps through a web service. The WMS standard has been around for more than 20 years and has been supported in MapInfo Pro since MapInfo Pro v7.5.

    A WMS Server typically returns maps in the form of a graphic in a format like JPEG, PNG, or GIF. A WMS server can also give access to attribute information through a dedicated request type called GetFeatureInfo. This allows the client application to request attributes for a layer at a given location.

    A WMS server can also be time-enabled. For this to be TRUE, the Dimension tag must be present in the GetCapabilties response. Some refer to such a time-enabled WMS service as WMS-T. For a time-enabled WMS layer, MapInfo Pro sets the icon for the layer as a clock symbol.

    Here's an example of the Dimension tag from a capabilities document:
    <Dimension name="time" units="ISO8601" default="2022-02-01T00:00:00" nearestValue="0">2011-01-01T00:00:00/2022-02-01T00:00:00/PT24H</Dimension>

    You can find more details about WMS here on Wikipedia.

    Opening a time-enabled WMS layer

    Access the Open WMS Table dialog via Mapping (WMS) from the Open dropdown on the Home tab.

    From the Open WMS Table dialog, I can see the layers published by the WMS service that I have connected to.

    If you haven't already connected to the WMS server, you can add your WMS server via the Servers... button in this dialog.

    Notice how the layers have a clock symbol next to them in the list on the left. This tells you that the layer is time-enabled.

    I select the WMS Layer that is want to open and use the Add>> button to move it to the list of layers to include. When I have selected at least one layer, I can also change the Projection and I can specify the name of the tab file referring to this WMS layer. The TAB file that gets created can afterward be used to reopen the same WMS layer(s).

    Click OK to add the WMS layer to a new or existing map window. As you haven't specified any time period, the WMS service will provide you with its default view. This specific server returns a dataset from back in June 2006.

    The next step is to time-enable our map through the WMS layer.

    Using a time-enabled WMS layer in a time series visualization

    From the Map tab, clock on Time Series in the Add to Map dropdown. This will bring up the Layer Time Options dialog.

    In the dialog select the time-enabled WMS layer from the Layer list, and select WMS from the three options if that hasn't been selected by default. And select Time Configuration from the Configuration list.

    The Extents are will show you the valid time extent supported by this service.

    In this specific case, we are looking for images around a specific time. Back in late August 2021, Hurricane Ida paid a visit to the area around Louisiana. We can have a look at how this looks via the NEXRAD base reflectivity images from the Iowa Environmental Mesonet service provided by Iowa State University.

    I change the Extents to go from August 29nd to September 2nd, 2021. I also change the Period from 5 minutes to 30 minutes.

    After configuring the extents, I click OK to time-enabled my map. The result you can see below. Notice that the Time Slider has been added to the map. You can change the time extent at any time from the Layer Time Options dialog that you can access from the context menu of the layer or via the Layer Options on the Time tab.

    I can now use the controls on the Time tab to change the time and look at how the images from the WMS service change over time. Below, is an example from when the hurricane goes onto land.

    You can learn more about the Time Series visualization from an earlier article: MapInfo Monday: Creating Time Series in MapInfo Pro v2021.

    What type of visualizations are you doing with the Time Series capability in MapInfo Pro?

    Peter Horsbøll Møller
    Principal Presales Consultant | Distinguished Engineer
    Precisely | Trust in Data