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ArcGIS Developers

Web maps and ArcGIS services

Please refer to the Web map specification topic for an updated version of the web map specification.

ArcGIS web maps can display and query web services hosted on ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online, as well as other types of servers. Supported ArcGIS service types are as follows:

  • Map service
  • Feature service
  • Image service

If you provide the root URL of a map service, the map will be displayed using tiles if they're available. Tiles are the only way you can display an ArcGIS Online hosted map service. If you're working with ArcGIS Server and tiles are not detected, the map will be displayed using an image dynamically drawn by the server.

If you provide the URL of a single layer in a map service, an image is not created; instead, features are retrieved through queries and displayed using client-side graphics, in the same way that you would work with a feature service.

Feature services are always referenced using the URL to a single layer in the service.

Referencing services in your web map

There are several approaches for referencing ArcGIS services in your web map. The same service can be referenced in different ways by different maps as illustrated by the following:

  • You can reference the service directly by its URL and use it exactly as it was originally designed and styled.
  • You can reference the service directly by its URL and override the service's original design with your own layer definitions, pop-up information, and so on.
  • You can reference a service that has been registered as an item on ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS. In this case, you provide the URL to the service along with the item ID. The item author has already potentially overridden the original styling and pop-up information of the service.
Various ways to reference a service

Determining the URL of an ArcGIS Server service

To reference an ArcGIS Server service, you'll need to know its URL. Web maps always reference the RESTful endpoint of the service, which can be determined using the Services Directory application included with ArcGIS Server. If the server administrator has not explicitly disabled it, you can view the Services Directory by appending /rest/services to the server URL.

You can view an example Services Directory at As you navigate the links in the Services Directory, you can copy the URLs of individual services from your browser's address bar. For example, here is the URL of a map service from the above Services Directory: You can use this URL in your web map JSON to reference the ArcGIS Server map service.