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By looking at enter image description here

I do not really understand the differences between WMS, WFS, WCS, and WPS.

Can somebody please explain the differences between them?

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closed as too broad by PolyGeo Apr 17 at 10:48

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 26 down vote accepted

This website describes the differences between WMS, WFS, and WCS fairly clearly.

WMS is probably the best known of these three standards due to its widespread use by map servers to deliver map images.

In contrast to the images served by WMS, WFS communicates geographic feature information.

The WFS web service allows features to be queried, updated, created, or deleted by the client.

The WCS web service is used to transfer "coverages", ie. objects covering a geographical area.

Coverages can be a set of data points; a regular grid of points (or pixels); a set of segmented curves (eg. road paths); a set of Thiessen polygons; or a TIN triangulated irregular network (eg. terrain models).

Wikipedia has articles on WMS, WFS, WCS, WMTS and WPS.

If you want to view the specifications on all of these, you can visit the OGC websites and download the pdfs.

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I still cannot understand the difference between WCS and WFS. "Unlike OGC Web Feature Service (WFS), which returns discrete geospatial features, the Web Coverage Service returns coverages representing space/time-varying phenomena that relate a spatio-temporal domain to a (possibly multidimensional) range of properties. As such, WCS focuses on coverages as a specialized class of features and, correspondingly, defines streamlined functionality." Does it mean WFS has more dimensions? – Harold Chan Dec 19 '13 at 6:41
The amount of dimensions isn't relevant for distinguishing WFS from WCS. Both are services for data providing (while WMS is providing cartographic representations, and WPS is providing geographic processing functions). WFS is focused on providing vector data (land parcels, boundaries, streets, points of interest) while WCS is focused on providing raster data (digital elevation, temperature over time, and so on) – Jürgen Zornig Dec 19 '13 at 7:12
The first link has now moved (basically I've combined two blog type sites into my business blog). New URL is: I'll update the URL in the text, but I thought I should mention it here in-case anyone thinks I'm defacing the post! – winwaed Oct 29 '15 at 13:01
@winwaed, thanks for that. It's not often people go back and fix up links in other sites... – Fezter Oct 29 '15 at 21:58
Was checking my logs, and found my redirect wasn't working - two migrations too many I think! – winwaed Oct 30 '15 at 12:00

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