Aside from .LYR files, is there a file format (preferably open) for defining web service endpoints for ArcGIS Desktop?

For example, if I publish a WMS feed, can I provide a downloadable resource for ArcGIS Desktop users?

Note endpoint is not ArcGIS Server - I'm looking for a simple method to allow ArcGIS Desktop users load OGC services for specific layers from a download.

What about .FDL?

It seems the .NMF (ArcGIS Explorer) formats can do the job. Are NMF files supported by ArcGIS Deskop 10?

  • Short answer, no. Long answer, sure if you want to build a extension that could read a format you define; that would server as a pointer to your service and set the right values. Looking at Arc10 Desktop as a example; you select the option to 'Add Data' and your available options is very limited; ESRI will say to use the REST API as a open/starting point and build out from there.
    – D.E.Wright
    Aug 24, 2011 at 1:31
  • Just tried to open a NMF in ArcGIS 10, and nope; it doesn't see it as a supported file format.
    – D.E.Wright
    Aug 24, 2011 at 23:33

2 Answers 2


You could try an OGC Web Map Context (WMC) file.

Certainly there is a WMC client extension to add WMC support to ArcGIS Desktop.

The purpose of the WMC file is to bundle together web services (such as, but not limited to, ArcGIS services), such that you can share maps composed of Web Map Services to aware clients...

For example the following WMC of the Geology of Ireland can be opened in such WMC aware clients as:

IrelandGeologyEdited-wmc in OpenLayers example

  • ArcMap 10 With extension

Irish Geology WMC in ArcMap 10


Nope, that is your only option for a downloadable file.

Now you can provide a document with appropriate information to connect to the ArcGIS Endpoint itself, so giving the http://mypublicserver.mydomain.com/arcgis/rest so that the public can connect/consume your services.

Some of my consumers have actually enjoyed that more.

  • See edit - it's not an ArcGIS Server enpoint.
    – Hamish
    Aug 23, 2011 at 3:55

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