Everything I know about GIS I've learned myself.

I wrote a small utility for my non-profit employer that used the USGS 'The National Map's online services to pull a sized image of USGS Topographical Quad. I wrote the utility many years ago, and it was not only a crash-course in GIS, but in accessing a WMS.

The URL I had been using was similar to:


..which would give an image of 1000px x 1000px around Taos, New Mexico. (Coordinates and image size would change, depending on user's area of curiosity.)

Now, however, that service was shut down. In my infinite glory, I had completely missed the posted notification and am now stuck without a running utility.

According to the USGS, the service has moved to 'services.arcgisonline.com/arcgis/rest/services/USA_Topo_Maps/MapServer'

So, learning what I could about the service, apparently WMS isn't available and I need to use the ExportMap functionality. This is the new URL I was able to translate the above to:


However, if you click on that, you'll see I get an awesomely helpful error of "bytes", code 500. (As a developer, I know Code 500 is Internal Server Error, of course..) But without a more helpful message, I'm not sure where I bungled it up.

Any thoughts?

  • 1
    Well, your BBOX SR is 4269 (NAD83, decimal degrees), not 900913. ArcGIS wouldn't understand 900913 anyway. If you want the image in Web Mercator, use EPSG:3857 instead. The values may need to be given in latitude,longitude order, but I'm not sure. Try fixing the CRS (SR) info first.
    – mkennedy
    Dec 29, 2016 at 20:23
  • Ah, thanks for that! Tried the correct values there, same response.(The online reference I found said to have lon first; but I tried it lat first, and same error.) From other searches about the '500 Bytes' error, it almost sounds like a server misconfiguration.. I'm going to contact them and just verify that..
    – Coyttl
    Dec 31, 2016 at 1:48
  • The following URL works, in that it returns a map, so the service appears to be correctly configured: services.arcgisonline.com/arcgis/rest/services/USA_Topo_Maps/…
    – nmtoken
    Jan 2, 2017 at 19:23
  • Yes, it's highly likely, it may only support one, after all services.arcgisonline.com/arcgis/rest/services/USA_Topo_Maps/… tells us only Spatial Reference: 102100
    – nmtoken
    Feb 3, 2017 at 16:05
  • Thanks @nmtoken - that's it. Now I'll need to add code in my utility to convert the values I'm getting over. Whohoo.
    – Coyttl
    Feb 3, 2017 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


You are correct the service for the old raster maps doesn't appear to offer a WMS service.

Looking at the metadata for the service at the following URL:


It appears that only one coordinate reference system is supported:

Spatial Reference: 102100 (3857)

The service appears to be correctly configured in that the following request returns a map:



Example output of USA_Topo_Maps service

  • Thanks again, good summary of our comments and what worked in the end!
    – Coyttl
    Feb 5, 2017 at 1:06

The USGS still supply a WMS service for the map in question.

Try using this URL to access it: https://basemap.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/services/USGSTopo/MapServer/WMSServer?service=WMS&request=GetMap&version=1.3.0&format=image/png&bbox=-105.6828,36.35569,-105.4633,36.45874&layers=0&width=1000&height=1000&crs=CRS:84&styles=default&

You can access the Capabilities file here: https://basemap.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/services/USGSTopo/MapServer/WMSServer?request=GetCapabilities&service=WMS&

  • True - but wrong map. :) I actually still use that service in my utility. The service I have linked above is the 'Historic' Topo maps..
    – Coyttl
    Jan 2, 2017 at 17:23
  • @Coyttl The URL now returns topo for Taos, is it the wrong topo?
    – nmtoken
    Jan 2, 2017 at 19:03
  • Thanks for fixing the issues with the URL, @nmtoken. I think the old srs parameter was ignored but it really shouldn't be there as you stated Jan 3, 2017 at 14:58
  • @nmtoken It's the latest version of their 'USTopo' - the latest version of their topo maps. The URL I've been using above is the older, raster US Topographic maps. The older, 'scanned' map.
    – Coyttl
    Feb 3, 2017 at 15:49

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