I have the server URL (http://ows.geobase.ca/wms/geobase_en) but no idea what is the query format for the tiles.

As an example, this is the URL for the USA Topo maps served by ArcGIS, where [Z]/[Y]/[X] is replaced with the requested zoom and coordinates by the app I am using (MotionX-GPS): http://services.arcgisonline.com/ArcGIS/rest/services/USA_Topo_Maps/MapServer/tile/[Z]/[Y]/[X]

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    A WMS is not a tile service – nmtoken Feb 22 '17 at 23:23
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    This is a WMS, you need to do a GetCapabilities request to see the operations. – nmtoken Feb 22 '17 at 23:30

As I commented earlier, the service you reference is an OGC WMS, it is not a tile server and you cannot request tiles from it in the same way as the referenced AGOL service.

The service end point is: http://ows.geobase.ca/wms/geobase_en? I can tell from the response that the service is provided by MapServer, but normally knowing which software provides a service is not important, you just need to understand how the standard is implemented.

To understand which operations are available for any WMS you need to do a GetCapabilities request like:


This gives you the names of the layers that are available, the extent of the layers, whether the data is restricted by scale, the supported coordinate reference systems etc.

To obtain a map you need to make a GetMap request like:


  • Thank you. I had a sneaking suspicion that this wasn't the right service for my needs. I guess what i would need is a WMTS server then? Or are there many different protocols for serving map tiles? – bernk Feb 23 '17 at 18:31
  • You should probably ask another question, about how to add external maps to your software. – nmtoken Feb 24 '17 at 4:44

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