I have a vector layer with points across a whole state served by WMS. I would like to limit access to particular areas within the state (e.g. spatially via bounding box). Each bounding box would be available to different authenticated users via WMS. The end goal is to maintain a single dataset with multiple users having different spatial access to it.

It appears that GeoServer's Layer Groups is designed for this. I tried creating one in 'Container Tree' mode and setting it with a small bounding box. While it does appear as a distinct layer in ArcMap, it is not restricted spatially (e.g. the whole state's data still shows rather than only in the defined bounds).

I wondered if anyone had any experience with this particular use case?

  • what made you think layer groups were designed for this?
    – Ian Turton
    Jan 29, 2019 at 8:52
  • I was reading the docs here and hoping :)
    – Neil
    Jan 29, 2019 at 23:09
  • Perhaps this is not something that is possible with Geoserver. I'm curious how others might implement an authenticated WMS where each user is restricted to only seeing data within a predefined boundary.
    – Neil
    Jan 31, 2019 at 0:51

1 Answer 1


The answer appears to be using the Geofence extension for Geoserver. More details at https://docs.geoserver.org/latest/en/user/community/geofence-server/index.html.

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