The ArcGIS 10.1 documentation on Working with WFS services says:

The GML Simple Features profile is recommended for use with ArcGIS and is the basis for WFS support in ArcGIS.

Is there an easy way to determine whether a particular WFS is encoding using that or an alternative profile - perhaps by looking at its GetCapabilities?

It's interesting to note that not a single service URL was suggested when I asked whether anyone knew of a public WFS using the Simple Features profile.

I'm also trying to uncover an answer to this via the ArcGIS Discussion Forums now.

1 Answer 1


Yes, in GetCapabilities and DescribeFeatureType as stated in the GML Simple Feature profile documentation:


The following XML fragment shows how a WFS may advertise in its capabilities document that it can generate schemas that comply with this profile:

1. <ows:Operation name="DescribeFeatureType">
2.   <ows:DCP>
3.     <ows:HTTP>
4.       <ows:Post xlink:href="http://www.BlueOx.org/wfs"/>
5.     </ows:HTTP>
6.   </ows:DCP>
7.   <ows:Parameter name="outputFormat">
8.     <ows:Value>text/xml; subType=gml/3.1.1</ows:Value>
9.     <ows:Value>text/xml; subType=gml/3.1.1/sfgml</Value>
10.   </ows:Parameter>
11. </ows:Operation>

Line 9 indicates that this WFS can generate a GML application schema that conforms to this profile.

DescribeFeatureType XML-encoded request:

The following example XML fragment shows a DescribeFeatureType request indicating that the response should conform to this profile:

<DescribeFeatureType outputFormat="text/xml; subType=gml/3.1.1/sfgml"/>

DescribeFeatureType KVP-encode request:

The following example URL shows a DescribeFeatureType request indicating that the response should conform to this profile:


  • Do you happen to also know of an "almost always available" Service URL for a Web Feature Service (WFS) using GML Simple Features profile? See gis.stackexchange.com/questions/31208/…
    – PolyGeo
    Aug 23, 2012 at 21:50
  • 1
    I wasn't able to find any NON-ArcGIS sfgml compliant WFS services. I would have liked to have found some that weren't from arcGIS server, but doesn't mean that they don't exist. Check my answer here
    – CaptDragon
    Aug 24, 2012 at 13:04
  • I guess that part of the answer here is that the 'GML simple features profile' document (portal.opengeospatial.org/files/?artifact_id=11266) is not an OGC standard; so whilst that document shows a way that a simple feature WFS may show such support, it isn't the only way to do so.
    – nmtoken
    Apr 11, 2014 at 17:55

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