I'm new to QGIS and also new to Geographic Information Systems vocabulary so I have been learning with practice.

I'm working on a map which is only available at ESRI REST, WMS and WFS extensions. I managed to open it with WMS extension. I need to work on data but the data attributes are not anywhere to be seen. I know why since those letters stand for Web Map Service. Some online answers on forums stated that in order to get the data from these services, the WMS file could be exported as a raster layer (.tif extension). However, when I try it I obtained the following message:

Cannot write raster. Error code: data source creation Cannot create new dataset. Attempt to create 0x0 dataset is illegal, sizes must be larger than zero.

For this reason, I suppose QGIS cannot access the raw data either.

If it is possible, how do I work with data attributes from WMS/WFS files?

My goal is to save it as a shapefile, or database and not just the raster file.

I'm asking on a new question because I have not figured out how to solve my problem with the answers already available.


If you're searching how to save a shapefile from WFS, WMS or Esri REST map, you can do it from WFS. Just export it as a Esri Shapefile: right-click on layer, then Save as and finally Export features as... Hope this can help.

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    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 5:24
  • Have you checked this question: How can I extract features from a WMS layer in QGIS?
    – ahmadhanb
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 5:25
  • What are "the answers already available"? If they are answers to questions on this site please provide links to them within your question body.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 5:26
  • @polygeo question modified, thanks.
    – totumin
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 5:29
  • You can only do it directly (output shapefile) if the service supports shapefile as an output format, otherwise you will need to use another format (say GML) and convert in your client.
    – nmtoken
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


WMS is (partly) there so the data can be looked at but is not physcially shared. Getting data from a WMS is possible through a rasterisation process but it is trivial and will lead to data loss. The WFS is a web service used to share data online and has all attributes. The QGIS documentation has a "how to" on WFS.

In short you cannot work with WMS attributes and you should use WFS for exporting to a Shapefile.

  • Just what I needed, I saved it as a shapefile from WFS instead of WMS. Thanks!
    – totumin
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 13:39

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