I have been given a WFS GetCapabilities link as


and asked to make Describe Feature Request from it. What is Describe Feature Request and how it can be done?

  • You need to look at (or parse the) the response from any WFS GetCapabilities request URL you have, because the URL you use to make a DescribeFeatureType request may be different from the base URL used for the GetCapabilities request. In your case the URL is slightly different for example ~ https://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/geoserver/wfs
    – nmtoken
    Feb 9, 2022 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


There is no secret to how a WFS works, it is all set out in the OGC WFS Standard. There you will find a DescribeFeatureType request described as:

The DescribeFeatureType operation returns a schema description of feature types offered by a WFS instance. The schema descriptions define how a WFS expects feature instances to be encoded on input (via Insert, Update and Replace actions) and how feature instances shall be encoded on output (in response to a GetPropertyValue, GetFeature or GetFeatureWithLock operation).

and goes on to show you the XML format for a POST request and the KVP for a GET request.

If reading the standard is too boring for you there are excellent learning materials on how a WFS works provided by the OGC too.

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