I am using GeoServer with OpenLayers.

I would like to return all the feature type details in a specific layer exactly as GetFeatureInfo does for a specified location. I tried using GetFeatureInfo with the x and y parameters but it insists on a location being specified. Basically, I need the details of all the feature types in the layer, including the geometry. There may be a better way to do this, however, after hours of searching, I have been unable to find one.

Can anyone help?

  • Is there any reason that GetFeatures operation on WFS can't be used? Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 15:32
  • Thanks for the pointer. I have used the GetFeature operation via WFS. Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 11:02
  • SO does that mean that your problem is solved? Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 11:14
  • Indeed it is solved Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 11:37

2 Answers 2


Devdatta pointed me in the correct direction. I used the GetFeature operation via WFS service as it provides more information and it is not necessary to specify a locaton.


A WMS GetFeatureInfo request requires the majority of a GetMap request as part of the parameters. To the user of a GIS client, what they do is look at a map (the result of a GetMap request) then make a request for more information at a particular point in that map, that is, information at a pixel location (x,y in a WMS 1.1.1 and i,j in a WMS 1.3.0 GetFeatureInfo request) for the GetMap request returned image. However as a WMS is stateless, the request must pass the GetMap request again, and also the point information to be queried.

To get all the point information for the whole map, the GetMap request would need to show the whole extent of the map in a single pixel, and the GetFeatureInfo request would need to request pixel (0,0) and also specify a feature_count number high enough to cover all points.

I haven't tried such a request on GeoServer, or indeed any other WMS server, but theoretically it is possible.

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