Publishing map services for ArcGIS Server

Publishing map services for ArcGIS Server

ArcMap includes a toolbar and workflow for analyzing and publishing optimized map services using a map service definition (MSD). Using ArcGIS Server, MSDs can be used to publish high-performance ArcGIS map services. These optimized map services support both real-time, dynamic map services and cached map services.

To support optimized map services using MSDs, ArcGIS includes a high-performance, scalable mapping engine, which can generate dynamic, high-performance maps on the fly (as well as cached map services) using the advanced cartography that you design and create in ArcMap. This work is accomplished through a simple workflow—generate a map in ArcMap, analyze and optimize it for performance, save it as an MSD, then publish the MSD as a map service to ArcGIS Server.

ArcMap includes the Map Service Publishing toolbar to perform each of these steps.

Using the Map Service Publishing toolbar

The Map Service Publishing toolbar helps you analyze the drawing performance of your ArcMap documents. It is used perform all the steps to publish an optimized map service to ArcGIS Server from ArcMap.


The process of creating and publishing an optimized map service uses a straightforward workflow:

First, design and create a map document in ArcMap. Then, perform the following steps to publish a map service to ArcGIS Server.


  1. Analyze your ArcMap document by clicking Analyze  on the Map Service Publishing toolbar. Address errors and other issues identified in the map analysis. See Analyze and repair map drawing performance below for instructions on how to do this work.
  2. Preview the map service .
  3. Publish a map service using the MSD for ArcGIS Server .
  4. Over time, periodically assess your map document by following the steps above to ensure that you maintain map performance.

An alternative to publishing directly from ArcMap is to Save your ArcMap document as an MSD . The map service definition can then be published in ArcCatalog or in the ArcGIS Server Manager.

Analyze and repair map drawing performance

One of the important tasks that you can perform with the Map Service Publishing toolbar is to analyze your map document to identify potential performance bottlenecks and map errors that you will need to address before you can create an optimized map service from your ArcMap document.

Steps for performance analysis


  1. First, turn on the Map Service Publishing toolbar in ArcMap by right-clicking the main menu and selecting this toolbar from the alphabetical list of toolbars.

2.  Next, click Analyze .

This will generate a report that will appear in a scrolling panel at the bottom of your ArcMap application window.

3. This report identifies errors and other potential issues that you should address prior to publishing your map document as an optimized map service. It helps you identify layer and symbology types that are not supported for optimized map drawing performance, warnings for issues that can potentially slow down display performance, and other information messages about your map document that can help you optimize its performance as a map service. You will see three types of messages in this report:


  • Error messages . These are issues that must be fixed before you can publish the map document as an optimized map service with ArcGIS Server. Errors typically refer to your map’s use of map layer types or display options that are not supported for optimized map services.
  • For example, errors in your map document might include
    • Use of some layer types (like topology layers) that are not supported for optimized map services in ArcGIS Server
    • Use of some advanced symbology options that can potentially have sluggish display performance (like some statistical or chart symbology)
  • All errors must be repaired before you can publish a map service definition.
  • Warning messages . These are issues in which drawing performance or drawing appearance may be affected. For example:
    • You may be able to increase performance by creating a spatial index for a map layer’s feature class.
    • An image format for a raster layer may be a data type that draws more slowly than others.
    • An existing map layer may be projecting on the fly into the map’s output coordinate system, which can cause map performance to slow down. Using a common coordinate system can speed up map drawing performance.
  • You have the option to correct or ignore issues identified in warnings. If you choose to ignore a warning, you can mark it as an exception by right-clicking the warning message and selecting Mark As Exception.
  • Information messages . These identify potential differences in the portrayal of your map display generated using MSDs and other informative messages to be aware of.

3.  Repair each of the errors and determine how to address each of the warning messages identified by the map performance analysis.


Right-click each message to get a quick suggestion on how you can fix that specific issue as well as to access a help topic with more information about the issue (such as additional repair options). The item in bold in each list will provide the default approach for addressing each issue.


4.  Make a copy of your error messages and warnings.

Addressing the display performance issues in some maps with many layers can be involved because of the large number of errors and warnings that will be listed. In these cases, you may want to save the error messages in a document for later use. You can select errors and copy and paste their descriptions into another application to help manage these updates at a later time.


Publish a map service to ArcGIS Server

Once you have saved your MSD, the next step is to create a map service for deployment using ArcGIS Server. You can choose to publish your ArcGIS map service directly from ArcMap using the workflow described here. All the other map publishing methods for ArcGIS Server are also supported by saving and publishing a Map Service Definition (for example, publishing a map service in the ArcGIS Server Manager Web application console).

Selecting the Publish to ArcGIS Server  button will take you through the following steps to create your map service for use with ArcGIS Server.



  1. When you click the Publish to ArcGIS Server button, the map is automatically analyzed for performance first. This ensures that any changes to your map will work correctly in the map service. This will help you catch any last minute changes that may be required.
  2. Review and repair any errors in this map analysis report as described in Analyze and repair map drawing performance.
  3. Then, if there are no errors, the Publish to ArcGIS Server wizard will appear as shown here:
  4. In this wizard, you will
    • Select the ArcGIS server you will use.
    • Enter the name of the new map service to be created.
    • Identify the folder that you will publish the map service into.
  5. If you want to make the map service available as KML or WMS, click Next. Otherwise, click Finish and go to the final step.
  6. A second page of the wizard will appear where you choose the additional capabilities you want to publish for this map service.
  7. Click the additional map capabilities that you would like to publish and click Next to see a summary, or select Finish to be done.
  8. A summary panel appears that lists the properties of the map service that will be created. For example:
  9. Review the summary information for your map service. The summary page will list the location the map service definition will be copied to in the arcgisinput directory on the server.
  10. If you are done, click Finish to create the map service.

Validating data connections on the server

The publish command will validate whether the data connections your service is using are visible to the server. If there are problems with data connections, you will see a dialog box like the one below. Check to see if the SOC user account has privileges to the data as a first step to resolving this issue. You may need to move file-based data into a location where the SOC user account has permissions to read it.



How to publish optimized map services to ArcGIS Server installations on UNIX and Linux

Publishing an optimized map service using an MSD file on Linux and UNIX uses a workflow similar to the procedure described above with one additional task—you need to reset the MSD’s data source references to use UNIX/Linux paths for your map’s file-based data sources. Below are the steps to complete this task.



  1. Organize the set of paths to your data sources for your map service on UNIX or Linux. If your map only references data stored in an enterprise geodatabase, you will not need to modify the paths of data, and the service can be published directly from ArcMap.
  2. Save your map document as a map service definition.
  3. Use the Set Data Sources command in ArcCatalog to replace the Windows file paths with UNIX or Linux file paths. This tool is intended for setting the paths of file based data sources from one path to another. It is not intended for use in changing data source types or changing the data sources of data with different schemas such as moving data from an enterprise geodatabase to a file geodatabase.
  4. Copy the updated MSD file to your UNIX or Linux system.
  5. Publish the MSD as an optimized map service using the Server Manager.


About berrymanchris

I recently graduated from University of Wisconsin - Whitewater and I work as a Senior Analyst at PANGEA Studios at the University in Whitewater, WI.

Posted on August 1, 2012, in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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