Connecting to a GIS Server

Adding a map service to an ArcGIS desktop session is very different from most "Add Data" operations. Before an individual service can be added, a connection to the GIS server that it is part of must be completed. This is done in ArcCatalog by typing or pasting a string of text into a text box. The process is further complicated by the fact that availability of specific services is sometimes erratic, connection information is not always well-publicized and the connection procedure must be followed exactly. The information below applies to ArcGIS Server technology which is one of several server types in common use. The process is similar for all the GIS server types that we've encountered.

The screen shot at right shows what the ArcCatalog folder tree looks like when no connections exist to GIS servers.

Say we want to connect to Brown County's GIS server. They use ArcGIS Server technology so we would select "Add ArcGIS Server"
giservernoconnect100
giserverconnectarcgis The "Add ArcGIS Server" dialogue will appear as shown at left.

The following text string is typed or pasted into the Source URL: text box

http://maps.gis.co.brown.wi.us/agiss/services
The screenshot at right shows what the folder tree looks like after successfully connecting to Brown County's GIS server giserverbrownco