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OS OnDemand WMS technical FAQs

Which authentication method should I choose for the Web Map Service (WMS) service?

HTTP(S) Basic – this can be used via a GIS Software package and/or web application from any location. Together with the username, password and URL provided by us, multiple users within a business/organisation are able to access the service. Please not that it is not possible to append the username and password to the URL as this will not work in most web browsers. The HTTP(S) request parameters are:

  • User ID: (Configuration.Security.
  • UserID)Password: (Configuration.Security.Password)

If your software is not/cannot be configured to pass through these parameters, then the Real World IP Address method should be chosen.

Real World IP Address – if there is no support available within your software for HTTP(S) basic, then you can choose the Real World IP Address authentication method. You will need to provide us with an Internet-facing Real World IP Address from which the data requests will be made from. This method will prevent you from being able to log in to the service from any other location holding a different IP address.

I do not have a GIS system at the moment, what companies offer such a service?

We do not recommend either suppliers or software products, as the most appropriate system will depend on many factors. We are working with our partners, to ensure their systems are OS OnDemand compliant.

My GIS provider is not OS OnDemand WMS compliant, what do I do?

If your GIS provider is not OGC compliant for web services and OS OnDemand, then you may want to recommend that they apply for a OS OnDemand Developer Partner licence. Alternatively you can access the service via your Internet web browser or any of the following GIS compliant services.

Can the OS OnDemand WMS service be accessed via a web browser using Java Script like OS OpenSpace?

Yes. Web toolkits such as OpenLayers or MapFish can be used and will pull in the WMS.

What should I expect in terms of response times?

Most map requests of 500 x 500 pixels will be delivered in under two seconds. However, larger images of say a layer of OS Mastermap Topography are likely to take longer than two seconds. Where there are delays, it is advisable to check your Internet security settings.

I have received my credentials but cannot connect to the service?

Username & Passwords

  • Please not that it is not possible to append the username and password to the URL as this will not work in most web browsers
  • Please ensure the username is being entered with two leading zeros, for example 0040012345. The password is case sensitive and must be entered in CAPITALS.
  • If you are using Windows 7 the username and password must be typed in rather than cut and pasted.
  • If you are using Openlayers to create a webpage in IE8, sourcing the mapping from OS OnDemand WMS (preventing the user from having to enter the username and password each time) and overlaying with your own data, you may find the request will not return any mapping.
    This may be down to the additional security introduced with IE8 which prevents username and password details from being hard coded into the request. To get around this you could use Getmap.aspx file (authenticating proxy) which is userd to construct the request string which is then called from the html.


  • Please ensure your network, firewall etc, allows requests to the URL we have provided across all your environments. Please contact your IT department.

Authenticating Proxy

  • If you are accessing the Internet via a proxy server, it is possible you may experience problems accessing OS OnDemand. If this happens you should consult your IT department in order to achieve a connection to the service.
  • If you are using a Flash application to access OS OnDemand WMS through IE7 or above, across an authenticating proxy, the authentication details for OS OnDemand WMS will be removed. This will result in the need to re-enter the username and password. Yhis is caused by a bug in Microsoft IE. If you have this set-up oruse this combination, we would suggest you use an alternative web browser.

Web Browser issues

  • If you have installed Internet Explorer 8, the OS OnDemand WMS may no longer display the map. However, if you utilise the Developer Tools (using Tools / Developer Tools menu option [or by pressing the F12 key]) you should have a choice of three Browser Modes in the menu bar [Internet Explorer 7; Internet Explorer 8; and Internet Explorer 8 Compatibility View]. The pages will generate an error message when using Internet Explorer 8 setting - whilst the page works as expected with the other two options.

GIS issues

  • If you are using ArcGIS 9.2 it does not support HTTP basic authentication using a standard HTTP connection. We are aware that this issue has been fixed in ArcGIS 9.3 but in the meantime we suggest you embed your username and password into the URL. For example:
    http://004001234:ABCDEFGF@osondemand.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/ondemand/wms/MAP.do? Alternatively, you could use an authenticating proxy.
  • We are aware there are issues with certain GIS systems and we have been working with system suppliers to remedy this. In the meantime if you are experiencing problems, please contact you system supplier.

If you still can't access the service please contact us.

How can I get a new password?

Please contact us to generate the new password.

How can I change or confirm my IP address for OS OnDemand WMS?

Contact us for the information.

The scale at which the layers activate in ArcMap, changes based on the size of the map window being used. Is this correct behaviour?

Yes this is correct behaviour. It is a function of the way the mapping is delivered.

I have made a request to view maps in WGS84 and the mapping is slow to draw up. Why is this?

Generally, making requests in any coordinate system other than GB National Grid, can result in slower response times.

I am accessing the service using ESRI software. Why am I getting a 'layer drawing error' message?

The message appears when a layer group is requested which is outside of the scale range being viewed.

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