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    by David Crowther



    How do you add an ArcGIS Map Server Layer to QGIS?


    To add an ArcGIS Map Server Layer into your QGIS project follow the simple steps below:

    1 – Copy the Map Server URL

    There are multiple Map Server Layers available from the ESRI Living Atlas website:



    From the main webpage, choose Browse and Basemaps:


    Select a Basemap that you wish to show in QGIS, in this example we will choose the World Imagery Basemap. Notice that the type is TILE LAYER which means that we will get a Map Server URL.


    Having clicked on the Basemap you will View the Item Details page, with descriptions etc…


    In the bottom right of the Item Details page will be a link for the URL of this Map Server Layer.


    Select the URL link and choose the Copy URL button.

    This will generate a URL for the ArcGIS Online Map Server Layer e.g.



    2 – Create a Connection to ArcGIS Map Server Layer in QGIS

    In QGIS, use the Data Source Manager window and choose ArcGIS Map Server.


    Then choose to create a New Connection and complete the details for the ArcGIS Map Server Layer. In this case enter a Name and Paste in the URL that you Copied from Living Atlas.


    Press OK to Save the New Connection and it will now be available in the Data Source Manager. Press Connect and it will list the ArcGIS Map Server Layer/s.


    To open one of the ArcGIS Map Server Layers, select the Layer you wish to open, choose ADD and the Map Server Layer is then added to your QGIS Project. In this example we have added the World Imagery Map Layer.


    Another example of a UK specific Map Server Layer is the OS Open Background Data available within the ESRI Living Atlas.


    Copy the URL and add  a second ArcGIS Map Server Connection.


    Choose the top level Layer – Vectors – and Add this to the Map. This now gives you access to the OS Open basemapping via the ESRI Living Atlas Server.