A step-by-step guide for connecting to LDS Web Feature Services (WFS) in ArcGIS Desktop.

For more help with ArcGIS you can consult the official ArcGIS support documentation.

Accessing LDS web services

The first step in accessing LDS web services is to create a web services or API key. These keys are codes (such as abcdefgh123456789) unique to each LDS user, and are used to simplify the process of accessing web services.

How to use LDS Web Feature Services (WFS) in ArcGIS

The following process is performed using ArcGIS Desktop10.5

Tip: Setting a limit on your WFS request

Some LDS layers (e.g. the Primary Parcels layer) are too big to load in ArcMap without first setting a limit. Often if you won't set a limit and try to load large LDS layers you may encounter a HTTP 504 timeout error.

There are a few ways to set a limit within ArcGIS, including putting a scale dependency on the display of the layer or by setting a maximum number of features that will be requested (which is explained  as part of the step-by-step progress).

You can also create a custom filter to limit the WFS request, for example, by feature type or bounding box extent. See our documentation on WFS filtering. You can find more information about these filtering options on our page about WFS related timeout errors.

Set a scale dependency

Because ArcMap normally tries to display layers as soon as they’re added to the tree, it can be a good idea to first add a Group Layer, set a scale dependency on it, and then add the WFS layer to the group. Click OK

Screenshot of window used to create a new Group Layer

Before you start

Before you can use WFS in ArcGIS you need to ensure that the Data Interoperability extension is installed. If it is, you’ll see an Interoperability Connections folder in the Catalog tree. Although this is an optional licensed extension, the WFS functionality is free.

Screenshot of window showing Interoperability Connections folder in Catalog tree


  1. To begin the process of accessing LDS WFS, double click Add Interoperability Connection:
    Screeshot of Catalog Tree showing 'Add Interoperability Connection'
  2. Click the arrow button in the Format field to open the FME Reader Gallery:
    Screenshot showing drop down field for Format
  3. Select WFS and click OK:
    Screenshot of FME Reader Gallery window showing WFS selected
  4. Paste the WFS URL for the LINZ Data Service in the following format:

    This URL will provide you with a listing of all WFS-enabled datasets on the LINZ Data Service. You can also create connections to individual datasets. See the Services tab of any vector dataset, for the layer-specific WFS URL. For example, the following WFS URL is for the NZ Place Names (NZGB) dataset:

    Important: The default version for LDS Web Feature Services is WFS 2.0. You can choose an alternative WFS version to suit your version of ArcGIS from the Parameters option. For versioning help, see our guides to versioning and axis orders.

    Then click Parameters...

    Screenshot showing Parameters button in the &#039;Interoperability Connection&#039; window
  5. Under Constraints click the ... button next to the Feature Types field to get a list of all the LINZ Data Service WFS layers:
    Screenshot of Parameters window
    Screenshot of &#039;Select Feature Types&#039; window
  6. To filter the list, type part of the layer name you’re interested in. Use keywords such as ‘road’, ‘address’ or ‘parcel’.
  7. Select the layer or layers you want and click OK. Although it is possible to select multiple layers, in practice ArcGIS is often more responsive if only one layer is selected per connection.
  8. If you’re only wanting to test that the connection is working you can limit the size of the WFS response by entering a Max Features number:
    Screenshot of Constraints section showing Max Features field highlighted
  9. If you want all records, make sure Max Features is blank. For large layers, specifying a Start Index and Count is recommended. The Start Index should always be 0 and the count within the range of 1000 to 10,000. This causes ArcGIS to get records in a series of smaller requests (or pages) as defined by the count, reducing the chance of getting timeout errors. Note: This feature is only available when using WFS version 2.0.0.
    Screenshow of Constraints section with Max Features left blank
  10. Click OK on the two open windows. The WFS will be added under the Interoperability Connections. If you wish, the connection can be renamed to something other than the ArcGIS default:
    Screenshow of Catalog Tree window with new Connection


Reference Category: Web services
Reference Tags: Esri, ArcGIS, Arcmap, Web feature services
Last Updated: 
31 July 2018