December 2021

Using Georeferenced Layers in ArcGIS

This guide explains how to add georeferenced maps into ArcGIS as either XYZ or WMTS tilesets.

View a Brief layers list or Where to Find Layer URLs (in our Explore Georeferenced Maps viewer).

Once you've selected a map, copy the associated WMTS or XYZ URL depending on your choice of method (see below). Next, launch ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Online as appropriate:

Adding WMTS Tilesets in ArcGIS Desktop

  1. From the Standard Toolbar, select the Add Data icon (+ symbol over a yellow diamond).
    QGIS interface showing Add Data icon
  2. A new Add Data dialog box should open. From the Look in drop-down menu select GIS Servers.
    QGIS interface displaying add Data dialogue box with drop-down menu
  3. Select Add WMTS Server and click Add.
    QGIS interface showing GIS servers in Add Data dialog box
  4. Add the WMTS URL and press OK. To find URLs view our Brief layers list or read Where to Find Layer URLs (in our Explore Georeferenced Maps viewer).
    QGIS interface showing WMTS URL dialog box
  5. Select the newly created WMTSGate from the Add Data dialog box and press Add.
    QGIS interface showing Add Data dialog box with new WMTS Gate
  6. Select the listed map layer (in this case great_britain_1940s) and press Add.
    QGIS interface showing map file from URL ready to add to project
  7. Your map should now be added to your project and appear as a layer in the table of contents.
    QGIS interface showing added WMTS Layer

Adding XYZ Tilesets in ArcGIS Online

  1. Go to ArcGIS Online.
  2. To add layers you must be logged into an account. Select login or sign-up to create an account.
  3. Select Add from the left-hand side bar and choose Tile layer.
    ArcGIS Online interface showing Add tile layer feature
  4. A new dialog box should appear. Enter your map's XYZ URL and write a suitable title. An attribution must also be added. Press Add to map when finished. To find URLs view our Brief layers list or read Where to Find Layer URLs (in our Explore Georeferenced Maps viewer).
    ArcGIS Online interface showing Add tile layer dialog box
  5. Your georeferenced map should now be added to your project.
    ArcGIS Online interface showing georeferenced map added

Adding WMTS Tilesets in ArcGIS Pro

To add a WMTS tileset in ArcGIS Pro please read ESRI's instructions to Add WMTS Services in ArcGIS Pro.


View related pages:

How to find URLs of georeferenced layers:

View our Guide to re-using georeferenced maps.

If you have further suggestions or comments on this guide, please contact us at maps@nls.uk.