Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?
The top roadblocks to success with your MapCast subscription and how to address them. In general terms, these checklists are the most relevant questions to ask to solve the most common issues when getting started with MapCast in any type of CAD or GIS. Consult your software’s help files for specific instructions.
I Can’t Connect
1. Check the URL is correct.
You need to copy the complete URL, which is provided on your administrator’s MapCast dashboard to distribute to any data users. In general, a basic WMS URL should look like this:
If your company has a multi-user subscription, each user will have their own URL to track individual usage. Your administrator may make changes to the account from time to time. If it used to work and now it doesn’t, you may need to update your saved connection info. Ask your manager.
2. Check your URL type matches your connection type.
Your software may have several options for WMS, WMTS, and other connection types. The format of the URL you choose from the MapCast dashboard must match the connection type you choose in your software. There are a few variations to choose from depending on your software’s capabilities to read the service, version and request type, or if the information needs to be explicitly defined in the URL. Virtually all mapping applications will support one of these:
WMS (web map service – delivers one big image)
WMTS-KVP (web map tile service – delivers image in tiles)
WMTS-REST (web map tile service – delivers image in tiles)
3. Are you connected to the internet?
Common sense first. Many companies use a proxy server that can block MapCast from connecting. Your CAD or GIS software will have connection options where you can store the proxy server address, port number, and the login credentials you use to access the internet. Ask your IT person for the info.
4. Is the subscription active?
Did you pay your bill? Subscriptions typically run for one year. Your administrators will be notified in advance when the subscription is ending and can choose to renew. Otherwise, it expires and the access ends.
Nothing Draws On Screen
1. Are you making a print?
MapCast has limits on how the data can be exported. If you’re in a layout view, the service will prevent imagery from drawing if the paper size is too large. If the imagery draws normally when you switch back to the data view, this is your issue.
2. Are you zoomed out too far?
Part of the style settings in MapCast define the scale range each layer will be visible for so you’ll automatically see more detail as you zoom in and less as you zoom out. If you see MapCast as a data layer in your table of contents with the visibility checked on but the layer name is greyed out, try zooming in. Under the properties for the MapCast service, the layers will be listed. An abstract for each layer is included which lists the scale range.
3. Is your project’s coordinate system supported?
In the MapCast properties you’ll see a list of “EPSG” numbers corresponding to various common projections. For example, “NAD83 UTM Zone 17N” would be EPSG:26917, “WGS 1984 Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere” would be EPSG:3857. Make sure the coordinate system EPSG number from your project settings is listed or it won’t draw. Alternatively, under the MapCast layer’s options, the coordinate system can be set for the project from a list of valid projection options.
It Kind Of Works But…
1. It draws but looks weird.
Rotating the data frame can make vector overlays like roads and labels stretched and blurry. MapCast will display best with north at the top. Geographic projections can also make things look stretched, especially if you’re used to using Mercator.
2. It’s really slow.
If you use the WMS connection type, you can try the WMTS connection type to improve the rendering speed. You can also improve performance by caching images locally if you work in the same area without panning and zooming. Some software can support raster clipping to an extent you choose, which will prevent excess imagery from drawing beyond that extent when you zoom out.
3. Only the vector overlay data is drawing.
You can choose MapCast to render images as JPG or PNG. JPG are compressed and will therefore load more quickly than PNG, however, JPG does not allow for a transparent background. If you only see the roads and labels, check the image format is PNG with the background colour set as transparent, otherwise the background will be white, blocking your view of the imagery layers below.
4. My bandwidth is being used faster than expected.
There are a few possibilities here. Check that you’re viewing only the current imagery for a particular location. Since most coverage areas have vintage imagery going back several years, you could be wasting bandwidth by having them all draw, since you’ll only be able to see the one on top. You also may have MapCast turned on below other raster layers and not be aware that you’re consuming bandwidth since you won’t see it at all in this case. Turing the service on only when you’re actively working with it is a good habit to save bandwidth.
Another reason bandwidth sometimes disappears unexpectedly is rogue employees scraping data (which violates your EULA), or sharing the connection outside your department. Since each named user has a unique connection, the administrator can quickly determine who’s using the most.
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