National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

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About WCS

A WCS provides access to coverage or gridded datasets in forms that are useful for client-side rendering. The WCS may be compared to the OGC Web Feature Service (WFS) and the OGC Web Map Service (WMS). As with WMS and WFS service instances, a WCS allows clients to choose as much as as little of the available information as needed. There are three Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) functions needed to retrieve gridded dataset information.

getcapabilities -- delivers an XML-encoded description of service properties and the data holdings offered by the server inquired

describeCoverage -- delivers XML-encoded descriptions of coverages (Generally speaking information such as the spatial extensions (x, y and z), time, the projection of the data, supported output formats, resolution of data, relevant EPSG codes, lat/long ranges are outputs of a describeCoverage request)

getCoverage -- delivers a coverage (or part thereof), either as original data or processed, in some suitable data format. The output from a getCoverage request is typically a SOAP with attachment, with the attachment being the requested gridded dataset

WCS requests and responses can make use of one of the following protocols:

  • GET/KVP: using the HTTP GET protocol for sending key-value pair (KVP) encoded requests and receiving XML metadata and binary coverage data.
  • POST/XML: using the HTTP POST protocol for transferring XML data and binary coverage data.
  • SOAP/XML: using the SOAP protocol for transferring XML data and binary coverage data.

Web Coverage Services