How to Use Web Map Tile Service (WMTS)

What is it?

Web Map Tile Service (WMTS) is a means of serving map layers as cached map tiles. WMTS can be considered a way to “stream” one or more orthophotos from Propeller into your GIS software of choice. 

WMTS is a Paid-premium feature. If you are interested in getting access to WMTS, please get in touch with your Customer Success Engineer.

Why is it useful?

WMTS saves users from downloading each orthophoto individually from Propeller and then uploading those orthophotos into their GIS software, which is time-consuming.

Who can access WMTS?

Portal Owners and users with Admin or Manage Access permissions can access the WMTS page. Having Manage Access permission on a subset of sites within a portal is possible. If this is the case for a particular user, they can only view/generate/delete WMTS links applicable to the site where they have Manage Access permissions.

How does it work?

1. Navigate to your user icon in the top right of the Propeller Platform and click WMTS and API.


Here, you’ll see any links that have already been created. You can copy any of the existing links or delete them. 

2. To create a new WMTS link, click +CREATE NEW.


3. Name your WMTS link and choose the desired site from the dropdown. Then click CREATE NEW WMTS LINK.


Your link is now created and can be found in the list of existing WMTS links.

Up to 30 of the most recent datasets from the selected site will be associated with the link created. When a new dataset is uploaded to this site after a link is already created, the new datasets will automatically become associated with the same link. No action is needed from the user.

If you delete a WMTS link in Propeller, it will no longer function in other GIS tools where you may have previously pasted it.


4. Copy one of the links and navigate to your GIS software of choice. Paste the link, and all the orthophotos from that site become available.

Please be careful when sharing these WMTS links, as anyone with the link can access the data directly. There is no added layer of security like usernames or passwords. Only share the links with the people you want to see the data, and we recommend avoiding sending these links over emails or messaging systems to the extent practicable.

Also note that each WMTS link is unique, even if generated for the same site. So if you accidentally share a link or suspect the link has fallen into the wrong hands, you can easily delete the link on the WMTS page in your Propeller portal settings. This will stop everyone with that particular link from accessing the data. Because of this, we recommend that different links be created for different user groups.

Many GIS tools accept WMTS links in different ways. The two videos below show the process for (1) ArcGIS and (2) QGIS. 

QGIS WMTS Import Process

ArcGIS Pro WMTS Import Process

ArcGIS Online: MapViewer

Maps From ArcGIS Pro to ArcGIS Online

ArcGIS Online Web App Builder

WMTS is supported in Web Mercator (EPSG: 3857). Setting your site's coordinate reference system (CRS) in third-party software packages may be required to align with other data, such as designs.
  • For published CRS, use the EPSG code as a guide.
  • For local CRS, depending on the software package, if supported, it may be necessary to modify the geodetic transformation path if the software isn't able to read local parameters.

Some shifts might also be observed for CRS based on the non-GRS80 ellipsoid.

WMTS was verified to function correctly on the below packages. There are likely others or different versions of the software below that also work.


  • ArcGIS Pro 3.2.0
  • ArcGIS Online Map Viewer
  • ArcGIS Online Scene Viewer (not supported)
  • ArcGIS Online WebApp Builder

QGIS 3.34.0

Global Mapper Pro v24.1 (b042723 or later builds)

Civil 3D 2023/2024 - does not support local CRS

If you have issues loading the WMTS service in your software, please try refreshing/reconnecting to the link first. If the issue persists, you can reach out to our support team for additional help by clicking the support button on the top right corner of your user portal.

I still can't do it!

We wrote these articles to equip you with everything you need to get the job done on your own, but we understand that sometimes this isn't sufficient.

If you're stuck, you can connect with our support team by clicking the support button on the top right corner of your user portal.

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