Connect to a Custom Map Service

Adding a custom map service is available via the site settings screen. To connect Hortis to an external Tile Map Service, you will need to know the service URL and in some cases other parameters that might be relevant to access the service.

The minimum requirement is that the x,y and z parameter is included in the url (see examples below) and that the underlying map uses the Web Mercator projection (EPSG:3857) [link]. We also recommend that you familiarise yourself with any attribution requirements that might apply to the service you plan to use. 

More information about XYZ Tile Maps can be found here [link]

We have below included more details on how to connect to some well known online map services. If your favourite service is missing, let us know.

Map Service Examples

Esri ArcGIS Online

ArcGIS Online is a complete mapping and analysis solution. You can use it on its own or expand your work using other ArcGIS products. 

ArcGIS is a paid service. 

Connecting to your own ArcGIS maps

To connect to your own maps, you have to create a tile map package of your map and upload this to your ArcGIS Online account.

Before you start, make sure your map is set up with the Web Mercator projection (EPSG:3857). Please note that ArcGIS online currently does not support sharing aerial maps to "everyone". For aerial maps, consider using OpenAerialMap instead (see below).

Please follow these steps: 

  • Create a Map Tile Package with ArcGIS pro [link]. 

  • Logon to your ArcGIS online account, navigate to “Content” and click add. Select your new tile package file (.tpkx or .tpk file). 

  • With the new “Tile layer”, change “Share” to Everyone (public). [link]

  • Copy the “URL” found at the bottom right of the screen to clipboard. 

  • Paste the URL into settings in Hortis and append “/tile/{z}/{y}/{x}” at the end. 

URL Format: 

<Tile Layer URL>/tile/{z}/{y}/{x}

URL Format example (fictitious):{z}/{y}/{x}

Connecting to Esri base maps

Esri ArcGIS online also offers a number of base names of which a list can be found here [link]

Example URL for Esri World Imagery{z}/{y}/{x}

Web Map Tile Service (WMTS)

If you have a map available through WMTS, you can configure Hortis to connect to the Tilematrix endpoint. The WMTS specification page is normally available via the service home page. By accessing the WMTS specification page, navigate to the ResourceURL entry where you will find the template entry that should look something link this (This example is from an fictisous ArcGIS online service):{Style}/{TileMatrixSet}/{TileMatrix}/{TileRow}/{TileCol}.png

On ArcGIS, the default Style is named default and the default tilematrixset is named default028mm. Replace the last part of the URL after the map name with "default/default028mm/{z}/{y}/{x}", so the service URL will look something like this.,

URL Format Example (fictitious):{z}/{y}/{x}


For Google maps, use this attribution

Ⓒ Google 

For the tile URL, select one of the following:

Google Maps{x}&y={y}&z={z}

Google Satellite{x}&y={y}&z={z} 

Google Satellite Hybrid{x}&y={y}&z={z}

Google Terrain Hybrid{x}&y={y}&z={z}

Google Roads{x}&y={y}&z={z}


“Explore high-resolution aerial view maps with better quality than satellite maps and 3D data, and automated insights for governments and businesses.” 

Nearmap is a paid service which offers high resolution satellite imagery covering parts of the United States, Australia and New Zealand. 

After signing up, you will have to decide on which resource type you would like to use and procure your API KEY. 

More details about the Nearmap URL format can be found here: [link]

Nearmap URL format example:{tileResourceType}/{z}/{x}/{y}.{format}?apikey={YOUR_API_KEY}


The open collection of aerial imagery. OpenAerialMap is an open service to provide access to a commons of openly licensed imagery and map layer services. Similar to OpenStreetMap, OpenAerialMap allows everyone to contribute to and use drone and satellite aerial orthophoto imagery for free.

OpenAerialMap is a public and free aerial map hosting platform. The original copyright remains with the original source or holder of the imagery but you grant OpenAerialMap to license the imagery as CC-BY 4.0, with attribution as contributors of Open Imagery Network. All imagery is available to be traced in OpenStreetMap.

The most restrive license you can uses is CC BY-NC 4.0, allowing free non-commercial use with attribution ("© OIN contributors"). You can read more about this here: 

  • Navigate to the aerial map you are looking for. 

  • Click on the TMS link to copy the image URL. 

  • Paste the URL into Hortis Tiles URL settings field, and append .png at the end. 

  • Add attribution in accordance with their terms [link].

OpenAerialMap Example:{z}/{x}/{y}.png


Ⓒ Open Imagery Network 

If you already have a unhosted drone map, you might consider OpenAerialMap as a cost effective hosting option.

Ordenance Survey (UK)

Ordnance Survey (OS) is the national mapping agency for Great Britain.

Ordnance survey maps are available at different tiers. Although there is a free tier, you would probably need a premium or public sector plan to get access to sufficient resolution for your site. Here is a link to their technical specifications [link

To integrate Hortis with Ordnance Survey Maps, you need to sign up to be able to access the service. To sign up, visit the Ordnance Survey Data Hub page [link]

After you have signed up, 

  • Create a OS project

  • Add “OS Maps API” to the project.  

  • Select your layer for your ZXY endpoint, using the 3857 projection (Web mercator). 

    • Road 3857

    • Outdoor 3857

    • Light 3857

  • Copy the ZXY API Endpoint address and paste this into the “Tiles URL” field in the Hortis site setting screen. 



© Ordnance Survey

Stadia Maps

Stadia Maps offers location APIs for humans. Thousands of companies of all sizes use Stadia Maps to contextualize their data on a map, solve logistics problems, build fitness experiences, and more. 

Stadia maps offer a free tier and paid tiers. 

  • A list of the base maps available can be found here [link].
  • Instructions on how to correctly set up attribution [link]. 
  • More detailed documentation regarding their API [link].



© Stamen Design | © Stadia Maps

If you are using a paid service, you may need to be authenticated which requires an API key. This can be achieved by adding the API key as part of the Tiles URL. More information can be found here [link].

Havard is the author of this solution article.

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