A map service from doesn't work in ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Explorer

Last Published: April 25, 2020


Using the Open > Open in ArcGIS Desktop option in to add a map service into ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Explorer is not successful.
In ArcMap, a new layer is added to the table of contents, but it has a broken data source and does not draw in the map.
To verify that the service works correctly, select Open > Open in If the service displays in the map, then the issue is related to the service configuration.


This is a REST configuration issue on the ArcGIS server hosting the map service. It is causing the LYR files that are automatically generated when Open is clicked in ArcGIS Desktop to use the internal URL to the server rather than the external URL. This same issue also causes failure of the links, View in ArcMap and View in ArcGIS Explorer, on the REST Services Directory page for the map service.

Solution or Workaround

This can only be fixed by the administrator of the ArcGIS server hosting the map service.

Services can still be used from a server that has this issue. Add the map service into a map or globe in ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Explorer Desktop by making a connection to the server directly. Follow the steps below:

  • Open the Details page for the map service and click the Map Contents link.
  • Copy the first part of the URL of the Map Contents page, up to and including the word 'services,' and delete '/rest.' The URL should look like this:
  • Open the Add ArcGIS Server dialog box inside ArcCatalog and paste the URL into the Server URL field. Within ArcGIS Explorer Desktop, open the Add Content dialog box and paste the URL into the GIS Services field. The server is now connected.
  • Browse to the map service.
  • Contact the owner of the server and let them know that they need to fix this configuration issue.

Article ID:000011083

  • Legacy Products
  • ArcMap
  • ArcGIS Online

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