Problem: Map service preview is blank in ArcCatalog from an ArcGIS Server .NET map service


When trying to preview a map service in ArcCatalog, the image is blank; however, the coordinate values appear in the bottom right corner as the mouse cursor is moved around. This article provides a solution, due to a problem with the virtual directories, to the blank map preview.


ArcCatalog cannot get the map image from the virtual directory that is associated with either the output directory or cache directory.

Before proceeding, ensure that the problem is related to the virtual directory by following the instructions provided below:

1. Stop the map service through ArcCatalog or ArcGIS Server Manager.
2. Modify the output directory for the map service to 'none'.

Make this modification through ArcCatalog by going to Map Service Properties > Paramters tab, or through ArcGIS Server Manager by clicking on Edit in the Services panel and then click on Parameters in the left panel.

3. Start the map service and check the preview. Now the map service is using MIME output only. An illustration (in ArcCatalog) is provided below.

If the steps above result in a successful map image preview, then it is confirmed that the problem is associated with the virtual directories. After this diagnosis, please revert the settings back to the original settings (MIME + URL) and follow the solution below.

Solution or Workaround

There are multiple areas where permissions need to be checked. The following instructions assume that ArcGIS Server directories are in the default location, such as C:\arcgisserver, and the associated virutal directories are in the default location in IIS, such as Default Web Site.

  • Ensure that IIS has the associated virtual directories setup and functioning properly.
    - Launch the IIS console: Start > Run > Type: inetmgr
    - In the left panel, Expand the 'Deafult Web Site' node. Right-click on the arcgisoutput directory and select Properties.
    - From the Virtual Directory tab, ensure the dialog box looks like the screen shot below.

  • Ensure the following three requirements are met:
    1. Read access is required.
    2. Enable directory browsing as a test.
    3. If the output directory is on a network share, confirm the connection uses a valid user account and password.

    Once directory browsing is enabled, using an internet browser, verify that the folder can be accessed: http://localhost/arcgisoutput.

    This shows a directory listing of the output virtual directory; however, it is possible that no files are listed since the ArcGIS Server continuously cleans the output directory.

  • Ensure that the IUSR_<machine_name> has access to the output directory, since ArcCatalog makes use of this account. The IUSR_<machine_name> account can be explicity added to the arcgisoutput directory.
    - Navigate to c:\arcgisserver\arcgisoutput folder.
    - Right-click and select Properties.
    - Navigate to the Security tab and click Add.
    - Click Advanced.
    - Ensure the location has been set to the local machine and click 'Find Now'.
    - Scroll down and select the IUSR_<machine_name> and select Ok.
    - Click Ok twice to grant permissions.
  • Ensure ArcCatalog has the appropriate directories associated with the virtual directories in IIS from the Server Properties menu in ArcCatalog.
    - In ArcCatalog, right-click on the ArcGIS Server Admin (managed) connection and select 'Server Properties'.
    - Select the Directories tab.
    - Verify that the entry looks correct for the arcgisoutput directory. An example is provided below.

    -If the entry is incorrect, press the edit button and correct the entry.
  • Verify that an image is being generated under C:\arcgisserver\arcgisoutput folder, when trying to preview the service in ArcCatalog.
    If no image is created, verify that the ArcGISSOC user has access to the directories. Instructions are provided below:
    - Navigate to c:\arcgisserver\arcgisoutput folder.
    - Right-click and select Properties.
    - Navigate to the Security tab.
    - Verify that the ArcGISSOC account is listed.
    - If the account is missing, add it in the same way the IUSR_<machine_name> account was added in step/bullet 3.
    - Click Ok twice to grant permissions.

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