Web Processing Services API

Last Updated: May 2017

Web Processing Services (WPS) are web services that can be used perform geoprocessing and other processing activities for apps. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has created the WPS interface standard that provides rules for how inputs and outputs for processing services should be formatted. Using the Web Processing Services API, you will be able to provide processing capabilities for your apps using any service that conforms to the OGC WPS standard. For convenience, the 52 North WPS is provided as part of the Tethys Platform software suite.

Web Processing Service Settings

Using web processing services in your app is accomplised by adding the web_processing_service_settings() method to your app class, which is located in your app configuration file (app.py). This method should return a list or tuple of WebProcessingServiceSetting objects. For example:

from tethys_sdk.app_settings import WebProcessingServiceSetting

class MyFirstApp(TethysAppBase):
    Tethys App Class for My First App.
    def web_processing_service_settings(self):
        Example wps_services method.
        wps_services = (
                description='WPS service for app to use',

        return wps_services


The ellipsis in the code block above indicates code that is not shown for brevity. DO NOT COPY VERBATIM.

Assign Web Processing Service

The WebProcessingServiceSetting can be thought of as a socket for a connection to a WPS. Before we can do anything with the WebProcessingServiceSetting we need to "plug in" or assign a WebProcessingService to the setting. The WebProcessingService contains the connection information and can be used by multiple apps. Assigning a WebProcessingService is done through the Admin Interface of Tethys Portal as follows:

  1. Create WebProcessingService if one does not already exist

    1. Access the Admin interface of Tethys Portal by clicking on the drop down menu next to your user name and selecting the "Site Admin" option.

    2. Scroll to the Tethys Service section of the Admin Interface and select the link titled Web Processing Services.

    3. Click on the Add Web Processing Services button.

    4. Fill in the connection information to the WPS server.

    5. Press the Save button to save the new WebProcessingService.


    You do not need to create a new WebProcessingService for each WebProcessingServiceSetting or each app. Apps and WebProcessingServiceSettings can share WebProcessingServices.

  2. Navigate to App Settings Page

    1. Return to the Home page of the Admin Interface using the Home link in the breadcrumbs or as you did in step 1a.

    2. Scroll to the Tethys Apps section of the Admin Interface and select the Installed Apps linke.

    3. Select the link for your app from the list of installed apps.

  3. Assign WebProcessingService to the appropriate WebProcessingServiceSetting

    1. Scroll to the Web Processing Service Settings section and locate the WebProcessingServiceSetting.


    If you don't see the WebProcessingServiceSetting in the list, uninstall the app and reinstall it again.

    1. Assign the appropriate WebProcessingService to your WebProcessingServiceSetting using the drop down menu in the Web Processing Service column.

    2. Press the Save button at the bottom of the page to save your changes.


During development you will assign the WebProcessingService setting yourself. However, when the app is installed in production, this steps is performed by the portal administrator upon installing your app, which may or may not be yourself.

Working with WPS Services in Apps

The Web Processing Service API is powered by OWSLib, a Python client that can be used to interact with OGC web services. For detailed explanations the WPS client provided by OWSLib, refer to the OWSLib WPS Documentation. This article only provides a basic introduction to working with the OWSLib WPS client.

Get a WPS Engine

Anytime you wish to use a WPS service in an app, you will need to obtain an owslib.wps.WebProcessingService engine object. This can be done by calling the get_web_processing_service() method of the app class:

from my_first_app.app import MyFirstApp as app

wps_engine = app.get_web_processing_service('primary_52n', as_engine=True)

Alternatively, you can create an owslib.wps.WebProcessingService engine object directly without using the convenience function. This can be useful if you want to vary the credentials for WPS service access frequently (e.g.: to provide user specific credentials).

from owslib.wps import WebProcessingService

wps_engine = WebProcessingService('http://www.example.com/wps/WebProcessingService', verbose=False, skip_caps=True)

Using the WPS Engine

After you have retrieved a valid owslib.wps.WebProcessingService engine object, you can use it execute process requests. The following example illustrates how to execute the GRASS buffer process on a 52 North WPS:

from owslib.wps import GMLMultiPolygonFeatureCollection

polygon = [(-102.8184, 39.5273), (-102.8184, 37.418), (-101.2363, 37.418), (-101.2363, 39.5273), (-102.8184, 39.5273)]
feature_collection = GMLMultiPolygonFeatureCollection( [polygon] )
process_id = 'v.buffer'
inputs = [ ('DISTANCE', 5.0),
           ('INPUT', feature_collection)
output = 'OUTPUT'
execution = wps_engine.execute(process_id, inputs, output)

It is also possible to perform requests using data that are hosted on WFS servers, such as the GeoServer that is provided as part of the Tethys Platform software suite. See the OWSLib WPS Documentation for more details on how this is to be done.

Web Processing Service Developer Tool

Tethys Platform provides a developer tool that can be used to browse the sitewide WPS services and the processes that they provide. This tool is useful for formulating new process requests. To use the tool:

  1. Browse to the Developer Tools page of your Tethys Platform by selecting the "Developer" link from the menu at the top of the page.

  2. Select the tool titled "Web Processing Services".

  1. Select a WPS service from the list of services that are linked with your Tethys Instance. If no WPS services are linked to your Tethys instance, follow the steps in Sitewide Configuration, above, to setup a WPS service.

  1. Select the process you wish to view.


A description of the process and the inputs and outputs will be displayed.