Testing ArcGIS REST Services

ESRI has made testing an ArcGIS REST Service somewhat easy. The REST services provide plenty of data in HTML format, as well as forms for testing input. But, there are some improvements that we can make. I’ve created a set of tools to work with ArcGIS Server. Testing ArcGIS REST Services just got easier through ESRI_REST_Diagnostics (github).

ArcGIS REST Service tested
Example of the Spatial Reference Comparison tool, part of the ESRI REST Diagnostics


A year ago, I was on a small team working on a property search website. I worked on the front end, while my co-worker handled the database work. In the middle of the project, our client submitted a bug report stating that some of the search results weren’t showing. Both my colleague and I were sure that each of our process worked, but we needed a way to determine where the problem was. Since our website referred to ArcGIS Server for data and various configuration items, I needed a way to test the ArcGIS REST service endpoint. And that’s how my ESRI_REST_Diagnostic tools were born.


The ESRI_REST_Diagnostics are a set of JavaScript bookmarklets that let you test ArcGIS Server services in the browser. They’ve been tested in most major desktop browsers (IE8+, Chrome, Firefox).


Installation is pretty easy. The hardest part may be getting your bookmarks to show on your browser window. Once you’ve mastered that, you can open the bookmarklet link page in your browser. From there, save the links as bookmarks, either by dragging them to your bookmark bar, or right clicking and adding them to your favorites.

Testing an ArcGIS REST Service

When you want to test ArcGIS REST Services, enter the url for the service in your browser. Some tools, like the Spatial Reference Comparison tool, work at the rest service folder level. Others, like the Layer Data Extraction tool, work at the map service level. Then, you have specialty tools for looking at individual fields within a map service layer, like the Query Field tester and the Query Helper.

The tools have all been built with JavaScript. Some require no third party libraries. Others only require ESRI’s ArcGIS API for JavaScript. Many of the tools can be installed in secure places, as long as JavaScript is allowed to run in bookmarks.

In future blogs, I’ll review the individual tools and explain their uses. If you find these tools useful, let me know. And if you have any ideas on improvements, I’m open to those as well.

2 thoughts on “Testing ArcGIS REST Services

  1. Interesting…. Have not had a chance to test/use these tools yet but it reminds me a short project I built up awhile back that maybe you can could expand on.

    We had an issue where a map service was apparently not responding to a REST request from a mapping solution, ActiveG, which provides mapping to Maximo, a big IBM asset/work order program. This lack of response supposedly took down our Maximo server which is a big deal.

    This got me thinking about how to quickly and easily know if a service is active. So I wrote a simple python script that queries a known REST end point on a known map service and returns known data.

    This could be used as a very primitive watchdog timer.

    Which got me thinking about how one could build a type of poor man’s Optimzer (from Lattitude Geographics) or a type of Serf (from Hashicorp) for ArcServer where you query a server and send out emails (or some notification) if things are not working or returning bad data.

    Of course, to be versatile such a tools needs to be generic and not have hard coded values.

    I wonder if you don’t have the basic skeleton of such an app in this tool?

    1. Great ideas. I was thinking about that, in light of a demonstration I saw at the ESRI Developer’s Summit. They showed how to use NodeJS to update ArcGIS Online through REST. They also showed how you could launch either a Node or Python instance on Amazon Web services to make the calls every 15 seconds (or once a day). The combination of that service, plus some of these tools, could make something like you said.

      It’s good to see that great minds think alike.

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