1.0 Introduction to Earth Blox

Modified on Thu, 19 Jan 2023 at 03:05 PM

This article will explain the main elements of Earth Blox and how to navigate the browser interface.

The At a Glance document also summarises the key features in one image.


Welcome to Earth Blox

Earth Blox is a web tool that allows you to analyse spatial data in the cloud. Key things to note:

  • Most of the data is stored on Google's Earth Engine.
  • It is Google's supercomputing resource that processes your data, and allows large areas or long time series to be processed. 
  • You only upload areas of interest and download the final result.  Because it is all done "on the cloud" you don't need a fast computer and a fast internet connection will only mean your final images will download a little faster.

Finding Your Way Around

When you log in, you should see something like this:

The map on the right is where you can engage with spatial data (uploading or displaying). 

The workspace on the left is where you build the instructions and implement queries. 

The size of the windows should scroll when you resize the browser.  The bar in the middle can be used to adjust the proportional size of the two windows. 

There are four key parts to Earth Blox (see the image below).  

  1. The Map Window. The map on the right-hand side is used for selecting areas of interest and displaying the spatial output.  To find out the purpose of each of the buttons see the article that gives an explanation of all the map icons
  2. On the far left is the Toolbox.  When you click on one of the four topics in the toolbox it will expand to give you more options. From each of these, you can select individual blocks by clicking on them. 
  3. By clicking (or click-and-drag) the blocks you can make them appear in the white canvas area - the Workspace.  Here you can connect blocks to make workflows. You can also create multiple workflows, duplicate workflows, hide them, etc. You can remove items by selecting them and dragging them to the dustbin (trashcan). (Click on the bin to see what you have binned recently).
  4. The Dashboard tab is behind the map tab.  It shows tabulated or graphical output (if such output has been included in a workflow).  

First Steps

  • To learn how to use the toolbox, take a look at this Toolbox article.  This will teach you how to navigate around the Toolbox and understand the basics of the building blocks. 
  • To understand what all the buttons on the map can do, see the article that gives an Explanation of all the map icons.  There are quite a lot of buttons, so it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with all of them first. 
  • You can find out all the customisation options available on the map by looking at this article on The Map Window
  • To learn how to build a workflow, see the article on Building a Workflow.  A workflow is a combination of individual blocks that together generate instructions for handling and querying data.

The quickest way to get started is to go to the WORKFLOWS LIBRARY list at the top of the workspace and choose a pre-built workflow.  Then press the RUN WORKFLOW button. 


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