1.0 The map interface

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

The map interface has a number of features you can use at any time.  

See the Explanation of all the map controls article to understand what each button does. 

Understanding the Map Interface Features


The map interface is the right hand panel. If you can't see a map, try zooming out using the +/- buttons. 

Adjust the map background

  • The background BASEMAP can be changed using the map dropdown options. 
  • It starts on ROADMAP, but you can choose the following alternatives:
    • SATELLITE - a high-resolution satellite background (un-dated Google Maps imagery).
    • HYBRID - A combination of SATELLITE with the ROADMAP overlaid.
    • TERRAIN - A hillshade map that shows the topography and an indication of general landcover cover conditions.
    • NICFI - Additionally, you can view the 5m data from Planet described in this article. Note that it only covers the tropics. This data is updated on a monthly basis and shows imagery from the most recently available month.

  • There is a row of map tool icons you can select at the top left of the map interface. Hover your mouse over each tool to see what it does.

  • The Hand tool is the default (Stop drawing is the mouse-over name, but the Hand tool is easier to refer to). We recommend you always go back to the hand tool whenever you have finished using any of the other tools.
  • The Hand tool allows you to drag the map to the desired location.
  • To zoom in and out, you can scroll your mouse, or use the +/- buttons in the lower right.
  • Also in the lower right is the Full-screen mode. 
  • The latitude and longitude of the cursor position are given in the bottom left. 

Add areas of interest

  • There is a row of map tool icons you can select at the top left of the map interface. Hover your mouse over each tool to see what it does.

  • The Draw a shape and Draw a rectangle tools allow you to draw on the map.
  • The Draw a shape tool allows you to draw a polygon on the map by clicking on the map.  Double click to close the shape, or click on the first point you chose. 
  • To use the Draw a rectangle tool click on the map then drag the mouse to make the rectangle.
  • The map will automatically default back to the Hand tool once you have drawn your area.
  • You can draw multiple polygons which are assigned to each User Area.
  • To continue drawing multiple polygons without automatically resetting to the Hand tool, select the Lock button which will have appeared in the top-middle of the map when you selected either Draw a rectangle or Draw a shape.

Modify an area of interest

  • The Hand tool can be used to select a shape on the map and edit the location of the nodes/corners.
  • The User Areas option allows you to change the colour of a selected area, or add new areas. 
  • You can upload your own areas (shape files) using the upload button on the right-hand side.
  • You can also reassign a polygon to a different area using the 
    • Select your desired Area.
    • Select the Assign area tool (it looks like a paintbrush).
    • Now click on the polygon which you would like to reassign to your chosen User Area (the polygon will then change to the colour of the area chosen). 

Remove an area of interest

  • The Delete polygon tool (the trash can) can be used to delete a shape on the map by clicking it.

Adjust the order in which the outputs are layered

  • After you have run a workflow, the output layers will appear on the map.
  • Use the Layers icon to view the order of the layers.

  • The layer at the top of the list is "at the front" of all the layers viewed on the map. 
  • The layer at the bottom is behind all the other layers (and so obscured by them - you can't see the layers at the back without changing the transparency of the layers in front).
  • The two horizontal lines is the handle that allows you to drag the layers into different positions in the view order.
  • Note: The order in which the layers are displayed is automated based on how quickly the outputs are returned back to Earth Blox. This may be different from the order of the blocks in the workspace.

Adjust the transparency of the layers

  • Each layer in the list has a slider. 
  • The slider adjusts the transparency of each layer. 
  • The eye icon allows you to toggle between being visible or invisible (fully transparent). 

Add an area of interest

  • You can also use the map to draw and edit areas of interest or upload your own vector file (e.g. shapefile, geojson, KML).
  • Different areas are automatically assigned different colours.
  • You can modify the colours by clicking on the coloured circle.
  • To learn more about how to add different areas to the map, see this article on the map controls.


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