1.0 Explanation of the map controls

Modified on Thu, 19 Jan 2023 at 03:06 PM

The map interface has a number of icons that allow you to control the properties of the background map, the data displayed on it and the areas of interest.  

This page describes the function of each of the control buttons. 

The Map Controls


Icons 1: Areas of interest and drawing on the map

Note that the latitude and longitude of the cursor are given in the lower left hand corner of the map interface (see the arrow in the image below).

Hand Tool. (Stop drawing). This allows you to drag and pan around the map, and navigate your way around the outputs or imagery.  We recommend you always return to this tool after using any of the other map tools.  You can also use this tool to select existing polygons on the map and adjust their vertices (corners).  Selecting this tool will also stop any drawing activity.
Draw a shape.  Select this tool to draw an irregular polygon on the map.  Click on the map to start the shape. Click again where you want to place the next vertex (corner). On the last corner, double-click to close the shape.  Alternatively, when ready to close the shape, move the cursor close to the starting point and it will automatically link to the first point. Then click to close the shape. You will note that when you are finished drawing the polygon the tool selection automatically goes back to the Hand tool.  To keep drawing shapes, click the Lock button at the top (which appears when you click the drawing tool). This allows you to keep drawing shapes until you unlock it, or select another tool. 
Draw a rectangle. Click and hold your mouse on the map to set a corner and drag your mouse until you have the rectangle of choice, then release the mouse button.  Like the Draw a Shape above, you will see a Lock option appear when you select this tool. This allows you to keep drawing rectangles until you are ready to move on. 
Draw a line.  A line differs from a polygon because it doesn't need to close the shape.  This is useful for tracking linear features in the data that you may need to use again, or use in other software. The Download line option (see below) allows you to save it. Please note that lines are not used in any analyses.
Delete a polygon. To delete an individual shape, select this tool and then click on the shape.  Remember to select the Hand tool after you have done deleting shapes to avoid accidentally deleting something you want.
Assign area.  You can have different areas on the map. They are numbered consecutively and have different colours (see the User Areas below). All polygons and shapes that are the same colour on the map are the same "area".  You can upload polygons or draw additional areas, but you can also assign an individual shape to an area group by using this tool.  Select the area group in the User Areas list, and then select this tool. Any shape you now click will become part of that area group.  
Download line.  If you want to download a line (in geojson format) then click on this tool, and then click on the line you want to download. It will ask you to give the file a name. It will then download the file. 
Map measurement tools.  This tool lets you make measurements on the map.  If you click a series of points without closing the shape you will get linear measurements.  Each segment of the shape will be annotated with the distance of that segment. Each vertex is annotated with the cumulative distance from the start, so that the final point is the total distance. If you close the shape, the annotations are the area and the perimeter. The units are m (or km). 
When there is a shape on the map, it will be listed as an area under User Areas.  Shapes are grouped as areas by colour and a designated number.   You can add a new area group by clicking on the +. It will be listed with a new number and colour. Since this new area group is now selected, any new shapes on the map will belong to this area group.  To change area group, just select it.  The Assign area tool above will assign a shape to the area group selected. 

Icons 2: Viewing the data output on the map

The drop-down select provides the background.  The default is ROADMAP.  See the support article on the Map Interface for more information. 

Clear map.  WARNING! This button clears the entire map. If you want to start afresh, this is the button to choose (rather than deleting areas one by one).  But it will delete everything, and you can't undo this action. 
Save. This button allows you to save a PNG image file of what you see on the map.  
Upload area.  This button allows you to upload your own areas (vector format). For more details, see the support article entitled Uploading your own area of interest. 
Layers.  Each output from a workflow is called a layer.  This button toggles on and off the detailed information about each layer.
Toggle visibility of layers. The slider button allows you to vary the transparency of each layer, but this button allows you to quickly switch the visibility of the layer on and off.  
Rearrange layer order.  The name displayed will be the default or the one you gave it in the relevant block. Hover your mouse over it to see the full name.  The layers are viewed from the top of this list, downwards. That means that a layer at the top of the list is the front layer, and the other layers are behind it. The bottom layer is right at the back.  If you want to change the order of the layers, click and drag the layer using this handle to move it to the preferred position.  See also: Working with layers on the map

Icons 3: The legend

Legend.  Use this button to toggle on and off the legend for the data layers available on the map interface. If there is more than one map layer, then the different legends can be selected using the tabs. 

Icons 4: Zooming

Zoom in. Click here to zoom into the map.  If you have a scroll button on your mouse (or scroll function on your touchpad) this will also zoom you in and out.
Zoom out. Click here to zoom out of the map.  If you have a scroll button on your mouse (or scroll function on your touchpad) this will also zoom you in and out.
Toggle full-screen view.  You can view Earth Blox in full-screen mode, or return it to window view mode, by selecting each of these buttons (the second button only appears when you have gone to full screen). 


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