The Map Interface

Modified on Fri, 19 May 2023 at 10:46 AM

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.

If you want to access all of the NICFI data then let us know via the feedback form on the Help button.

  • 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 lower 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 (to stop you from accidentally drawing more rectangles).
  • 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 + icon in the Add a study area dialogue box.
  • You can also reassign a polygon to a different area using the following steps: 
    • Select your desired Area (so the circle is highlighted).
    • 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.


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