Uploading an Area of Interest (e.g. Shapefiles)

Modified on Mon, 19 Jun 2023 at 03:21 PM

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While you can draw your own area of interest on the map using the drawing tools, often you will want to upload your own pre-defined area.  This article describes how to do that. 

Uploading your own area of interest


Step 1: Make sure your file type is compatible

  • You can upload any of the following file types: Shapefile (zipped), KML file, KMZ file, GeoJSON file.
  • All of these file formats store vector data. That is, they contain lines, points, and polygons. They can also store attribute data so that these polygons can be labelled. 
    • The shapefile is the ESRI open standard file format. This is usually saved as a single compressed zip file that contains several different files. In Earth Blox, you should only upload the zip file, not the individual files, and not the individual file with the .shp file extension. 
    • A KML file is a Keyhole Markup Language file. This format was initially designed for Google Earth. You can create new KML files yourself using Google Earth. 
    • KMZ files are compressed (zipped) KML files. 
    • GeoJSON is another open standard file format for saving vector data.

Step 2: Upload your area file

  • Select the layers button to open the Areas dialogue box, as shown below.
  • Click on the + to open the options, which are:
    • Draw new area (using the draw tools at the top of the map window).
    • Upload polygon (which opens a window that allows you to select a file from your local machine). 
    • Choose area (which offers a list of countries, or access to saved polygons).

  • Note that the upload dialogue box has a option to "Upload area file to long term storage (recommended for large or complex geometries)". 
  • If you leave the box unchecked (simple upload):
    • The file will load directly into the map.
    • It will be deleted when you exit the platform.
    • If using the simple upload, we recommend uploading your polygon as a GeoJSON.
  • If you check the box for long-term storage:
    • The file will be uploaded to your Earth Blox account storage, and will always be available to use.
    • Once it is successfully uploaded it will be available to select in your ASSETS tab.
    • You can check the upload progress in the TASKS tab (above the map window).
    • If using long-term storage then we recommend uploading your polygon as a Shapefile.

Step 3: Use the area in your map

  • If you upload your area directly to the map:
    • The area will automatically appear on the map. 
    • It will be assigned an area number and colour in the Study Area list.
    • Click on the coloured circle to change the colour assigned to this shape. 
  • If you upload the area to storage:
    • You will find it in the ASSETS tab. Click on the map icon. 
    • It will give you the option to either assign it to an area number already on the list or to create a new area.
    • Selecting either will make it appear on the map. 
    • If it is assigned to an existing area it will have the same colour as other shapes in that area group. 
    • If you choose to Create a new area the shape will appear on the map but in a different colour than the other areas, and with a newly assigned number label. 


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