Quick Start Guide

Modified on Fri, 28 Jul 2023 at 12:18 PM

This article does exactly as the name suggests, it is a guide to help you get started quickly with Earth Blox.

To dig into these topics in more depth, please look at the other articles in our Knowledge Hub.

Table of contents

Welcome to Earth Blox

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

  • Most of the data is stored on Google's Earth Engine, so you don't have to store any data locally. 
  • Google's supercomputing resource processes your data and allows large areas or long time series to be processed, not your own computer.
  • 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 or a fast internet connection (although if you have a faster internet connection your final results will download quicker and the map outputs will load quicker on your screen).

Finding Your Way Around

  • The Projects page is the homepage of the Earth Blox app. This is where you can create, manage and delete projects.
  • A "project" is what we call a discrete collection of instructions that provide a solution of some kind. 
  • We have provided some template projects to help you quickly find some pre-built solutions. 
  • To explore these templates, click on See all template projects in the Getting started section, or click Create new project > From template.
  • Any files you upload to Earth Blox reside in the Assets page.
  • Click on the Areas tab to see areas of interest that you have uploaded.
  • Click on the Datasets tab to see raster images that you have uploaded.
  • GeoTIFF files that you’ve exported from your projects reside in the Exports page.

You can read a more detailed welcome guide here.

Once you have started to create a project, you can find your way around the project page.

  • 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 workflows for your project and implement instructions and queries. 
  • On the far left is the Toolbox.  When you click on one of the headings in the toolbox it will expand to give you more options. From each of these, you can select individual blocks by clicking on them.
  • The Dashboard tab is behind the map tab.  It shows tabulated or graphical output (if such output has been included in a workflow).

You can read a more detailed project guide here.

Step 1: Select or upload an Area of Interest

  • Click the + Add Area from the top-left of the map.
  • You can select either:
    • Draw area: Draw a new directly onto the map using the tools at the top of the map (it defaults to a rectangle, but you can also choose the polygon option from the map toolbar at the top of the map).
    • Upload new area: Upload a file from your local device (such as a shapefile, GeoJSON, KML, or KMZ).
    • Choose from Assets: This allows you to select from either a list of country boundaries, or use your existing assets (if you have uploaded them previously).

  • Once you have selected your area, it will appear on the map, colour coded to the list of areas.

Find out more about the map controls here, and  more information about uploading your own polygon here.

Step 2: Build your workflow and set your parameters

  1. Select the data you want to use from the Use this Dataset block in the Input toolbox. Then select the dataset you want to use by using the searching icon.
  2. Select your study area by using the Select Area of Interest block within the Filter section of the toolbox. Drag it into your workflow, and then select your study area.
  3. Select a time period by using the Select Time Period block within the Filter section of the Toolbox. Drag it into your workflow and then choose the time period you want to analyse.
  4. Collate your data into time periods by using the Aggregate Images in Time block within the Combine section of the Toolbox. Drag it into your workflow and choose how you would like to aggregate your data over time.
  5. To perform different types of analysis, you can make use of the blocks found in the Calculate or Classify sections of the toolbox. Select the type of analysis you would like to perform, and add this to your workflow.
  6. Finally, add an output block from within using Table of Map Layer blocks. To visualise data on the map select the Add Map Layer block. Drag it into your workflow and then choose how you would like to visualise your data. By selecting the options icon you will be able to adjust how the data appears. Use the Add Table block to display tables and graphs.
  7. If a red triangle appears, you are not yet ready to run the workflow. Click on the red triangle and a text bubble will appear telling you what you are missing. Follow the guidance in the text bubble.
  8. Your workflow is now complete and ready to run.

To learn how to build a workflow in more detail, you can read our full guide on building a workflow here.

Step 3: Run and analyse on the map or dashboard

  • Run the workflow by clicking on the RUN WORKFLOW button at the bottom-right of the workspace.

  • Earth Blox will now process your workflow, and when it has finished the outputs will become available on the map.

  • If you have included the Add Table block in your workflow, then this data will appear on the dashboard. This data can be downloaded directly to your desktop.

This guide was designed to get you started with Earth Blox quickly. To go into any of the subjects in more detail, please follow the links to the additional articles. Or follow the breadcrumb trail at the top of this page to view all our Knowledge Hub articles.

If you have any additional questions then you can contact our Support Team by choosing the "Submit a ticket" button at the top-right of this page, or by emailing support@earthblox.io

We always track the feedback you give us on these support articles so that 

we can continue to improve how we help you. Please let us know if you found this one helpful.

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