Mapping for Beginners
Your Guide to Getting Started With
If you have a
set of data that you’d like to place on a map for beautiful visualisation or to
help with decision-making, Azimap is for you. What’s more, you don’t need to be
an expert to use our software!
We know how
daunting Azimap can seem at first, so be sure to make your way through this
guide before getting started with Azimap…
your data and how to use it with Azimap
(or location) data
the basics right
of maps you can create, and when to use them
type, i.e. line, point or polygon
i. Spatial analysis
ii. Spatial data
Take a look at
your dataset before you start – this will help you determine exactly the kind
of map you can create and the best way to upload it. Common datasets that our customers usually have
(or location) data – this could include coordinates or longitude and latitude.
information – this could be one or many of the following: first line of
address, postcode, county/state, town, etc.
‘live’ database – a database where location data is updated in real-time and is
typically hosted on a SQL server.
data yet – if you have nothing yet but a big idea, then no problem. Azimap will allow you to collect and input
your data directly onto a map.
Now, we’ll go
into a bit more detail about each type of dataset, how Azimap deals with it and
how to use it to create a successful map.
(or location) data
or longitude and latitude data usually fall under this category.
This is the simplestr type of data to upload onto Azimap if you have it, as it requires the least
work when uploading. It’s pretty easy to just upload your data and go, though
it might need a bit of extra configuration. Read this guide on importing your data to find out how.
The best part
is, even with our free trial version,
you can upload unlimited spatial data (so long as it falls within the other
constraints of our trial version).
can map one or many of the following: first line of address, postcode,
county/state, town, etc.
This is pretty
self-explanatory. If you have any kind
of address information, it can be uploaded and mapped easily with Azimap. As
with your spatial data, it requires very little work to upload.
To use this
feature, you’d choose the GEOCODE ADDRESSES import option when creating your layer.
hint is, before you
upload your file, make sure that your primary field that you would like
Azimap to base your map on, is named ‘Address’. For example, if you want the postcodes in
your database to be mapped, rename your postcode field to ‘Address’.
One drawback to
the GEOCODE ADDRESSES option, is that on any plan, the max allowance is 5,000 addresses, depending on your plan. You’ll need to upgrade for more or learn to digitise your addresses yourself . It’s unusual that our customers would
reach this limit, but please bear this in mind and plan accordingly.
Read this guide on geocoding addresses to find out more.
This is a
database where location data is updated in real-time and is typically hosted on
a SQL server. (MS SQL or PostgreSQL)
This is a
little more advanced and requires your data to be hooked up to a ‘live’
database through a SQL server. Typically,
this option is only used by customers who know a lot about what they’re doing! This option is available to professional and enterprise customers.
Read this guide on linking external data to find out
If you have
nothing yet but a big idea, then no problem.
Azimap will allow you to collect your data directly onto a map.
When creating a
new layer, by selecting the ‘new layer’ option instead of one of the import
options, you’ll create a new blank layer that you can work on. In this
instance, all you’ll need is your idea and a plan for the data that you want to
capture, i.e. the ‘attributes’.
basically fields of data that you’ll be recording. For example, let’s say you want to map a
streetlamp inspection in your council area.
Your attributes might be:
of any damage
Read this guide on creating a new Azimap layer to find
layers – your first step
If you’ve never
used the Azimap technology before, you’ll probably be wondering where on earth
to start. We’ve seen the same mistakes
happening over and over with new users, so we’ve created this to help make getting
started that little bit easier.
section 1, you’ll know exactly what type of data you have, so now you need to put
that data onto a layer.
fall into the empty map trap! It is
possible to create an empty map first, but we strongly recommend starting by
importing your data/creating a new layer (and add to a map later), as there’s
very little you can do with an empty map.
When you log
into Azimap, go to the DATASETS section on your main navigation bar. Press the CREATE DATASET button to enter the wizard.
stage 1 of the wizard:
above when we learned about the different types of data we could import into
Azimap? We’ll now show you how to import each type.
(or location) data – You’ll pick IMPORT LAYER
information – Choose GEOCODE ADDRESSES
‘live’ database – Pick the EXTERNAL DATA option
data yet – Create a NEW LAYER
lots of guides to take you through the next steps for each of these options,
but hopefully you’ll end up with a new layer that you can work with! Hurrah!
really helpful to organise your data and can help show relationships between
your data too. Adding two or more layers
together can help you visualise and analyse your data better, spot trends,
etc. Let’s look at some examples:
to separate different data categories
example, we can see that the editor has used Azimap to map out the key
historical archaeological locations in NI.
all key historical archaeological locations, the different types been separated
out into different layers and given distinct keys.
layers can be seen in the top right-hand corner of the map. We’ve selected the layers named ‘Defence
Heritage Points’ and ‘Listed Buildings’.
You can turn any of these layers on or off at any point, allowing you to
see, for example, just the listed buildings.
to map routes in relation to points or features
example, the editor has used Azimap to map out two running routes and added in
the start and finish lines as features. Each running route is on a different
layer and the features on another.
That’s 3 layers in total. It’s
easy to see how they all lie in relation to each other and the layers can be
switched on or off.
other layers we could add to this map might be water points, toilet stops or
first aid points (for a longer run). We
could also get road work or street lighting data from the local authority to
help with route planning.
in relation to features or points
In this example
the user has created a sales territory map.
On one layer, there are boundaries showing the territory of each sales
agent. On the other layer there are points showing each local council. It’s easy to see which council falls under
You might also
like to use layers on your map to compare the same set of data for different
The number of
layers you have per map depends on the plan you have. With the Azimap free trial, you can add up to
2 layers per map.
of maps you can create, and when to use them
A boundary map
does exactly what it says on the tin – it marks boundary lines such as states,
counties, countries, etc.
This type of
map is particularly useful when you have data that you want to map within
example of a boundary map that we have designed. This shows the 2017-2018 top google searched NFL
playoff teams by us county.
maps show linked data as colours. They are shaded in using one colour,
where the darker shades represent high numbers and the lighter
shades represent low numbers. A choropleth map needs a key
to explain what the different shades mean.
It differs to a
heatmap because with a choropleth map the shading occurs within geographic
boundaries, whereas a heatmap doesn’t utilise boundary information.
AnyChart.com, choropleth maps are appropriate for indicating differences in
land use, like the amount of recreational land or type of forest cover.
You can use a
choropleth map when your data:
1) is attached
to enumeration units (e.g., counties, provinces, countries)
to show rates or ratios (never use choropleth with raw data/counts)
3) is something
that can be measured anywhere in space (even 'zero' is a valid measurement).
datasets appropriate for choropleths:
map of income tax rates in each country
of deaths per 500,000 in 2015, reported by USA
showing the percentage change in solved to unresolved cases from 1995 to 2015
in the UK
map of the percentage of population over 90 years old, reported by Canada
example of a choropleth map we designed.
Each colour represents the main industrial use for that pocket of land
in the Kilcullen area.
Wikipedia, a heat map (or heatmap) is a data visualization technique
that shows magnitude of a phenomenon as colour in two dimensions.
in colour may be by hue or intensity, giving obvious visual cues
to the reader about how the phenomenon is clustered or varies over space.
differs from a choropleth map because with a choropleth map the shading occurs
within geographic boundaries, whereas a heatmap doesn’t utilise boundary
example of a heatmap we’ve created, showing the concentration of nuclear
of when a heatmap might be useful include when you want to visualise densities
of a certain feature, geographic points and useful for business analysis and demographics
mapping. For example:
lane camera density
you can create a picture map. This is
where you can attach photographs or images to a feature or point, and it will
enhance your dataset. Photo maps are good to use when you have some nice images
that you want to display, or when attaching a photo is easier than writing a
description of the object.
The map will
display a number of points, and the picture will display when you click on the
would be useful anywhere you think images might enhance your dataset, for example:
a map of tourist attractions in a given area
of surveys or work done
example of a picture map we’ve created, showing pictures of the tourist
attractions in Edinburgh:
map will show you the predominant result from a set of data, within a given
area (where each result is given a different colour). Furthermore, the transparency of the colour
provides an indication of how predominant the result was in relation to
maps would be useful in any situation where you want to compare results of
similar data on a map. Arcgis suggests
using a predominance map any time ‘you see multiple columns of data that share
a common subject and unit of measurement’. for example:
crops in an area
example of a predominance map we’ve created, showing the UK election results in
route mapping tool allows you to quickly create optimised travel routes.
This type of
map is useful when you need help to improve planning and reduce the time spent travelling between destinations. For
example, planning a delivery route or useful for a travelling salesperson to
plan their day.
Attributes are basically the fields of data that
you’ll be recording. If you were
importing your data from an Excel spreadsheet, an attribute would be one
of the fields in the spreadsheet. For
example, let’s say you want to map a streetlamp inspection in your council
area. Your attributes might be:
of any damage
According to Wikipedia, a buffer in GIS
is a zone around a map feature measured in units of distance or time. A buffer
is extremely useful for proximity analysis.
In Azimap, a buffer
is an area outlined by a predetermined distance from a given point.
A dataset is defined as a
collection of related sets of information that is composed of separate elements
but can be manipulated as a unit by a computer.
In the context of Azimap, your dataset will be your file that you
import, whether it’s Excel, Shape, CSV, TAB, KML or GeoTIFF files.
To digitise is
to convert analogue data into digital form. If you’ve ever turned physical
papers into electronic files, switched from cassette tapes to MP3s, or moved
from old style camera film to digital photos, then you have digitised your
data. In the context of the Azimap DIGITISE
function, it allows you to place your data onto the map manually, where you
know the physical location/address.
type, i.e. line, polygon and point
Azimap, you can represent your data on your map with three different feature
Points – A point is a small single
feature that you can place on a map, such as an address/location, a small
landmark (such as a building), a shop, etc. You can use points to map
Lines - Represent the shape and location of
geographic objects, such as street centerlines and streams, too narrow to
depict as areas. Lines are also used to represent features that have
length but no area, such as contour lines and boundaries. Use lines to
represent data such as walking, running or driving routes; streams or rivers;
– A polygon is a
many-sided area feature that represents the shape and location of homogeneous
feature types such as states/county borders, or land-use zones. Polygons can also be used to map areas
of larger buildings or landmarks like Grand Canyon or a museum building, for
Wikipedia, Geocoding is the process of taking input text, such as an
address or the name of a place; and returning a latitude/longitude location on
the Earth's surface for that place. In Azimap, the GEOCODING
function allows you to input a file with no GIS location data (i.e.
longitude/latitude or coordinates) and it’ll be placed directly onto the map. It simply needs to have address information
in the file, with your main field to be mapped as labelled as ‘Address’.
NB. Note that
there are only a limited number of addresses can be geocoded with each package,
Starter – 1,000
With the Azimap
free trial, you are trialing the Pro package,
therefore you will get 5,000 geocodes to use for the month.
A map layer defines
how a GIS dataset is symbolised and visualised in your map view.
A layer represents geographic data, such as a particular theme
of data. Each map layer is
used to display and work with a specific GIS dataset.
Layers are a really helpful way to organise
your datasets and can help show relationships between your data too. Adding two or more layers together can
help you visualise and analyse your data better, spot trends, etc. For example, you might use layers to:
different data categories
routes in relation to points or features
boundaries in relation to features or points
the same set of data for different years
is defined as a plane figure with at least three straight sides and angles, and
typically five or more.
According to Wiki.gis.com, in GIS, a polygon is used to
represent the shape and location of different types of data. For example, a
lake, a city block, or a patch of vegetation, can all be represented by polygons
on a map layer. When GIS software is used to draw the outline of a lake on a
map, the resulting shape is known as a polygon. The term ‘area’ is also
used sometimes, instead of polygon.
is one of three feature types – others are line and point – with which almost
all spatial data is depicted in GIS. Polygons, lines, and points are
invariably depicted as vector data, as opposed to raster data.
simply, spatial analysis is fancy way of saying you’re analysing your
data on a map. (Spatial referring to the space.)
analysis is a process
of modelling, examining, and interpreting model results useful for evaluating
suitability and capability, for estimating and predicting, and for interpreting
example, in this Azimap guide, we’ve used the SPATIAL ANALYSIS
any nuclear power stations that share any portion of space in two intersecting
nuclear power stations within a given radius
down into the specifics such as searching for any nuclear reactors that are
gas-cooled within a given radius
analyses we could have run include:
Overlaps - Returns a result if the geometries share
space, are of the same dimension, but are not completely contained by each
Within - Returns a result if the geometry A is
completely inside geometry B.
Contains - Returns a result if and only if no
points of B lie in the exterior of A, and at least one point of the interior of
B lies in the interior of A.
Touches - Returns a result if the geometries
have at least one point in common, but their interiors do not intersect.
many more advanced analyses.
Drive time analysis - Creating
drive-time polygons could be useful for:
where to put new schools or other facilities; arranging meet up times, etc.
Read more in this guide .
Proximity searching –
Proximity search is an easy
search to run and can be used for so many purposes, for example, planning
purposes. It can tell you what lies beside a certain feature within a given
radius. e.g. Certain roadworks or building projects mightn’t be allowed to take
place within a certain distance from a school, electricity, sewer, road, etc. Read more in this guide .
geospatial data, is defined by TechTarget.com as information about a
physical object that can be represented by numerical values in a geographic
coordinate system. Generally speaking, spatial data represents
the location, size and shape of an object on planet Earth such as a building,
lake, mountain or township.
other words, spatial data is simply the name given to the type of data
that you’ll be using when building a map.