Example: Create Maps

Maps are used to show layers that can be drawings, images, and labels.  This topic shows how to create new, blank maps, how to create maps from existing components, and how to create maps from other maps.


In this example we use a typical project that includes drawings, image server data sources and previously-created maps.  The example drawings show the locations of Roman monuments in France and Europe, as well as various Neolithic monuments in France.    The drawings in the map have previously been formatted using the Style pane, to use distinctive colors and symbology.

Example:  Add a layer to an existing map

We will first warm up a bit by working with the project as it stands, opening an existing map and adding a layer to it.




We double-click open the Roman Roads map.




The map opens.  By default, the map will open zoomed out to the full extent, showing the whole world in Bing.   In the illustration above we have zoomed into a closer view that shows France.  The map has two layers, a lower layer that is a Bing streets layer and an upper layer that shows Roman roads.   We drag and drop the amphitheatres drawing into the map.




The new amphitheatres layer appears.   A new layer that is dragged and dropped into a map appears just above, that is, to the left, of whatever was the active layer tab.  The amphitheatres drawing has been thematically formatted using Style to show Roman amphitheatres as magenta circles, with the size of the circle controlled by the Rank attribute that ranks amphitheatres from 0 to 5, with partial ruins being 0 and large, well-preserved amphitheatres such as those at Arles and Nîmes ranked 5.

Example:  Create a new, blank map and add a layer

Next, we will create a new, blank map and add a layer to that map.




We can create a blank map either by choosing File - Create - New Map, or by right-clicking into a blank part of the Project pane below any of the components and using the context menu that pops open.





In the context menu, choose Create - New Map.




In the New Map dialog, change the name if desired.  Leave the default coordinate system as it is.  Press Create Map.




A new map component called Map appears in the Project pane.  Double-click it to open it.




The new map window appears blank, as expected.  Drag and drop the Bing Maps Street Map Image into it.     


ico_nb_arrow_blue.png  A new, blank map takes its coordinate system from the first layer that is added to it.  If we plan on using image server layers in a map it is a good idea to add an image server layer as the first layer, so that the map will use the same coordinate system as the image server.  




The Bing streets layer appears in the map.  The map window has been assigned the same coordinate system as Bing.   We can now drag and drop other layers, as desired, into the map.

Example:  Create a new map using one component

We often would like to create a map starting with a particular layer.  That is easy to do.




Right-click on the desired component.





In the context menu that pops open, choose Create - New Map.  




When a map is created based on a single, existing component, it automatically offers to use the coordinate system of that component for the map.  In this case, because we right-clicked on the amphitheatres drawing, which uses Latitude / Longitude projection, the map offers Latitude / Longitude projection by default.  If we agree with that we click Create Map and we are done.


However, it could be that we plan on adding an image server layer to the map later on and we know that most image servers use Pseudo-Mercator.  Even though the starting component uses Latitude / Longitude projection we would like to use a different coordinate system for the map.    


btn_coord_sys_picker.png  We click the coordinate system picker button to choose the system we want.




Pseudo-Mercator is one of the default Favorites, so we can choose it with a single click.




Now that we have chosen Pseudo-Mercator as the coordinate system for the map, we press Create Map.




We open the map and see it contains the amphitheatres  drawing as a single layer.  When a map contains a single layer, the map opens with that layer zoomed to fit.




We can drag and drop the Bing streets image into the map.




The map now has two layers, the starting amphitheatres layer and also the Bing streets layer we have just dropped into the map.


ico_nb_arrow_blue.png  The illustration above skips a step:  When we drag and drop a layer into a map it appears above whatever is the active layer.   In the previous illustration the amphitheatres layer was the active layer, so the Bing streets layer would drop into the map to the left of the amphitheatres layer, that is, above that layer.   To get the illustration above we dragged the new Bing layer all the way to the right, so it appears below the other layer.  

Example:  Create a new map using multiple components

We often would like to create a new map with several layers in it right from the beginning.  That, too, is easy to do.




We Ctrl-click the components we want in our map to highlight them.  Then we right-click a component in the hierarchy where we want the new map to appear.  For example, right-clicking the highlighted cromlech component would end up creating the new map within the Neolithic folder.   Right-clicking on the amphitheatres component as seen above will end up creating the new map in the main part of the project outside of any folders.



As before, in the pop up menu we choose Create - New Map.




With more than one layer, the New Map dialog offers the system default, Pseudo-Mercator, as the proposed coordinate system for the new map.  We can change that if we like.


The New Map dialog also offers as layers all of the components which were highlighted when we right-clicked.   In the New Map dialog we can click layers off if we do not want them added to the map, and we can arrange layers in the order we want.   For example, we can Ctrl-click the temples layer to select it.




We can then click the Move to Top button.




That moves the temples layer to the top of the layer stack for the new map.  We press Create Map.




A new Map appears in the Project pane.  We double-click the new Map to open it, to see the layers in the map appear in the order we specified.  In the illustration above we have zoomed into a view that shows France.  




We can drag and drop the Bing satellite layer into the map.



The new satellite layer appears in the map.


ico_nb_arrow_blue.png  The illustration above skips a step:  When we drag and drop a layer into a map it appears above whatever is the active layer.   In the previous illustration the temples layer was the active layer, so the Bing satellite layer would drop into the map to the left of the temples layer, that is, above all of the other layers.   To get the illustration above we dragged the new Bing layer all the way to the right, so it appears below all of the other layers.    If there are very many layers in a map, we can move them up and down in the visibility stack by using the Layers pane, which is easier to use when there are many layers.


We can explore the new map by zooming into it.




For example, we can zoom further into the map, near the Southern coast of France.  


We zoom further into the map, into a closer view of Nîmes, France.




The view now shows the downtown region of Nîmes, with the famous amphitheater clearly visible.   A white diamond marks the location of a temple.




Zooming further in and alt-clicking the icon to call up the Record pane, which automatically opens if it is not open, we see the temple is the famous, spectacularly well-preserved Roman temple known as the Maison Carrée,

Example:  Create a new map from an existing map

The easiest way to create a new map from an existing map is to simply Copy and then Paste the existing map.   That creates a duplicate.   We can then rename the duplicate, open the duplicate and add and delete layers as desired or change the coordinate system if desired.


Another way to create a new map from an existing map is to use procedures similar to the prior examples to create a new map with a new name and a different arrangement of layers or a different coordinate system right from the start.




We will create a new map using the Many Layers map that is opened in the illustration above.  The Many Layers map has a jumble of very many layers, including almost all of the drawings and image server layers in the project.   We right-click on the Many Layers map in the Project pane.




In the pop up context menu we choose Create - New Map.




In the New Map dialog we have unchecked those layers which are in the Many Layers map which we do not want to use in the new map.    We press Create Map.




We open the new map to see it has the layers we have specified.    The circular green symbols mark the locations of cromlechs in France.   The blue squares mark the locations of dolmen, and the purple triangles the locations of menhir.  The symbols use thematic formatting so those items with a greater Rank are shown with larger symbols.



Why does the first layer specify the projection? - When we create a new blank map, regardless of what was specified in the New Map dialog, adding the first layer to the map will automatically change the map's coordinate system to that of the first layer added.  That means the coordinate system we choose in the  New Map dialog is ignored when we create maps interactively by dragging and dropping a layer into them. Why is that?


First, this provides a way of setting the coordinate system when creating a new map that will be finished through other means, such as by manually changing entries in properties and tables.  Second, when creating maps interactively by dragging and dropping layers into them, this is a safety measure because map windows will, for display purposes, re-project on the fly any layers they contain into the coordinate system used by the map.   


Manifold is very fast at such re-projection but despite such speed it does take some time if a layer uses a different coordinate system from the map window to re-project that layer on the fly to show in the map's coordinate system.   Most of the time we will not notice the time required, but if we are working with very big data that must be re-projected on the fly from a different projection into the map's projection, that can lead to significantly slower panning, zooming and other visual navigation within the map window.


If a map includes a layer that contains big data, it therefore makes sense, if we want a fast user interface, to use the same projection for the map that is used by the big data layer.   If we do that, then the map will not be required to re-project the big data in the layer on the fly to show within the map.   The map will use the same projection as the big data layer and no re-projection on the fly will be necessary.   Beginners will sometimes neglect to consider the size of layers they add to a map, but they do tend to add the layer of greatest interest to the map first, and more often than not that first layer added usually is the biggest.   Therefore, automatically assigning to the map the projection used by the first layer that is added will, in most cases, ensure that the map uses whatever projection is used by the biggest layer.   That can help preserve a quick user interface.


Why add an image server layer first to a new, blank map? -  The examples above recommend adding an image server layer as the first layer added to a new, blank map, if we know that the new map will contain image server layers.  Why is that?  We can always change the coordinate system used by the map later on, if we like, so there is no need to stress out about adding an image server layer first.  Changing the coordinate system used by the map literally takes only a second or two.  But if we intend to use image servers and the first layer added uses a weird coordinate system, we can encounter a moment of disorientation from strange visual effects when we drop in the image server layer, at least until we change the projection used by the map to something sensible.  




For example, the Example: Re-Project a Drawing topic shows an illustration, seen above, of the strange look a Bing layer has when shown in a map that uses Lambert Conformal Conic projection. It looks wildly wrong, but as a matter of projection mathematics it is exactly correct.   To avoid such puzzling moments, experienced Manifold users usually will add an image server layer as the first layer if they intend to use image server layers in a map.



What is a cromlech? -   We can zoom into the new map created above to see what a cromlech looks like from above.




We have zoomed into a cromlech above, the Cromlech de Crucuno, near Carnac on the Southern coast of Bretagne.  For a better satellite view, we have added a Google satellite data source to the project and have added the Google satellite layer to the map.  Google has better satellite imagery in this location than Bing: one of the strong points of Manifold is the effortless ease of adding web server layers.


The Crucuno arrangement uses stones approximately two meters high. as seen below from ground level.  




 A single standing stone erected during the Neolithic is called a menhir.  A cromlech is an arrangement of multiple standing stones.  It is often circular, but may be arranged in other patterns, for example, rows of standing stones or rectangular arrangements like Crucuno.  Some purists reserve the term cromlech only for circular arrangements.   Stonehenge in England is a famous, exceptionally large, cromlech.




Above we have zoomed into a smaller cromlech, a typically circular ring of standing stones, located to the East of Arras, far in the North of France almost all the way to Lille.  As is typical for many data sets, the point marking the Cromlech does not match exactly the position of the cromlech as seen in Google or Bing satellite image servers.




We can Alt-click the cromlech point to call up the Record pane, to see the attributes for that point.   We can then right-click and Copy the Comment field or other field info, and then Paste that into an Internet search engine in our browser to learn more about this particular Cromlech, or to translate the French description.





Known as the cromlech of the Seven Bonnets (Les Sept Bonnettes), the cromlech consists of six, two-meter high, carved stones set into the top of a tumulus, or mound, with five stones still standing and the sixth fallen.  A seventh stone, originally in the center, is no longer there.




The image above shows the view of the cromlech, at the top of the mound, from an adjacent field.


The Maison Carrée - Nîmes, France, is well-known for its famous amphitheater, the best preserved of all Roman amphitheatres, but Nîmes also hosts what is one of the two best preserved Roman temples, the Maison Carrée, a French name that means "square house."   In the centuries after the fall of Rome and the loss of Roman engineering skills, residents were amazed at the accuracy and perfect right angles of the construction, and thus named it the "square house."




Marcus Agrippa, the life-long friend and right-hand man of Augustus, is said to have built the Maison Carrée in approximately 16 BC.   Agrippa is seen on the Ara Pacis, as illustrated in the Notes to the Example: Create a New Data Source from a Manifold Image Server topic.   Maintained over the centuries after being used as a Christian church in the 300's AD, the Maison Carrée survives today as one of the few examples where we can see what a Roman temple looked like during the Empire.




Marcus Agrippa is also often said to have built the other, best example of a well-preserved Roman temple, the circular Pantheon in Rome, based on the Latin inscription below the pediment, to the effect "M Agrippa made this."   However, that inscription apparently was placed on the Pantheon by the emperor Hadrian to honor Agrippa, who had built a famous predecessor temple on that site which, except for the facade, was destroyed by fire.   After a cycle of new construction, more fires, and more reconstructions, the Pantheon we see today was finished and dedicated by Hadrian.  It likely bears little resemblance to the temple originally created almost 150 years earlier by Agrippa.


Dolmen - A dolmen is a relic of the Neolithic, seen in illustrations in the Example: Combining Selections using the Select Pane  and Example: Layout Properties topics.

See Also

Getting Started










Layer Opacity




Project Pane


Layers Pane


Example: Project Pane Tutorial - In this example we take an extended tour of the Project pane, engaging in a variety of simple but typical moves that are illustrated step by step.


Example: Layers Tutorial - We take a tour of the Layers pane, learning how to manage layer display order, select layers, turn several layers on and off at the same time, alter opacity settings for one or more layers and how to change background color.


Example: Add Labels to a Map - How to manually add labels to a map.


Example: Re-project a Drawing - An essential example on changing the projection of a drawing, either within the drawing itself, or by changing the projection of a map window that shows the drawing and re-projects on the fly for display.