Step 1 – Login to Save your Work

Make sure you sign-in prior to starting your map, otherwise, your progress will not be saved. Use the button with the three lines (A) to open the sign-in menu. If you are new to EQUATOR, use the “Sign Up” button (B) to create an account. If you are already a user, use the “Sign In” button (C) to login.


Step 2 – Search for a Location

Search for your location using the search bar in the upper left corner. Once you have typed in a location, hit enter to bring up a list of search results. Select the location you are interested in viewing from the list (A). Once you do so, your view will zoom into that place.


Step 3 – Move Around the Map

Zoom into your location of interest using the mouse buttons and scroll wheel. You can zoom in and out using the scroll wheel. If you want to zoom in and out more quickly, hold down the scroll wheel and move the mouse up or down.


Step 4 – Search for Layers

You can use the search box at the top of the list to search for layers or locations. Here, we are searching for a layer with the keyword “roads” in its description. After hitting enter, a number of locations and layers have appeared with this word in the description. Scroll through the layer list to find the layer of data you are looking for.


Step 5 – Adding Layers to the Map, Downloading Data

Once you click on the layer you are interested in, you will arrive at this screen. All of the information contained in Box A is provided by the data owner. Here the layer description is provided, when available. To return to the search and list of layers, click on the back arrow in the top left.

Box B shows information about when the data layer was created, as well as when it was last updated. There are two buttons at the bottom of the panel: “Source” and “Add.” By clicking on “Source”, you will be directed to the page where the layer was sourced from. From there, you have the option to download the data in various formats. If you would like to add this data to the map, simply click on “Add.”

Box C includes a button that allows you to turn the map to HD mode. In HD mode, the data layers will appear more clear and crisp.

The first time you load a layer, it will have a random color assigned to it. Sometimes, the color blends in with the map imagery. You can toggle the imagery (base layer) on and off using the green button shown in Box D. This feature will help you check to see if the layer has loaded. Box D also allows you to change the base layer to different options (with labels, imagery, no imagery, etc.).


Step 6 – The Layer List

Click on the “Layers” button (A) to bring up the layers menu. From this menu, you can change layer formatting (color, line thickness, etc.), add your own markup, and change the order of layers. If you have loaded multiple layers, you can change the order that layers appear on the map by dragging them above or below other layers in the layer list (B).

To format a layer, click on the layer name in the layer list (B)

If you would like to turn layers on and off, use the eye icon on the right side of the layer name (C).


Step 7 – Layer Formatting

From the layer list, click on the layer name to open the layer formatting menu. From this menu, you have two main options: (A) change the color (including transparency) and (B) change the line width. For layers of data that include polygons, you will have the option to adjust the fill color and outline color independently. Click on the color menu (A) and then go to step 8.


Step 8 – Changing Layer Color

You can change the color and transparency of your layer using sliders (A), (B), and (C). If you want to get more precise, you can use specific color codes in HEX, RGB, or HSL (D). Note: if you have added transparency, the option to add a HEX color code will not appear.


Step 9 – Making a Map, Working with Project Folders

Click on the “Projects” button (A) to bring up the projects menu. This is where, when you are logged in, all of your work is saved in folders. Right now, we are working in a project called “New Project.” If you want to create a new folder, click on the “Add Project” button in Box B.

To create and format a map for export, click on the “Add Report” button in Box B.


Step 10 – Create your Own Template

Once you have clicked on “Add Report,” you will arrive on this screen. Here, you have the option to choose a basic, pre-formatted map template (B), or create your own (A). You can choose from standard page sizes, or customize the dimensions to meet your needs (C).

Select the Blank template (A), and move on to step 11.


Step 11 – Format your Map Template

You can rename your map by double clicking on the name in the upper left corner (A). To add your map view to the page, click on “Map View” (B) and click and drag a rectangle across the part of the page where you want the map to appear. You can add data attribution to the map using the attribution box (C). Similar to the map view, you can click and drag a rectangle across the screen in the location you would like the attribution to appear.


Step 12 – “Paper” Space versus “Map” Space

There are two main spaces to learn about when creating and formatting maps.

Working in paper space allows you to interact with the actual page. When you are working in paper space, you will be able to zoom in and out on the page, change formatting of map elements (north arrow, scale bar, legend, etc.) and work with all of the elements shown in the menu on the right. You can think of paper space as a window layered on top of the map.

When you are working in map space, will be able to interact with the actual map. Once you double click inside the map view, you will have the ability to zoom in and out, rotate, and pan within the map.


Step 13 – Map Window Menu

When you are working in paper space (see step 12), you can open the Map Window Menu by single clicking on the map view (A). In this menu, you can change things like:

(B) map style: background, outline and border)

(C) position: order and size of the map view)

(D) general options: export DPI, north arrow and scale style, and legend

(E): layer formatting


Step 14 – Map Background

The options in (A) allow you to change the baselayer. Use the gear icon to change to baselayer imagery to other providers. Use the eye icon (the Eyecon, if you will) to turn the baselayer on and off. In this example, we are going to turn the baselayer off.

Now, with the map view selected, set the background color (B) to the desired shade (in this case, red).


Step 15 – Finishing the Map

By clicking and dragging inside the map view (A), you can tilt, rotate, and zoom the map as much as you desire. Then, you can change the appearance of the north arrow by clicking it (B) and selecting your preferred appearance from the resulting menu. You can do the same for the scale (C). Once you are finished, select the Text option (D) and move to Step 16.


Step 16 – The Article Text

After the Text option has been selected, click and drag to create a text box. Then, use the menu on the right to adjust text size (A), font (B), color (C), and other formatting. Do this as many times as you need to create a tastefully arranged article.


Step 17 – Change Article Background

Now, the finishing touch. If you would like to change the background of the article, select the Rectangle option and draw a rectangle over the entire page. Then, change the background to the desired color (A) and select Send To Back (B).


Step 18a – Name and Save

In the text box at the top of your screen (A), type the name you wish to give your report. This is what it will be saved as in your account, but not what it will be called if you download it. If you do wish to download it, choose your format (B) and download.

Step 18b – Congratulate Self

Congratulate yourself! You now have an excellent report with a beautiful map included. Go forth and use it to do great things.

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Rebecca is the Co-Founder and CEO of Equator.