The Map tool is a powerful feature of Stae that allows you view, filter, and compare data within your city's boundaries. You can also change the basemap that includes a satellite and a street map layer. The map also features a hexbin to generate a heatmap from your search results.
At the end of this tutorial, you’ll be able to
- View multiple data sources on the map
- Analyze your data using filters
- Use the map to understand civic issues
- Visualize your data using the hex bin feature
- Share your map view with others
Stae allows you to integrate and map multiple data sources together.
1. The Map View
A blank map view for Los Angeles
The Map Page enables you to view your data within your city or place's boundary. Boundaries are represented a thicker outline stroke. When you load data on the map, only data points within this boundary are loaded. Datasets that contain paths or polygons, such as trips or transit routes, that pass through the city boundaries will also appear on the map.
All of the data that is viewable on the map will show up as its corresponding data type on the left panel. For example, if you're looking for the General Bikeshare Feed Specification (GBFS) shared vehicles, you'll find it under the Shared Vehicle data type. To view specific data sources, click on the drop down for the data type and select only the data source you're interested in. For example, under Transit Vehicle dropdown, you can select only the Stae GTFS-RT vehicles. You are also able to filter the data that loads on the map by clicking on the data type's filter icon. Selecting the auto-refresh toggle will update the map as the data updates in real-time, allowing you to view the most up to date data. Collapsing the data selector will display the number of data points loaded for each data type displayed.
The data selector categorizes data sources by its corresponding data type
To change the base map layer, select the map theme icon on the lower right corner. This will expand a selection of four map styles, a 2D or 3D toggle, and a hexbin visualization. Stae currently has light, dark, satellite, and streets base map layers. 2D is the default, top-down map view and 3D changes the map view to an oblique perspective, which is useful for viewing trip paths. When hexbin is enabled, the most concentrated points will be binned based on their proximity, which is adjustable via the distance slider.
Map visualization options
2. Loading and Viewing Data on the Map
Once loaded, you can choose up to six data types as you’d like to view on the map. For large data sets over 50,000 points, the map will only display the initial 50,000 points. You will be able to filter the entire dataset by clicking on the filter icon to get a more specific result.
Once loaded, your data will appear on the map as color points on the map. Clicking on any data point will bring up a window with more contextualized information associated with that point such as the Google Streets view of that location.
From here, you can close the window or click Source to view the data source for your Data Type.
Detailed view of a 311 Issue data point
3. Analyze Your Data using Filters
With Stae, you can now compare other data sets to each other that were once only available in a static spreadsheet or viewable to only one person via a dashboard. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use filters.
Filtering works similarly to other features that you may have used in data software: it allows you to refine your view of large datasets. To start, select a Data Type you’d like to explore. In this case, we’ll use Traffic Incidents and click on the filter icon.
Text Field Filters
Text fields are common in most data types and are usually used for more open-ended fields like notes, names, or operators. For example, for the traffic incidents data set, the notes field contains additional information about the incident such as a street closure due to an event. You can search for a term using the following conditions: contains, contains word, starts with, or ends with.
Searching Traffic Incidents for Street Closure reasons under the notes field
Date Range Filters
If you wanted to see the weekday evening rush hour, you can use a combination of hour of day and day of week filters to find the results. Here's a list of filters you can perform on dates: exact date filtering will show all results for the selected date, before/after filtering will show all results for either before or after a selected date, between filtering will show all results between two selected date ranges, hour of day/day of week filtering will provide a time range slider to select a range of days and times.
Example of date/time filtering that shows traffic incidents that occurred during the weekdays.
If you're looking for the cause of the traffic incident, then you'll want to filter the type category. To select a specific type, select the exact modifier for the type filter and you'll see a list of filter results. For datasets that have a large list of types, you can search for a term using the contains, contains word, starts with, or ends with modifiers.
A list of available types to filter for traffic incidents.
If you were interested in filtering data results for a specific location, you can use the location filter to define a geographic boundary. Select the location filter, then select the Intersects With modifier, which will bring up a minimap with drawing tools and zoom features. When you're satisfied with the shape you've drawn, select save to apply your filter.
The first icon with dotted outlines is the select tool, which allows you to select existing shapes you've drawn. The second icon is the polygon tool, which allows you to draw polygons. Once you've drawn your polygon shape on the map, select the starting point to end the shape.
The polygon shape tool
The third tool is the line tool, which is good for outlining specific roadways but only limited to a start and end point.
The line tool, useful for specifying streets, for location filtering
The final tool is the rectangle tool, which is a tool useful for making quick location queries.
The rectangle shape tool
The select tool allows you edit any existing shapes you've drawn. Click on the select tool and then mouse over any existing shapes you've drawn. When the shape turns red, click on it and you'll be able to edit the shape or delete it. The edit tool allows you to edit the vertices of any polygons or rectangles or modify the start/end points of any lines you've drawn. You can also move the shape around by selecting the move tool. The expand tool allows you to expand by typing in the amount in the meters field.
The select tool allows you to modify vertices, move shapes, expand their size, or delete shapes
4. Visualize Your Data using the Hexbin Feature
Hexbins are a great way to identify concentrations of points and geographic hot spots within your data. For example, if you wanted to see where street closures due to construction are most commonly reported in Los Angeles, then the hexbin is a great tool to start. Select the Traffic Incidents data type and then open the visualization panel and select the hex checkbox.
2D Hexbin of Street Closures reported due to construction from Waze
The concentration of points on this map display show that it's fairly scattered. However, if you select the 3D map perspective, the hex bins will have a vertical attribute where points are most concentrated.
3D Hexbin of Street Closures reported due to construction from Waze
5. Inquiry-based approach for filtering
Map tip - start with a question
Some data sets in Stae are very large. The example above with 911 calls and 311 issues are a combined 110,000+ data points. When you’re exploring, start small by using the filtering option. You don't have to wait for a dataset to load; you can begin filtering by clicking on the loading icon and start applying various filters. A good starting point is to approach your data with a defined date range and a problem to explore. Is speeding becoming an issue in school zones? Is parking a pain in areas with new development? Filters are a good way to narrow in on these problems.
6. Share Your Map View with Others
You can save out any map view that you’ve filtered as a URL clicking on the Share Button in the top right corner. This button also functions as a save and continue feature. You can also share out this URL to anyone you’d like, even if they don’t have a Stae account. Note that if some datasets have privacy permission set on them, sharing map views will not show the data source to people who don't have the account privileges.
"We ground our work in questions like 'What are we looking to understand?' rather than 'What can we collect?' by taking a people-first approach to building cities."
Shin-pei Tsay, Gehl Institute
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