Help & FAQ

Get started

To launch the DE Africa Map and display some basic data follow these steps.

  • Launch the DE Africa Map at maps.digitalearth.africa.
  • In the left hand panel select Explore data to open the data catalogue (see image below).
  • Find a dataset of interest such as water.
  • Select the dataset to see a preview of that data and description.
  • To view your selected dataset on the map, select Add to the map.
  • Data Catalogue

    Visualise and analyse your dataset:

  • The spatial data will be displayed in the map view, and a visual legend will appear in the Data workbench, on the left hand side of the page.
  • It may not be immediately obvious where your selected spatial data has loaded on the map if it does not cover a large part of Africa. To locate loaded data on the map, go to the workbench, and selectZoom to extent.
  • The datasets will be feature on the map view.
  • To add additional datasets to the map, repeat the above steps.
  • Zoom manually by moving your mouse pointer over the map and using your mouse wheel to zoom in or out further.
  • Click and drag the map to further show the region in which you are interested.

Explore the workbench

Workbench

When a dataset is added to the map via the data catalogue, a legend for that dataset will appear in the workbench. From the workbench you can:

  • Set the order data is shown on the map. To do this, select the title of a dataset and drag it to a new position in your workbench
  • Toggle the visibility of added datasets by selecting the checkbox opposite your prefered data set title
  • Zoom to the geographical extent of an added data set
  • Set the opacity of individual data sets
  • Remove data sets from the map. Note: they can be re-added via the data catalogue.

Navigate the map

Navigate

There are multiple ways to navigate DE Africa Map's map view:

Zooming

Move your mouse pointer over the map and use the scroll wheel to zoom in or out. The location at the centre of the map display is the centre of the zooming. Right-click and drag upwards or downwards over the map to zoom about the centre point. Select the zoom control to zoom in or out quickly by a set amount.

Panning

Click anywhere on the map and drag it to the required location.

Rotate the map

Use the compass control to rotate the map so North is no longer at the top. Select the “gyroscope” in the centre of the compass control and drag slowly to the left or right to rotate the map clockwise or anti-clockwise respectively. The further you drag, the faster it rotates. Release the mouse button when you reach the desired rotation.

Select the North Point or outer ring of the Compass Control and drag it around to set the desired rotation directly.

Control + left-click and drag left or right over the map to rotate the view about the centre.

Perspective view

Select the “gyroscope” in the centre of the compass control and drag slowly upwards to tilt the view into a perspective view. Drag downwards to tilt the view back to vertical. The further you drag, the faster it tilts. Release the mouse button when you reach the desired view.

Control + left-click and drag upwards or downwards over the map to enter or adjust the perspective view.

When you are in perspective view, control + left-click and drag left or right over the map to “orbit” around the centre of the view. You can also click and drag left or right over the “gyroscope” at the centre of the Compass Control to orbit about the centre of the view.

Double-click the “gyroscope” in the centre of the Compass Control to return the view quickly to a vertical view with North to the top at the current location and scale.

Dragging to pan and using the mouse wheel to zoom still work while showing a perspective view.

Change the basemap

Base maps

Select the Map button in the top right of the screen:

  • Select 2D to show a vertical map view with north to the top. The Compass Control will not be displayed and Perspective View cannot be enabled.
  • Select 3D Smooth to show a Perspective View which has no elevation change. The maps or images are draped over a smooth globe.
  • Select 3D Terrain to show a Perspective View which shows the elevation changes in the terrain. 3D Smooth and 3D Terrain will look almost the same unless you are using Perspective View.
  • Click on one of the Base map thumbnails to select the type of map to view. Mouse over the thumbnails to see a hint on what they are.

Find out about a displayed feature

When you have identified a region and available dataset, it will feature on the map view. To find out more information you can click on points, lines or within regions to display the feature information available from the spatial data provider for that particular feature.

For points and lines, you need to click quite accurately to identify the feature. For regions, clicking on the boundary will give ambiguous results. Click within the region.

Use the splitter functionality

The splitter functionality allows you to compare a dataset for different time periods. To use it:

  • Select an area/location
  • Select a dataset from the catalogue to add it to the workbench
  • Select the Split link in the workbench to create a copy of the data already selected. Note that you can use the splitter with two different datasets, not just with copies of the same data
  • Select different times (using the date picker) for the “left” and “right” sections of the screen
  • Use the back and forward arrows to explore imagery and select cloud-free views
  • Drag the splitter on the screen to observe the differences

Download data from the map

There are two types of download:

  • Raw data: Once a dataset has been selected, select About this data, then scroll down to the Data URL. Data download depends entirely on custodians making it available. Should the raw files not be available, users need to contact custodians directly; their details are available under Data Custodian or Service Contact, on the same page.
  • Feature information: Once a point or a polygon on the map is selected and the Feature Information window is shown, you can download the data in that particular feature info window, by scrolling down and clicking on Download this Table, in CSV or JSON. It will just download the feature info table, not the raw data.

Upload data to the map

There are two ways to load your data:

  • Drag your data file onto the DE Africa Map map view. The format of the data file will be auto-detected.
  • Select Explore data in the left hand panel. This will launch the data catalogue. Select the My data tab at the top of the modal window and follow the provided instructions.

As for DE Africa Map data sets, you can select regions or points to see the data available for that location. If the file is a CSV file, the data from all columns will be shown in the feature information dialogue.

You can also use all of the features of the workbench on the data you have loaded as well.

To share a view of your data with others, you must first publish it to the web somewhere with a URL, and then load it from there.

DE Africa Map can display two kinds of spreadsheets:

  1. Spreadsheets with a point location (latitude and longitude) for each row, expressed as two columns: lat and lon. These will be displayed as points (circles).
  2. Spreadsheets where each row refers to a region such as a local government area (council), state, postcode, or ABS statistical unit such as an SA2 or CED (Commonwealth Electoral Division). Columns must be named according to the CSV-geo-au standard. These will be displayed as regions, highlighting the actual shape of each area.

Spreadsheets must be saved as CSV (comma-separated values).

Other standard spatial data types such as GeoJSON and KML are also supported.

Share with others

There are three ways to share your DE Africa Map view:

  1. Select the Share button, copy the given URL (shown in the first text box) to the clipboard and paste it into an email which you send to the recipient.
  2. Select the Share button, copy the HTML fragment (shown in the second text box) and paste it into an HTML file, which you then make available to the recipients. When the recipients display your web page, they will see the DE Africa Map view within that web page.
  3. Click the Share button and simply use the Print Preview and Print.
  4. Take a screenshot and email it as an image (see your OS instructions on how to take a screenshot). This will share all information, even if loaded from a local file or URL.

Note that only the third and fourth methods will show the data you have loaded from a local file.