Maps Glossary of Terms

We know – deploying a new system can be tough. Here's a glossary of some terms we think you may encounter as you're setting up your site and going through training. 

Glossary is sorted alphabetically.



Data source: A data source is the geographic and attribute data that is used to create a layer. You can have multiple layers using a single data source. For example, you might have one data source that contains the information about the fire hydrants (like the location, make, model, valve type, flow rate, etc.) but several layers that are styled differently based on that information; for instance, one layer styled to show which hydrants need maintenance, and a second layer styled to show the different models of fire hydrant.


Feature: A feature or geometry is any point, line, or polygon on the map. Data in Maps is always stored in its geographic context, and represented visually on the map. You can see more about any feature on the map by clicking on it. 

Feature info pop-up: The feature info pop-up is the small window that pops up in the top right-hand corner of your screen whenever you click on a feature on the map. As you may have guessed, the "feature info" contains all the information about that particular feature. The fields shown in the feature info are customizable by site administrators in the layer admin. 

Form: A form is a way of collecting data digitally. It's just like a paper form, but it's created in your Maps site, and filled out either in Maps or using the Collect application. You can use a form in Maps to collect new information for a new layer, or you can use a form to add additional information to existing layers.



Geometry: A geometry or feature is any point, line, or polygon on the map. Data in Maps is always stored in its geographic context by a geometry on the map. You can see more about any feature on the map by clicking on it to open the feature info pop-up.


Layer: A layer is a grouping of information, styled on the map in a certain way with colours and labels. There can be multiple layers for a single data source, which allows user to view the same information in different ways. 


Map: A map is how you view data layers together. A map contains a base map (the preferred world map, such as OpenStreetMap or Google Satellite), and any data layers that you’d like to be able to see together. 


Project: A Project is a way of keeping all resources associated with a business project together in one place. If you are tracking all the work completed on a road renewal project, you may have a Maps Project to track to-dos, costs, contacts for the project, data collection forms, and maps that show city water infrastructure in the area. Projects make it easier to collaborate with outside agencies, and create a historical record of all actions taken.


Report: A report can help you quickly find data in your system that has specific attributes. You can query and summarize based on any information in your data. So, a report might help you find all the pipes in a water infrastructure layer that have a circumference of 30-40cm.


Style: The style of your layer is how your data will appear on the map. Styling your layers with colours, symbols, and labels is a great way to visually organize data. For example, you might have a "Roads" layer styled as orange lines on the map.



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