Maps let subscribers package your data visually before shipping it off to all of your eager audiences. 

Maps can have multiple data sources on them, but for simplicity sake, these help articles cover different data types separately.

Let's create a post that shares continuous water quality monitoring data at fixed stations.

Let's get started

Navigate in your dashboard to the Maps homepage. To create a new map, click on the green plus circle.

Name your Map. This will appear at the top of the map's legend on the portable map so choose something your audience can understand.

Description will appear below the map name - it's a great location to give users a brief overview of what they will learn from exploring your map.

Click save. 

Enter your map details via the edit icon on the Maps landing page to add your data.

Each map has three main sections with many customizable options: General Settings, Layer Styles, and Data Display. Let's walk through each one.

General Settings

On the General Settings page you can decide how you want your legend to appear, which also holds your map name and description. You can also add any post filters if you want observational posts to also appear on this map. For the sake of simplicity, we won't be adding any posts to this map. Check out the Posts and Hashtags map tutorial for instructions on how to structure those components in your map.

View Map

At any time you can click this link and your map as it is currently built will appear. Please note that some changes take the system a few minutes to display, so if your map isn't showing an expected behavior immediately - give it a few moments.

Hide Recent Posts

Since we're building a water quality monitoring map, let's toggle on that Hide Recent Posts setting. This option hides posts when the map loads.

Hide Legend

Let's toggle on the Hide Legend setting too so that the legend is not swallowing the data on the screen. Users can use an arrow to expand and view the legend at any time.

Show Map Details

Because we activated the Hide Legend setting, let's leave this setting toggled off.

Embed Code

Once you place this embed code into your web property, the map will automatically update. The only caveat is that if you choose to add post filters, the url will change and therefore you'll need to update your embed code as well.

Post Filters

Maps can include data sources and Water Reporter posts. For this demonstration we are not including any post filters in the map. Post filters curate the geo-located, user shared posts that appear on the map. That means that any Water Reporter posts that are shared with your organization are accessible.

Layer Styles


Water Reporter currently has two layer integrations: 

  • USA Weather Watches and Warnings

  • 3-Day Precipitation Forecast

If you select either of these layers, a system-generated layer will be added to your legend. Users can turn on and off the layer after it loads. As the map owner, you cannot edit any of the information for these layers.

Watershed Boundaries

Add one or more boundaries to this map. We have a few tricks to help you find your watersheds if you're not sure of the watersheds that you want to display. 

  • Refer to an individual post, to grab the HUC8 watershed.

  • In the search bar, type in a state to get a list of all HUC8 watersheds in that state.

  • For HUC12 delineations, upload coordinates as stations in a Data Source Stations. The list of stations will identify the HUC12 where it is located.

All watershed delineations are based on the National Hydrologic Dataset or NHD and Water Reporter has no ability to re-name the watersheds. 

After you've added watersheds, the system opens up to allow you to customize the look of those polygons.

Fill Color

The color you choose will fill the polygon for all watersheds. 

Fill Opacity

Choose a number between 0 and 1, like .25 to determine the opacity of the watershed polygon(s) fill color. If you select 1, there will be no transparency and if you select 0 then the polygons will not appear.

Stroke Width

Stroke is a fancy name for the outline of the polygon. How thick do you want the outline to be? It needs to be greater than 0 to appear.

Stroke Color

Choose the polygon outline color.

Stroke Opacity

Like fill, choose a number between 0 and 1 to show the opacity level. If you select 1 it will be a solid line, 0 will not appear.

Change the base layer using the assortment of map styles available to you. 

You can also load additional layers built through the MapBox program by adding the public Mapbox Access Token.

Click Save!

Check out the map now.

Data Display

To start using all of the features in Data Display, you need to select a Data Source. The list of Data Sources available corresponds directly to what you have built in your Data Source library in Water Reporter. While you can add multiple data sources, this tutorial will stick with only one data source.

Once you add your data source, it's time to go off to the races. 

The Display Settings Tab has four sub-categories that appear after you have selected one Data Source for your map: Display Settings, Parameter Filters, Station Markers, and Station Cards. Let's look through each one. 

Important Tip: Updating your map will take time. If you click on your map immediately after updating settings, the expected behavior may not be visible. Regardless of the change that you make, expect the system to take a few minutes to update. Hit refresh and clear your cache if you've been waiting for a while and you still don't see any changes.

Let's look at how your map displays without any adjustments to the Data Display settings.

Here are some screenshots of a single station card so that you can peak into what the default settings look like for a new data source.

As you can see, the parameter pH has specified indicator ranges that were created in the Data Source and so those details are already appearing in the map. If a photo had been uploaded for this station, we'd be able to see that already too. While there are many features that you will customize within the Data Source before you even arrive at the map, there are a lot of settings we can play with to better structure this map.

Let's get started.

Display Settings

Please note, for each section you will have the option to select the Data Source on which you are working. You can dictate settings that are different for each data source in this map. Since we are only working with one data source in this article, you will not need to shift between data sources. 

Adding this link will allow anyone visiting the map via the url or embed code to download all of the data via a simple click.

Click save when finished.

Parameter Filters

On the parameter filters you can 

  • Rearrange the order of parameters using the = feature and 

  • Determine if you want the parameters to appear on the filter bar.

Important note. All parameters in this list will appear within the station card. If you have a parameter in this data source that you DO NOT WANT on the map, then you need to return to the data source and deactivate the parameter there. 

Add Filtering

Filtering allows map users to view parameter-specific indicators for each station simultaneously. If you do not allow filtering, users will only be able to review scoring by clicking within each station. Select if you want the filter to appear as a bar on the bottom on the map or as a dropdown within the legend. Filtering is a worthwhile feature to turn on if you provide thresholds and indicators for your parameters. 

Important Note: Do not add a year unless you are displaying annual scoring.

Click save and check out how much the map has changed!

Station Markers

By default, your stations markers are light grey diamonds with a white border. You can edit the base point here. 

The default setting for your stations appears on my original map. You can change the shape, size, and color on this page for the default station. This is a helpful exercise if you are displaying multiple data sources on one map.

The major item to call out and give extra explanation to here is the Hibernation detail. Hibernation starts in the Data source. If you have any stations within your data source that you indicated were in hibernation mode, you can give those stations a different color here. The latest measurements will not appear at these stations.

Remember to click save!

Station Cards

Options on the Stations cards tab refer to settings within the card that pops up when you click on a station marker. 

Once you have toggled on any components that you'd like to include in your map, click save.

You have now reached the end of the components that you can customize for this data source. Your map is ready to share with your audiences. 

Before you go, we recommend that you share the new map to the Water Reporter community.

Go back to General Settings. Scroll to the bottom, type in a comment and then click the send button.

We package your map into a Water Reporter Post. If anyone clicks on the post it will deliver them to the map.

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