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EPA Unified GIS Application Guide

User guide to the EPA Unified GIS Application
Environmental Protection Agency



Figure 1: Opening View of EPA Unified GIS Application


The EPA Unified GIS Application is a new framework for all our GIS. It offers the possibility to select different configurations from one application. Currently, there are only two configurations available; EPA Maps and Sewage Treatment, but in time, all EPA GIS applications will be included. The application provides a library of spatial data layers and a host of functionality, including the following:

·         Spatial Data Layers

·         Search Tools

·         Identification of Features

·         Measurement and Graphic Tools

The new application can be accessed using the link: https://gis.epa.ie/EPAMaps/

View the Help Guide Demonstration Video here:


1 Navigating the Application

1.1 Layout

The EPA Unified GIS Application layout consists of a theme toolbar at the top of the window, a side menu and navigation tools. The application currently holds two different configurations; EPA Maps and Sewage Treatment. Figure 2 below provides a visual guide for the EPA Maps configuration and figure 3 provides a visual guide for the Sewage Treatment configuration. Click on the application drop down menu as shown in figure 2 to switch between the EPA Maps and Sewage Treatment configurations.


Figure 2: Overview of EPA Maps within EPA Unified GIS Application


Figure 3: Overview of Sewage Treatment Configuration within EPA Unified GIS Application



The functionality of the four buttons on the left hand side of the screen will be described later on in this document. The links to these sections are below:

·         Active Layers

·         Tools

·         GIS Library

·         Vector Layers






1.2 Navigating the Map

The navigation tools allow the user to zoom in or out, move around the map or view the entire country. The navigation tools are grouped together in the bottom right corner of the application (Figure 4) and are always visible. The functionality of each navigation tool is described below.


Figure 4: Location of Navigation Tools



The Zoom to Ireland button will change to map view to be the full view of the Ireland (as shown in figure 3 above).
The Zoom to Location tool is currently disabled. When it is enabled, it will zoom to the user’s current location based on GPS.
Clicking on the Zoom In button will zoom in on the map. This can also be done by wheeling the mouse wheel up or double clicking on the map.
Clicking on the Zoom Out button will zoom out on the map. This can also be done by wheeling the mouse wheel down.



1.3 Exporting the Map for Printing

The Export map as image button is located in the bottom right corner of the application, next to the navigation tools (Figure 5).

Arrange the map view as desired and click the Export map as image button. This will automatically download the map as a .png image which can be found in the Downloads folder (Figure 6).


Figure 5: Location of 'Export map to image' button


Figure 6: Export map to image example


1.4 Choosing a Base Map

The Base Map Menu button is located on the right hand side of the mapping application, above the navigation tools (Figure 7). At the moment there are two base map options: OpenStreetMap and Water Colour. These options can be selected by hovering over the Base Map Menu button as shown in figure 7 and clicking the base map of your choice.


Figure 7: Location of Base Map Menu button



1.5 Location Search

The Search Tools provide the option to search by County/Town, Address or a set of Coordinates. Click the Magnifier icon in the theme tool bar to open the Search Tools (Figure 8).


Figure 8: Accessing Search Tools from Theme Toolbar



1.5.1 Search by County/Town

In the County/Town tab of the Search Tool (Figure 9), search for a County by making a selection from the first drop down menu and the map will zoom to that county. Search for a town by first selecting a county and then selecting a town from the drop down menu. The map will zoom to the centre of that town.                  


Figure 9: Search by County/Town


1.5.2 Search by Address

In the Address tab of the Search Tool (Figure 10), begin typing the address you are interested in into the search box and a selection of results will begin pop up. Click on the appropriate result and the map will zoom to that location. You may also search by EirCode.


Figure 10: Searching by Address


1.5.3 Search by Coordinates

In the By Coordinates tab of the Search tool, the user can search for a location by entering a set of coordinates in WGS84, Irish National Grid or Irish Transverse Mercator (Figure 11).  Once you have chosen your coordinate reference system, enter the Easting/Northing or Latitude/Longitude coordinates and click Find Location. The map will zoom to the coordinate’s point location and a marker will appear on the map provided that the coordinates entered are valid.

Figure 11: Searching by Coordinates


2 Viewing Data

This section explains how to:

·         Access and display data on the map

·         Access the legend for this data

·         Use the query/filter tool

·         Order layers

·         Identify features


2.1 Accessing data

There are two ways to access spatial data layers in the Sewage Treatment Application:

A)     From the top Theme Toolbar

B)     From the GIS Library



2.1.1 Accessing Data from the Theme Toolbar

To access layers from the Theme tool bar, hover over a theme e.g. Land & Soil (Figure 12).


Figure 12: Hovering over Theme Toolbar


Then click on one of the layers within the theme to turn it on, e.g. Subsoils. The slider will turn green (Figure 13).


Figure 13: Turning on layer from Theme Toolbar


The dataset will appear on the map. Notice how the Active Layers tab now has an icon with the number beside it, this means that there is one active layer on the map.


      If you wish to turn the layer off and remove it from Active Layers, click the slider button again.



2.1.2 Accessing All Available Data Layers

The Theme Toolbar is designed to give access to the layers of most relevance to the current configuration of the application. Additional data layers that are not available in the Theme Toolbar can be accessed via the WMS Layers (Figure 14). This tool allows you to search for all GIS layers in the system, currently there are >290 layers of data. Clicking this button will open up a search box.


Figure 14: WMS Layers


Type the name of the layer you’re interested in into the search box to begin searching for the dataset. The library will filter to show relevant datasets. Turn on a dataset by clicking the slider button (Figure 15). The layer will then appear in the Active Layers tab.


Figure 15: WMS Layers Search Tool



2.1.3 Vector Layers

Vector tile layers can be accessed as shown in figure 16. Currently, there are only two layers available in the Vector Layers; EPA Offices and Counties, but we are working to extend this functionality to all data layers.


Figure 16: Vector Layers


The Vector Layers provide information for a feature by hovering over the feature on the map with the mouse cursor (Figure 17).


Figure 17: Vector Layer Feature Details


2.1.4 Access Layer Metadata

To access the metadata for a dataset, click on the Information icon as shown in figure 18. This will open a new window containing a metadata abstract. A link to the full metadata can be found at the end of the pop up window. Clicking this link will open the full metadata in the EPA  Metadata Catalog in a new tab of your browser.


Figure 18: Accessing Layer Metadata


2.1.5 Scale Dependency

If you do not see any data on the map after turning on a layer, then the layer has a scale dependency applied. The on/off switch for these layers will appear greyed out in the Active Layers list. To view the data you must zoom in or out to a different scale (Figure 19).


Figure 19: Changing Scale to Turn on Certain Layers



2.2 Active Layers Functionality

The Active Layers tab provides a single area to view and control the layers.


2.2.1 Layer Legend

The legend can be accessed by clicking the Show Advanced Layer Setting, as shown in figure 20. The legend will be displayed under the legend heading. This provides a description for the data on the map.


Figure 20: Showing 'Advanced Layer Settings' and Layer Legend



2.2.2 Query/Filter Layers

The Filter tool can be used to show a subset of a dataset’s features on the map. Make sure the layer you wish to filter is present in the Active Layers window. Select the Show Advanced Layer Settings cog for that layer (Figure 20).

Click the Filter icon in the Active Layers window (Figure 21).


Figure 21: Filter Tool



Next, click the Select Attribute drop-down (Figure 22). Specify the attribute you wish to perform the query on. In this example we are interested in Latest Compliance data for Bathing Locations so we will choose ‘Latestcompliance’ from the Select Attribute drop-down (Figure 22). We require ‘Excellent Waters’ so we can select Like from Select Operator drop-down (Figure 22). Next we can type “Excellent” or more specifically “Excellent Water Quality” in the Search box (Figure 22).


Figure 22: Filter Parameters


Click the Add Filter icon (Figure 23). Note that the text must be entered correctly (as shown in the Layer Legend).


Figure 23: Add Filter


The filtered data will be displayed on the map. To remove this filter, click the Remove Filter icon shown in figure 24.


Figure 24: Remove Filter



2.2.3 Using filter as a Keyword Search

The Filter tool can be used to search for a particular record within a dataset. In the following example we will use the Filter tool to find a specific waste facility. From Select Attribute drop down select the attribute you are interested in, e.g. Regcd. For Select Operator we can specify Like. In the search box we can type “W0070” for example. Next, click Add Filter as shown in figure 25. Only the facility W0070 will be shown on the map for this layer.


Figure 25: Add Filter for Query



2.2.4 Changing Layer Symbology

It is possible to update the layer symbology for some layers in the application. Note that this is not yet available for many layers, but work is currently underway to extend this functionality to more layers.

Default symbology is currently configured within the Active Layers under Layer Symbology (Figure 26).


Figure 26: Default Layer Symbology

Click the Layer Symbology drop down to see what other symbology is available. Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) for example currently has alternative symbology available that can be chosen (Figure 27).


Figure 27: Alternative Symbology


2.3 Ordering Layers

In the Active Layers window it is possible reorder how the layers are shown the map.

Click the up/down icon beside a layer to move it up or down the list in Active Layers (Figure 28).


Figure 28: Reorder Layers in Active Layers window


If you want to keep a layer in your list but wish to turn it off momentarily, simply click the on/off icon (Figure 29).


Figure 29: Turn On/Off Layer


If you wish to remove a layer from Active Layers click the Remove Layer button (Figure 30).


Figure 30: Remove Layer from Active Layers



2.4 Layer Transparency

Layer Transparency allows the features beneath a dataset to become visible, while allowing partially transparent features to be visible also. There is a transparency slider within the Advanced Layer Settings for each layer in the Active Layers window (Figure 31).  


Figure 31: Transparency Slider for Active Layers




2.5 Identifying Features

It is possible to identify information about individual features from the Active Layers visible on the map.

Simply click on a feature on the map and the Results window will open with the returned feature. Click the Show/Hide Details icon to expand the result and find more information about the record (Figure 32).

Click the Pin icon to zoom to a selected feature.

Remove a feature using the Bin icon.


Figure 32: Show/Hide Feature Details



2.5.1 Identify multiple features

If you wish to identify a more than one feature, ensure the Keep Previous Results is switched on (Figure 33).


Figure 33: Identifying Multiple Features



2.5.2 Export Results Selection

Scroll to the end of the Results window, and click the Export icon.

This will download a comma-separated values (.csv) file containing the features shown in the Results window, which can be opened in Excel.

Please note a separate CSV is generated for the features in each layer (Figure 34).


Figure 34: Export results


To delete all results and close the results window, click the Clear All Results icon as shown in figure 35.


Figure 35: Remove feature from results



3 Tools

The Tools are accessed from the side menu as highlighted in figure 36. The Search Tools, Measurement Tools and Graphic Tools are the Standard tools and are always available in the application regardless of which configuration you have selected. Other tools are only available in certain configurations. There are standard tools are outlined in detail below. 


Figure 36: Tools access from side menu



Each tool has an option to minimise the tool after it has been opened (Figure 37) or close the tool (Figure 38).


Figure 37: Minimize Tool



Figure 38: Close Tool



3.1 Search Tools

To access the Search Tools click Tools and then Search Tools as shown in figure 39.


Figure 39: Search Tools


For a guide on how to use each of the search tools please refer to the following sections of this document;

1.5.1 Search by County/Town

1.5.2 Search by Address

1.5.3 Search by Coordinates


3.2 Measurement Tools

The application contains Measurement Tools which provide options for measuring Line distances, shape areas and the functionality to retrieve coordinates from the map.

To open the Measurement Tools, click Tools and then Measurement Tools (Figure 40).


Figure 40: Measurement Tools



3.2.1 Measure Distance

To measure distance on the map, open the Measurement Tools and click Measure Distance within the Measurement Tools (Figure 41).


Figure 41: Measure Distance Tool


Next, click the map where you wish to begin measuring. Click once on the map to change direction. Double click to define the end location for the distance.

A line will appear on the map with the distance shown in meters/kms (Figure 42).


Figure 42: Measure Distance Example


3.2.2 Measure Area

To measure an area on the map, open the Measurement Tools and click Measure Area within the Measurement Tools (Figure 43).



Figure 43: Measure Area Tool


Next, click the map where you wish to begin measuring. Click a number of points on the map to draw an area, followed by a double click on the last point to finish measuring the area.

A shape will appear on the map with the area shown in m2/km2 (Figure 44).


Figure 44: Measure Area Example



3.2.3 Get Coordinates

To get a set of coordinates for a location on the map, open the Measurement Tools and click Get Coordinates within the Measurement Tools (Figure 45).


Figure 45: Get Coordinates Tool



Next, click on a point on the map you wish to get the coordinates for.

The results will appear in the Measurement Tools window (Figure 46) in the following formats:

·         Irish National Grid (Easting, Northing)

·         WGS84 (Latitude, Longitude)

·         Irish Transverse Mercator (ITM Easting, ITM Northing)



Figure 46: Get Coordinates Tool Example



3.2.4 Clear Measurements

To clear the measurements you have placed on the map, click the Clear Measures Tool within the Measurement Tools (Figure 47).


Figure 47: Clear Measures



3.3 Graphic Tools

The Graphic Tools provide the option to add various shapes to the map as graphics. Graphic tools can be useful for highlighting certain features of interest.

Click Tools and then click Graphic Tools (Figure 48).


Figure 48: Graphic Tools



3.3.1 Circle

To add a circle graphic on the map, first choose the Line Colour and Fill Colour for the circle, and then click on Circle within the Graphic Tools (Figure 49).                                



Figure 49: Add Circle Graphic


Next, click on the map where you wish to place the centre of the circle and scroll the mouse inwards to increase the size of the circle or outwards to decrease the size of the circle.

A left click will finish the circle (Figure 50).




Figure 50: Example of Circle Graphic on Map



3.3.2 Line

To draw a line on the map, first choose the Line Colour and Line Width and then click on Line within the Graphic Tools (Figure 51).



Figure 51: Line Graphic Tool



Next, click on the map where you wish to place the start of the line. Click once to change direction. Double click to finish drawing the line (Figure 52).


Figure 52: Line Graphic Example



3.3.3 Polygon          

To draw a polygon on the map, first choose the Line Colour and Fill Colour and then click on Polygon within the Graphic Tools (Figure 53).



Figure 53: Polygon Graphic Tool



Next, click on the map where you wish to start drawing the polygon and continue to click points on the map to create the polygon. Double click to finish drawing the line (Figure 54).


Figure 54: Polygon Graphic Example



3.3.4 Add Text

To add text to the map, first choose the Text Size and Line Colour, and then enter the text into the Text Label box (Figure 55).

Click Add Text.


Figure 55: Add Text Tool


Click on a point on the map to add the text to that location (Figure 56).


Figure 56: Add Text Example


3.3.5 Edit Graphic

The edit graphic tool provides the option to go back and edit an existing graphic on the map.

Click on the Edit button and click on a graphic on the map (Figure 57).


Figure 57: Edit Graphic Tool



3.3.6 Select & Delete Graphic

The select and delete graphic tool provides the option to delete a graphic from the map.

Click on the Select & Delete button and click on a graphic on the map (Figure 58). You will be prompted to confirm that you wish to delete the graphic you selected. Click OK. 


Figure 58: Select & Delete Graphic Tool


3.4 Appropriate Assessment Tool

The Appropriate Assessment Tool (AA Tool) allows for the discovery of the spatial relationship between a selected location and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and/or Special Protection Areas (SPA).

To load the AA Tool configuration directly go to the AA Tool site: https://gis.epa.ie/EPAMaps/AAGeoTool, (or)

Open the AA Tool from the application list in left hand corner of the site (Figure 59).        


Figure 59: AA Tool


You will notice that 2 layers are automatically and consistently available when you launch this application:

·         S.A.C.

·         S.P.C.


Click Tools and Appropriate Assessment Tool (Figure 60).


Figure 60: Appropriate Assessment Tool




Click Select Start Location and click a point on the map as shown in figure 61. The Coordinates should also appear in the tool window when you do this.


Figure 61: AA Tool


Next, click Add New Target (Figure 62).


Figure 62: Add New Target for AA Tool


The AA Tool window will expand to provide you with more options.


Click Select target and select either SAC or SPA (Figure 63).



Figure 63: Select Target for AA Tool



Click the Select direction dropdown and specify which type of analysis you wish to perform (Figure 64).


Figure 64: Select Direction for AA Tool




Enter a distance in meters for the Target Distance, based on Zone of Influence (m):        


You may decide for example to specify 5000 (5 kilometres)


When all parameters have been specified, click ADD NEW TARGET.


3.4.1 Add Multiple Targets in the AA Tool

You may wish to add multiple queries.

Select Add New Target and follow the procedure outlined in Section 3.4 to Add a New Target.


3.4.2 Obtaining Results from the AA Tool

When you have your query/queries added, click GET RESULTS (Figure 65).


Figure 65: Get Results for AA Tool


The Results window will open. It may take a few moments for the Results to populate.

The Results window should contain results provided that the query/queries you ran are valid and that an SAC or SPA was found within your search parameters.


Click Show/Hide Details as shown in figure 66. This will provide you with more information about the returned feature including the distance to the feature, details of the Qualifying Interests for the site, and a link to the Conservation Objectives document on the NPWS website.


Click the Pin icon to zoom to the result.

Click the Bin to remove a result.


Figure 66: Show/Hide Details




In the Results window click the Export icon to export the result(s).


The results are exported to a table in a new tab.


3.4.3 Gather New Results in the AA Tool

Should you need to query layers on the map as part of your assessment you are advised to check the Keep Previous Results option (Figure 67).


Figure 67: AA Tool Multiple Targets


At this point you might decide to remove a Target from the AA Tool (Figure 68). This will prevent the same query from being executed again.


Figure 68: Remove Target from AA Tool


Note that the result will still remain in the Results window (provided you turned on Keep Previous Results).

To run another query simply follows the steps in Section 3.4 again.


Contact the GIS Team

Should you have any queries regarding the functionality in this document or within the application, please contact the GIS Team for support: http://gis.epa.ie/ContactUs