Custom Layers

There are two types of custom layers:  Imported shapefiles and online map services. Service layers can be ArcGIS Map Services (vector or raster) or XYZ Tile Services. Service layers are not available to the Mobile App.  Custom imported layers are.


Imported Shapefiles

If you regularly reference a layer that doesn't fit inside any of the built-in layers, you can import a custom layer shapefile to provide information or context to your maps.  Good examples of shapefiles that you might import as custom layers are:

  • Watershed boundaries
  • Parking points for monitors
  • Town boundaries within your service area
  • Ecological regions


Imported custom layers should NOT be used for huge layers, eg. parcel boundaries of entire towns/cities/or states, or detailed water feature lines for large areas (states).  Uploading layers this large will impact map performance drastically.  If available as a public online map service, you may be able to use a service layer to present a layer like this.


To import a custom layer, you must first have administrator privileges.  Go to Settings --> Map Layers and look for 'Custom Layers' at the top.  Click on the (+) button to add a new Layer.





Select 'A layer created by drawing or importing geography', select the type of layer (Area/Polygon, Line, or Point) at the bottom, and then click 'OK'.

Give the Layer a name and a Style.  Setting 'Searchable' to 'Yes'/'No' toggles whether the layers Name attribute can be used within a View (see example in next section below). The Star on the list of Custom Layers indicates whether a layer is searchable or not.

Click the mceclip2.png button in the map toolbar to open the layer editor and draw or upload the layer. 

In this example, I've uploaded a shapefile of different ecoregions within Massachusetts.  Since the upload contained a NAME attribute, I was able to choose 'Style By Name' and assign each region a different color.  




Click the mceclip4.png button to return to settings. Your new Custom Layer will appear in the list of Custom Layers.


Service Layers

If the layer you'd like to add is available as an ArcGIS public map service or XYZ tile map, you can add it as a custom layer.  While styling options are limited, pop-ups can be modified for service layers, enabling users to get more information in the map.  Another useful aspect is that you can copy features directly from service vector layers into other Landscape layers.  For example, if you are displaying a service vector parcel map of your county or region, you can copy parcels directly into a Landscape parcel layer, eliminating the need to export the file from the parent shapefile and then import it again.



To add a service layer, click on the (+) button from the custom layers screen, and select 'A layer service by an online map service'.  You can then select either an 'ArcGIS Map Service' or an 'XYZ Tile Service' from the available dropdown menu.




Enter the web address of the map service in the available field, which will give you a sample address based on the option you choose (ArcGIS vs. XYZ).  If entering the web address results in an error, check that it resembles the sample address.  



Enter the name of the web service in the available field, and then hit 'enter' to test it (only works with ArcGIS Layers, not XYZ).  A message will be displayed telling you that the connection was successful, or that there was an error. If there is an error, double check that the web address is correct and (if an ArcGIS service) ends with '.../MapServer' or '.../MapServer/0'.  '...FeatureServer', for example, is a different kind of service and will not function with this feature.

Click 'OK' when you're done.  Once you link to a layer, you can not edit the web address. If the web address of the service changes, you'll need to delete the service layer and create a new one.



Every state / county is different in how they share their GIS data, so you will likely need to do some digging on a web page like this:



Note: Do you have a service layer you think would be useful to the Landscape community?  Share it with us by emailing support and we'll add it to our Knowledge Base list of useful service layers arranged by State/Country/Region.  Please include a brief description of the layer(s), as well as a link to the resource page where you found it and a the web address of the layer itself.

Service Tile (Raster) Layers:

Service Tile Layers (XYZ or ArcGIS) do not support popups, and do not make a legend available.  For that reason, it's important that any layers you're displaying as a tile layer are self explanatory.  For example, in the screenshot below I've linked to a raster layer of NOAA projected coastal inundation, but the relative colors displayed on the map do not have an explanation.  The map layer therefore has limited value. 




Tile layers can be made available as basemaps, too.  For example, OpenStreetMap is a popular, publicly available XYZ tile service which may be useful to display as a basemap.  Your state or region may also provide high resolution satellite data which may be more useful as a basemap than the ones Landscape provides.  




To make a tile layer available as a basemap, change the 'Is Basemap' field to 'Yes'.




The layer will then be available in your list of basemaps:



Service Vector Layers

Service vector layers can be extremely useful for displaying large datasets in your maps.  Parcels, roads, protected open space, and regional hydrography (rivers, lakes, wetlands, and streams) are all large and (usually) publicly-available datasets.  Displaying parcel data on maps can be particularly useful for conservation staff, as they can use that data to assess potential properties for acquisition or gather information on property neighbors.  Parcel data as a map service may not be available for your entire state, but can usually be found for a region or town.


When you first link to a vector map service, you may be prompted to choose a layer from within that service. Choose the layer you'd like to display (in this example there's only one choice):




Once connected, you can change the layer name, the style, and which popups appear when you click on a layer feature in a map.




Here I've made the 'Massachusetts Open Space' layer available on my Mill River Preserve Property (Green outline) map, allowing me to click on and see information about neighboring open space (purple outline).  See the next section for more on viewing custom layers.




Note that service layers are displayed with a mceclip14.png icon on the list of layers.  




Viewing Custom Layers

From within any map, click on the layers button and look for 'Custom'.  Find the Layer you'd like to make visible, and click the eyeball to turn it on:




Advanced: Using Custom Layers to Build Property Views*

*This feature only works for imported layers.

Landscape gives you the ability to integrate custom layers into Property views.  For example, if I wanted to list all Properties and their corresponding Eco Regions from the example above, I could do so.  

First, make the layer 'searchable' by either changing the 'searchable' field within the layer or by clicking on the star icon next to the layer.  Then, from 'views' make a property view. Select the 'add fields' button (mceclip1.png). The custom layer name will appear in the list of available fields. Click on it to add it.




As long as the property records have geography associated with them, the regions that they are within will now appear in the 'Massachusetts Eco Regions' column:




Now I can group by that layer too, allowing me to easily total how many acres we've protected in each ecological zone:





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