Changing background maps in Territory mode

The standard background map that appears in Territory mode when you are connected to the internet is an imagery map provided by Bing, composed of various sources of satellite imagery and aerial photography.

For territory mapping, high resolution imagery is frequently one of the best background maps because you can clearly identify features in the landscape.

You can change your background map at any time while you are adding or editing features in Territory mode.

Standard background map options

Some of the standard background maps include:

  • Bing aerial imagery: An excellent source of satellite and aerial imagery at low, mid and high resolutions provided by the company Bing. Satellite imagery can be helpful for mapping both natural and artificial features in many different kinds of landscapes.

  • Esri World Imagery: An alternative imagery layer provided by the company Esri, sometimes providing different imagery sources.

  • Mapbox Satellite: Yet another alternative imagery layer provided by the company Mapbox; as with the Esri imagery layer, it is possible that there are different sources from the other two.

  • OpenStreetMap: A vector map composed of data from the OpenStreetMap service. Depending on where you are creating territory mapping data and the quality of OpenStreetMap data there, this may be a helpful reference for orientation or direct mapping, especially in urban settings or anywhere where there is a lot of human infrastructure.

  • OpenTopoMap: a vector map composed of data from OpenStreetMap combined with a multi-directional hillshade layer which highlights the landscape topography, and can be helpful for mapping features in mountainous regions. The available background maps will vary depending on your map location in the world. In some countries, there will be additional regional maps made available for you to use as a map background.

Using a minimap and overlays

There are several additional options in the Background map window that may be useful to you:

  • You can enable and disable a Minimap which will show a small-scale (more zoomed out) map to give you an overview of your location. This minimap will use the same map as the Background map you have selected.

  • You can enable and disable Overlays which may add additional layers to contextualize your background map. The most useful of these to use in conjunction with satellite imagery background maps is the Locator Overlay option, which adds administrative boundaries, roads, and labels on top of your background map.

Custom background maps

You can also provide your own custom background map, with the information most relevant to your project. This can be an online map source, or a directory composed of offline map tiles. There are two different ways to do this:

(1) Add a path to your map tiles (typically a directory of files in a {z}/{x}/{y}.jpg format, or a singular .asar file) using the Custom background option. Map tiles can either be hosted online, or offline on your machine, and so the path could either be an online path (with an http protocol) or a local file path.

  • To use a map tiles path as a custom background, click on the [...]Edit custom background button next to the Custom option in the Background map window.

  • Then, enter a path in the text field in the pop-up window, click on OK and then select the option Custom in the Background map window.

(2) You can also add background map options by specifying them in a custom configuration. Learn more about this by visiting Creating custom background maps.

To learn more about custom and offline maps in Mapeo, visit Creating custom background maps and Adding custom background maps to Mapeo Desktop.

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