iMAPS Usage:  Voting Precincts vs. Municipal Corporate Boundaries

Last Updated:   9/22/17  13:56

The iMAPS home page has general information about the tool and a link to detailed Help documentation. There is also a Help dropdown at the upper right part of the iMAPS display.

The following example shows how to display intersections between voting precincts and municipal corporate boundaries. This is very important for municipal elections.

  1. Open the iMAPS program.
  2. In the field at the upper right, enter an address. It could be an address near the area of interest, or you could just enter your own Wake County address and then drag the map to get to the area of interest.
  3. You may be shown a dropdown list as you type, showing items close in spelling to what you have typed so far. Click on one of these with the mouse left button. Or just keep typing until only one selection is possible; then click it or press Enter.
  4. If the address was found, that lot will be highlighted on the displayed map and much information about the address will be displayed in a sidebar on the right. Note the sidebar's scrollbar on the far right.
  5. You can slide around the map by holding down the left mouse button and dragging. You can zoom in and out by rotating your mouse's scroll wheel, or by clicking the "+" and "-" buttons at the lower left side of the display.
  6. The layer facility of iMAPS lets you overlay the displayed map with colored regions to highlight areas having selected characteristics, e.g., voting precincts. Click on the Layers button at the bottom of the right sidebar. If the sidebar is currently hidden, make it visible by clicking the "<" at the right side of the display.
  7. This presents an extensive list of layers you can turn on or off individually. The list is hierarchical -- clicking a layer to turn it on may present a subordinate list of layers you can turn on/off. Multiple layers can be turned on simultaneously.
  8. For this example, click the Boundaries layer group. In the sublist click the Voting Precinct layer. This colors the voting precincts in the map according to the (annoyingly long) color key list now displayed under the Voting Precinct layer item. Note that you can scroll thru this key list, but cannot click on the keys -- at least nothing happens if you click a key.
  9. Back at the top under the Boundaries entry, note the horizontal slider bar. Moving the slider from side to side adjusts the transparency of the layer coloring. It applies to all the selected sublist layer(s) (Voting Precincts in this case) under the layer group selection (Boundaries in this case). This slider controls how much of the underlying map or layers are visible. You will see its great value when we turn on the second layer in the next step.
  10. Now scroll down (passing over the long color key list) and select the Jurisdictions layer group. Note it also has a transparency slider bar. Select Corporate Limits in the sublist. For this example make sure Planning Jurisdictions in the sublist is turned off.
  11. Now by dragging the map, zooming in and out, and adjusting the two color transparency sliders, you can easily see how various municipal corporate limits intersect with various voting precincts.
  12. When you are finished, turn off the layers you don't want to see next time you use iMAPS since it saves the last selection(s).

Here is an example of what might be produced by iMAPS after some further processing. I wanted to take what iMAPS displayed, add some explanatory text, and create a file for my website which would be easy for anyone to view. After following the procedure itemized above, I asked iMAPS to "Print" the result to a PDF file. I then used Microsoft Window's Snipping Tool to extract just the map image part of the file, cropping out the iMAPS margins/text. I saved the image as a PNG (picture) file and used Microsoft PowerPoint to make the image the background, then add a title, the color key sidebar, the arrows, a text box, and some edging to better show the precinct boundaries. Finally I asked PowerPoint to save the result as a PDF file, suitable for uploading to my website. Of course, many other tools could be used to process an iMAPS display.

To get an idea of iMAPS' other abilities, take a look at the various dropdowns and buttons, e.g., Tools, Maps, and Overview, which let you do all sorts of things like make measurements, find information about a property by clicking its map entry, and see a street view. On the sidebar resulting from an address search (see item 4 above), there is a list of icons at the bottom which provide more functions, including looking at property pictures, deeds, tax data, and government services/contacts.