iMAPS Usage: Voting Precincts vs. Municipal Corporate Boundaries
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.
- Open the
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.