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; click the three-horizontal-bars icon.
The particular example below shows how to display intersections
between voting precincts and municipal corporate boundaries, which is
very important for municipal elections. However most of the steps in
this example describe things you would do for many other uses of iMAPS,
so this can serve as a good introduction to iMAPS in general.
- Open the
- Click the Property Search (magnifying glass) icon in the far right
sidebar. In the "...Address, Owner, PIN, REID,..." field at the top,
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/zoom the
map (covered below) to get to the area of interest.
- You may be shown a dropdown list as you type the address, 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. There will probably be a vertical
scrollbar, given the amount of information to be displayed for the
- 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 upper left side of
- The layers facility of iMAPS lets you overlay the displayed map with
colored regions and borders to highlight areas having selected
characteristics, e.g., municipal corporate areas. Click on the Layers
icon in the far right sidebar; it looks like a stack of three
rectangles. Hovering the mouse over an icon will display an explanatory
- 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. Perhaps the Property
layer is turned on by default; you can always turn it off if the
property data clutters up what you want to see. Just experiment.
- For this example, click the Electoral layer group. Click the
triangle icon at the left to display a sublist of layers. In the
sublist, click the Precincts layer. This puts a colored border around
each precinct and displays precinct numbers. You may have to zoom out
to see the result.
- Clicking within a precinct does a temporary, light color fill of
that precinct. You can turn off the fill by clicking the X in the popup
or by clicking within another precinct. Clicking on the "Zoom to" in
the popup will center that precinct on the screen, automatically zooming
in or out as needed. The popup obscures part of the precinct; you can
move it off the precinct by clicking the Dock icon in the popup.
- There are settings you can modify for each selected layer. Access
them by clicking the three-line icon beside the layer's entry in the
sidebar. In the Precincts settings, note the slider. Moving it back
and forth controls the transparency of the precinct border lines (and
color fill, if present) from 0% to 100%. Such a transparency control
applies to other layers you can select, as we will be doing in the next
step to color (municipal) corporate areas.
- Now also select the Planning and Development layer and then the
Corporate Limits layer under it. For this example make sure the
Planning Jurisdictions layer is turned off. Note that Corporate Limits
also has a transparency slider; it controls the transparency of the fill
colors for the corporate areas.
- A few of the layers, e.g., Corporate Limits and Precincts, have an
associated legend to list the colors/borders used for that layer. Click
the Legend icon in the far right sidebar to turn on/off the legend
- Now by dragging the map, zooming in and out, and adjusting the two
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 the
next time you use iMAPS because iMAPS saves the last selection(s) in
case you want to repeatedly have the same views.
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 to display the area of interest, I used
Microsoft Window's Snip & Sketch tool to save to the clipboard the
part of the map display I wanted, then used Windows Paint to turn the
clipboard data into a PNG (picture) file. I then used used Microsoft
PowerPoint to make the PNG image the background for my slide to which I
added a title, the color key sidebar, the arrows, and the text box.
Finally, I had PowerPoint save the slide as a PDF file, suitable for
uploading to my website. Of course, many other tools could be used to
process an iMAPS display.
When multiple layers are selected, sometimes only one layer at a time
can be displayed. For example, say you select both the Planning and
Development > Subdivisions layer and the Electoral > Precincts
layer. When you click on an area in the map, either the associated
precinct area will get a blue background or the subdivision area will
get a blue background, not both at the same time. You can choose which
is displayed by using the arrows in the popup box to go thru the layers one
at a time. Note that if you turn off all other layers so only these two
are selected, you can easily and quickly flip back and forth between the layers,
with their respective highlighted backgrounds, just by repeatedly
clicking either of the two arrows. This "flicker test" makes it easy to
see where overlaps occur.
It can take a few seconds for layers to display, so be patient. Also
some displays may be hard to read, such as the orange borders around
subdivision parts; the borders can display even when other layers are
displayed. However when the subdivision layer is displayed by itself,
there is a blue background thruout the subdivision area and that is very
easy to see.
To get an idea of iMAPS' other abilities, take a look at the various
dropdowns and buttons, e.g., Property Select and Measure. On the
sidebar resulting from an address search (see
item 4 above), you can see such things as
property pictures, deeds, tax data, and government services/contacts.
Using Basemaps you can choose from a number of things to have as a
background for the main display, including aerial images, historical
views, and topographic maps. Just experiment.