The map initially loads without any additional layers included. As layers get added to the map, they are added in a stacking fashion, much like sheets being stacked on a pile of paper.

Additional layers of two data types can be optionally loaded onto the map: vector layers can be added, which include data based on discrete features (points, lines, or polygons), that can have any number of data attributes associated with them; and raster layers can be added, which include data arranged in a grid with each grid cell (or pixel) associated with a single data value.

While there are tools for analyzing both raster and vector data, only vector data can be used as search criteria for occurrence records. Raster data can be used however to create vector features based on a value, or value range.

Each additional layer loaded onto the map can be interacted with individually. For most layers interaction is limited to exploring the data they contain, whether it be viewing the data attributes of specific features within a vector layer, or viewing the data value at a specific point in a raster layer.

There are two additional layers that are added automatically to the map, and allow for a greater amount of interaction. These two layers are relied upon for creating, editing, and using vector data to search for occurrence records, and to further analyze points assocated with occurrence records returned from a search. Both layers will be introduced here, but will be discussed in greater depth in further topics in this tutorial:

Shapes Layer

The Shapes Layer is a vector layer that is automatically added to the map when new features are created using the Draw Tool (to be discussed in a later topic), or vector features are selected from an additional layer added to the map. Features included in the Shapes Layer can be edited, selected, deleted, processed further using the Vector Tools, or used to search for occurrence records. The contents of the Shapes Layer can also be downloaded in multiple geospatial formats for further use.

Points Layer

The Points Layer is a vector layer that is automatically added to the map when occurrence records are loaded from a search. The point features included in this layer can be rendered as individual points, clustered points, or as a heat map. Additionally they allow for a greater degree of symbology options based on the collections and taxonomy of the associated occurrence data. Point features in this layer can be individually selected, and downloads can be prepared of either the entire dataset, or a selected subset, in a variety of export formats.