Watershed Central Mapping Tools

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This page is designed to help users understand which mapping tools are provided within the Watershed Central wiki.

Mapping Within the Watershed Central Wiki

Google supplies the basemap (basic hydrology and land-based features via aerial photography, a vector basemap, and satellite imagery). Overtop the Google basemap; we have added several map layers pertinent to watershed managers via webservices from the USEPA (Permit Compliance System facilities, Adopt Your Watershed organizations, 303d Impaired Waters, STORET water monitoring stations) and the USGS (NWIS stream gauges, NLCD landcover data). You can see the basic metadata about these layers below.


There are three sets of basic mapping features within the wiki:

(A) Main Page Mapper – Lets you “geotag” your wiki article so that others can click to it from the map on the Main Page. Think of this as a spatial index.
(B) Map Icon – This gives you an actual map to embed in your wiki article and DOES NOT appear as a link on the Main Page mapper. You can add text to a pushpin location on your map as well as draw a polygon depicting the approximate location of your watershed area or activity. These latter features are described in Section C.
(C) Spatial Data for Viewing and Basic Functionality – Both on the Main Page mapper and in your embedded mapper in your wiki article you can see a variety of watershed-related data layers and perform basic map functionality. You can draw a polygon to represent your watershed boundary, add pushpin information, measure length or area of a feature, jump to EPA’s Enviromapper for Waters ArcGIS application, view metadata about the data layers.


(A) Main Page Mapper

The Main Page mapper is based on the Google API implemented within the Mediawiki environment via an open source extension. The purpose of this mapper (also available on the GeoTagged Pages page) is to facilitate local interaction within the watershed management community. During a requirements gathering session in 2007, it was determined that the swift discovery of potential partners, resources, and activities going on in or near a watershed was hampered by the absence of a single point of collaboration. This mapper is meant to support the discovery process. Ideally, organizations, experts and volunteers active in watershed management and restoration, will create wiki pages about their activities - to publicize their hard work - and then "geotag" their page by clicking the "GEOTAG THIS" language at the top of their wiki's edit page. Once they get a map, they can recenter the map to their location and then click the map again in the center of the map to store the latitude and longitude. Then they can save the page in the usual way.

The first step is to create a page with information either about your watershed organization, geography-specific tool or resource, or about a project or case study.

1. In Edit Mode for that page (on the Edit Tab associated with the page) click " GEOTAG THIS: Click here to help others find this article via the map on the Main Page."
Image 1 geotag.gif
2. A map will appear. Click on the magnifying glass tool and type a location into the Google Search Dialog Box. Then click the “Search” button.
Image 2 geotag search.gif
3. The map will refocus to your area of interest. (You can use the Google navigation tools (Google plus.jpg/Google minus.jpg/Google arrow.jpg) to fine-tune the focus.)
Image 3 geotag area of interest.gif
4. To complete the geotagging, click on the map and then click the “Save page” button.
5. Please Note: If you click your browser refresh button then your pushpin will be added to the Main Page map. Due to caching issues, your pushpin may not display immediately. If you do not see your pushpin, wait a few minutes and refresh the browser.
6. Future users will be able to click the pushpin and click the link to your page for more information.
Image 4 geotag main page map.gif

(B) Map Icon

There is a separate Google API extension that simply allows you to insert a map into your page - AND NOT GEOTAG IT. You can navigate with the Google Search Box or manually recenter the map to focus on your organization's location, etc. You can also add a pushpin with information about your location. These pushpins will only appear on your page's map and not on the Main Page Mapper. This functionality is meant to support especially smaller groups for whom this wiki entry may serve as a central information distribution point for their targeted audience (in lieu of standing up their own websites). It is anticipated that these groups can also use the wiki's calendar, information resources and User Profiles to store contact information in addition to the mapping tools.

1. Enter content in the edit window pertaining to the organization’s activities.
2. Click the “Make a Map” button in the edit toolbar.
Image 5 edit tool bar.gif
3. Map options include the following:
  • Navigation size – this effects the display size of the navigation controls displayed on the left hand side of the map
Image 6 navigation controls.gif
  • Height & Width – you can change the height and width of the map by selecting from the list. The default setting is 400X400.
Image 7 height and width.gif
  • Map/Satellite Selector – select “No” to remove the Map, Satellite and Terrain options from the map window. The default selection is “Yes”.
Image 8 satellite selector.gif
  • Scale – select “Yes” to add a scale measurement to the map
Image 9 scale.gif
  • Overview – select “Yes” to add an overview map
Image 10 overview.gif
  • External KML/GEO RSS – enter a url for a KML/GEO RSS feed. The data feed has to be available to the public in order to be added to the Wiki.
4. Navigate with the Google Search Box or manually recenter the map to focus on your organization's location.
Image 11 search.gif
5. When you click on the map or after you have used the search box, a pop up will appear in the map window where you can enter a title and caption for the location.
Image 12 caption.gif
6. You can click “save & close” to capture your entries, or click “remove” to remove the point.
7. To draw a polygon click the “start a path” link below the caption text box.
Image 13 start a path.gif
Additional controls will appear above the map with options to change the line color, opacity, and width.
Image 14 draw path.gif
Click the map to add more points to your polygon. Click the “Save” link to proceed.
Image 15 save.gif
Then click the “fill in area” link to create the polygon.
Image 16 polygon.gif
You can adjust the fill color and opacity with controls located above the map.
Image 17 polygon 2.gif
8. The Wiki mark-up to create the map will appear below the map. If you have made any changes to the default map options then they will be included in the mark-up.
Image 18 mark up.gif
9. Copy and paste the text into the edit window. Be sure that the pasted text is in the same format as the copied text.
Image 19 map text.gif
10. Click the “Save page” button to save your changes.
Image 20 save page.gif
11. The saved user page will load.
Image 21 user page.gif


(C) Spatial Data for Viewing and Basic Functionality

The following spatial data layers are available for viewing in Watershed Central.

  • Tagged Documents
  • PCS
  • STORET
  • HUC-8 Watershed Boundaries
  • Adopt Your Watershed
  • National Landcover Dataset (1992)
  • USGS NWIS Stream Gauges
  • 303d Impaired Waters
  • Google Basemap inclusive of hydrology, terrain and street networks


1. Show Legend

  • Click the Show Legend Symbol to display the available layers.
Image 22 legend.gif

2. Data Layers

  • You will see checkboxes (box) and radio buttons (o) next to the data layers in the Legend. Click the checkbox(es) to display layers in the map. Click radio buttons (only one at a time) to be able to identify a feature from that layer. You can view metadata for each layer by clicking the hyperlinked layer name. NOTE: Please be PATIENT – the map takes time to refresh and ZOOM-IN – there is a limit to how many features can display in the mapper at once and you are advised to zoom-in to improve performance.
Image 23 legend choices.gif


At this time the data can only be viewed. If there is enough demand then we will support data downloads either directly or via webservices through partner download services.

3. View Latitude/Longitude

  • The latitude and longitude are shown in a box on the lower right hand side of a saved map. The values will change as your cursor is moved over the map. (Go to http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/bickel/DDDMMSS-decimal.html This little graphic means that you will be leaving the EPA.gov domain and entering an external link. The link provides additional information that may be useful or interesting and is being provided consistent with the intended purpose of the EPA Web site. However, EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of information provided by this link or any other linked site. Providing links to a non-EPA Web site does not constitute an endorsement by EPA or any of its employees of the sponsors of the site or the information or products presented on the site. Also, be aware that the privacy protection provided on the EPA.gov domain (see Privacy and Security Notice) may not be available at the external link. or some other such site to convert the decimal degrees here to degrees, minutes, seconds.)
Image 24 lat long.gif

4. Toolbar

  • When you expand the Toolbar, you will see there is an EMR (EPA’s Enviromapper for Waters) link and Measure area and length buttons.
Image 25 toolbar.gif
  • EMR is an ArcGIS Server application that gives you access to many useful water datasets such as catchments, National Hydrography Dataset, etc. To launch EMR click the “Launch EMR” hyperlink.
Note: EMR opens in a new window. Pop up blockers must be disabled.
  • To measure the length of a feature or distance between two or more features click the “measure distance” button.
Image 26 measure distance.gif
  • Then click two or more points on the map. A line will be drawn on the map and the distance will display below the measure distance button.
Image 27 distance measured.gif
  • To remove the line from the map click the “measure distance” button again.
  • To draw a polygon and measure the area of a feature click the measure area button.
Image 28 measure area.gif
  • Click three or more points on the map to select an area to measure. Double click the final point to complete the polygon. The area will display below the measure area button.
Image 29 area measured.gif
  • To remove the polygon from the map click the measure area button.

5. How Do I Get the Map Image?

  • Printscreen will do the job for now - later we may implement direct printing and image saves.