Data visualization and storytelling


3 ways to enhance your data maps with our new line layer feature

The new layer in the Projection Map template is ideal for drawing borders, physical features and much more

This week we’ve added a new lines feature to our Projection Map template. Along with shading regions and plotting points on your maps you can now add a custom lines layer. Similar to regions, your lines can be supplied in GeoJSON format and will be drawn on top of your map.

It might be that regions and points are still the central focus of your map, but that you need to indicate disputed borders or other lines as well. With the lines layer, you can upload borders and customize how they are styled, such as the dash-line type, to match your own style guides.

Or, lines might be the most important part of your map, with regions used in the background to help the user identify the location. This can be the case for route maps of transport systems or sporting events.

In this blog post, we’ll show you some examples of when you might want to use lines to enhance your maps and how to get started.

1. Adding borders to a region map

A key use case for our new lines feature is the visualization of disputed borders. In our example below, we’re overlaying disputed boundaries as found in the World Bank Data Catalog.

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2. Using lines to highlight physical features

Often lines are used to add administrative boundaries to maps, but they’re also handy for showing physical features, like rivers.

The map below shows major rivers around the world, while the shading of the regions highlights the total renewable water resources a country has.

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3. Mapping a transport system

The example below shows London’s rail lines and stations. Previously, you could plot the stations on top of regions using points, but now you can add lines to show the individual train routes on which the stations belong.

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Here, the lines are customized using overrides to specify individual styles that mimic those shown on the typical Tube map.

Getting started

To upload a lines layer to your map, go to the Data tab in the Projection Map template and navigate to the Lines sheet.

Go to the Data tab and click the Lines sheet to upload a lines layer

Use the Upload data button to upload your GeoJSON lines file and match up your data with the Geometry and Series column bindings.

You can set the layer position, color, width, opacity and line-dash style of your lines

You can customize the layer position, as well as the color, width, opacity and line-dash style of your lines.

Just like your regions, your lines can be supplied in GeoJSON format. In addition to Polygons and MultiPolygons which are used in the Regions sheet, the GeoJSON uploaded to the Lines sheet can also contain Line and MultiLine features. If you upload Polygons or MultiPolygons to the Lines sheet, they won’t have a fill and will look like closed lines. That means you can upload any regions to your Lines sheet and they will be rendered as lines.

Unlike regions and points, lines are passive features, meaning that you can’t interact with them or supply information in popups.

Under Lines layer in the settings panel, you’ll find options to customize the layer position, as well as the color, width, opacity, and line-dash style of your lines.

You can use the Default settings to set a single style for all of your lines, or use the overrides boxes beside these settings to style lines differently based on the Series column in your data.

You can learn more about the different settings in our help doc.

Keep your eyes on our newsletter or changelog for other new features. And do let us know what you think!