Downloading/exporting map data

You can export the data from most map layers for analysis in a GIS application such as qGIS or ArcGIS Online. Start by selecting the relevant map from the left-hand sidebar:

On the map page, pan and zoom the map so you’re looking at the data you’d like to export. Then click the cog icon in the inspector panel to open the map options:

If the map you are viewing supports downloads, there will be a section in the map options panel marked Downloads (experimental).

Click the button for the format you wish to download. Your browser will either ask you whether you want to open or save the file containing the data, or it will simply save it to your Downloads folder.

Some maps cannot be downloaded due to data licensing restrictions. In these cases, the download buttons will not appear on the map options panel.

Which file format should I choose?

Cartographer supports two file formats:

  • KML is the format used by Google Earth, and is supported by popular desktop applications such as qGIS and Google Earth. Choose this format if you’d like to import data to one of these applications.
  • GeoJSON is a more compact file format that is supported by ArcGIS Online and is easy to load in custom programs written in Javascript and Python. Choose this format if you’d like to get your data into Story Maps or you want to process it with your own scripts or macros.
  • CSV is a format commonly used by spreadsheet applications such as Excel. While CSV isn’t the best format for use in GIS applications, this format can be useful for quick analysis. Note that linear and polygonal map features are simplified to points in the CSV version of the download.

Importing the data into qGIS

To import map data into qGIS, first export it from Cartographer in KML format. Then start qGIS and open the Data Source Manager from the Layer menu or by clicking the button shown below:

In the Data Source Manager select the Vector tab, then select your downloaded file in the Vector Dataset(s) field. Click Add then Close to close the dialog:

You should see a new layer in the left-hand sidebar in the main qGIS window, and your dataset should appear in the main map view:

The data won’t look like much on its own, but once you add a base layer things should start to take shape. Here’s a simple example using Open Street Map, which we added using the QuickMapServices plugin:

From here you can add custom styling rules, load other datasets along-side the Cartographer data, print your map, and save it in a variety of GIS data formats.

Importing data into ArcGIS Online

To import map data into ArcGIS Online, first export it from Cartographer in GeoJSON format. Then to to the ArcGIS home page and sign in using your ArcGIS account.

Once you are logged in, click the Map tab on your ArcGIS home page:

On the Map page click Add and select Add Layer from File from the dropdown menu:

Select your GeoJSON file in dialog box and click Import Layer to start the import:

If your dataset is large, you may have to wait a few moments for the import to complete. After this you should see your data on-screen:

From here you can add custom styling rules and load other datasets along-side the Cartographer data. You can also use other ESRI products such as Story Maps to analyse and visualise your data.