Cartographer v6: All new mapping!

Welcome to the the sixth major release of Cartographer! Quite a lot has changed. Read on to find out more…

New user interface

We’ve updated our UI to streamline the design and make various features more obvious:

We’ve moved the main navigation from the top of the page to a sidebar on the left, giving us more space for menu items without hiding them behind submenus. We’ve also split the main Surveys page out into separate pages for each type of survey.

Better map integrations

We’ve completely overhauled our map system to support exporting GIS data. On most maps (where licensing restrictions allow it), we’ve added some experimental exports in the Map Options pane. You can choose KML or GeoJSON formats, which will allow you to export data to tools like qGIS, ArcGIS Online, Google Earth, Carto, Mapbox, and more:

Modular River Survey appearing in ArcGIS Online

Check the help page for more information on exporting map data.

Better survey data downloads

Ok this is a bit of a cheat. We’ve always allowed you to export survey data to Excel. The menu option was a bit hidden, though, so a lot of people didn’t know the option was there. We’ve improved this with a big Download button right there on the survey list page:

Check our help page for more information on downloading survey data.

Better privacy

Your privacy is extremely important to us, and privacy and GDPR compliance are important to all of the companies and charities using Cartographer to collect monitoring data. However, as gatherers of citizen science data we are faced with a difficult question: how to we credit volunteers for their contributions, while also protecting their identities?

We’re introducing a new feature called screen names to tackle this. Your screen name is a handle that identifies you on all the monitoring data you upload. We set it to your real name by default, but you can change it on your account page to protect your identity.

We’ve streamlined our admin system so project officers and “survey admins” only have access to your screen name and user ID (a long, random string of digits used to identify your account without leaking personal information). Companies and charities can appoint special “user admins” who do have access to your name and email address, but this role can be restricted to a minimum number of people.

We’ve also updated Cartographer to clarify which company or charity is running your workspace in the page footer. We even provide a link to their privacy policy so you can see how they’re handling your personal data!

Better help

We’ve also updated our help site, which is what you’re looking at now. You’ll find expanded guides on logging in, creating surveys, and browsing survey and map data. We’ve tried to keep each page short to save reading time, in the style of a How To guide or FAQ. You can browse the help pages on the right and even search for help topics:

We’ve also incorporated citizen science guides for some of our most popular surveys, including Urban Riverfly and Modular River Survey, to give surveyors a concentrated dose of survey-specific guidance.

Note: We’re still finishing off some of the help pages so please bear with us, and get in touch if you have any suggestions, questions, or other feedback.

And much more…

We’ve also revised and refined a lot of smaller things and made big changes under the hood to prepare for some exciting new features in the coming months. Watch this space for more news!