Layers are additional data visualizations that further customize your map and help you get insights specific to your location. The different types of layers include point layers (ex: libraries, schools), line layers (ex: trails, roads), and polygon layers (ex: business district, group of streets). mySidewalk has pre-uploaded layers in the application which you can use, but you can also upload your own GIS shapefiles as layers.

Layers are simple and easy to upload. See an example of how layers work below:

First, let's talk about the layers mySidewalk already has pre-loaded for you.

Here's a list of the layers you already have access to when you join mySidewalk:

  • Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes 2015 - Number of Fatalities (point layer)
  • Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes 2015 - Pedestrians Killed (point layer)
  • Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes 2015 - Number of Drunk Drivers Involved (point layer)
  • Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes 2015 - Number of Drowsy Drivers Involved (point layer)
  • Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes 2015 - Number of Distracted Drivers Involved (point layer)
  • Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes 2015 - Bicyclists Killed (point layer)
  • NPS National Parks (polygon layer)
  • NPS Other Areas (polygon layer)
  • Secondary School Districts (polygon layer)
  • Elementary School Districts (polygon layer)
  • Parks (polygon layer)
  • National Blue Ribbon Schools, 2015 (point layer)
  • 'Other' Public Schools (point layer)
  • Public High Schools (point layer)
  • Public Middle Schools (point layer)
  • Public Elementary Schools (point layer)
  • mySidewalk participants (point layer)
  • Schools (point layer)
  • City Halls (point layer)
  • Libraries (point layer)
  • HUD Qualified Census Tracts (polygon layer)
  • Colleges and Universities (point layer)

How can I turn these layers on?

  1. Find the toolbar on the left side of the page, and select the layers icon to open the layers tab
  2. Near the top of the tab, ensure that you are in Available Layers, and not Active Layers
  3. Below your organization's layers, you will see a heading that says mySidewalk Layers -- below this heading you can scroll through all of the different layers mySidewalk has uploaded into the application
  4. If you find a layer you would like to apply to your map, click on the box to the left of the layer name to make it an active layer


If you want to upload your own layers, please see
How to: Upload a Layer 

If you want to set a layer as your area of interest, and gather the data for that specific layer, you can do that -- it just has to be a polygon layer.

Whether it's a mySidewalk layer or a layer that you upload yourself, you can set a polygon layer as your area of interest and gather the data for that specific boundary.

  1. Activate the polygon layer by opening up the layers tab in the left side toolbar and clicking the check box to the left of the layer name.
  2. Once the layer appears on your screen, click on it and note that a new white box with the layer name appears in the upper-right side corner of the screen (Note: if you need to zoom in or out to view your layer, you can do so by clicking the + or - signs in the lower-right side scale bar),
  3. To isolate the layer as your area of interest, go to the white box with the layer name in the upper-right side corner, click into the circle with the three dots, then click Set as Area of Interest.


You have now selected this specific area on your map to work with. From here, you have a couple of options:


Option 1:
Extract the raw data from your custom area of interest

  1. In the second box with the name of your selected shapefile (i.e. Polygon Layer: Ocean View School District) , click Open Location Snapshot at the bottom. Be sure to save first, as this will take you to another page
  2. You can export the data for this specific geo as a CSV by clicking the Export as CSV button, to the right of the printer icon 

Option 2: Break this area down into smaller boundaries (like census block groups)

  1. Go back to Display data by and select a smaller unit of geography 

Now that we've learned what layers can do, let's finish with a couple of basics: how to adjust your visible layers, and how to customize the appearance of a layer.

Adjust your visible layers

  1. Find the toolbar on the left side of the page, and select the layers icon to open the Layers tab
  2. Near the top, in the Available Layers tab, you can turn on your organization's layers or mySidewalk's layers by clicking on the box to the left of the layer name to make it an active layer
  3. To control which of the selected layers actually appear on the map, click on Active Layers near the top of the layers tab
  4. This tab will list which layers are currently active on your maps
  5. If you would like to turn off a layer so it no longer appears on your map, simply un-check the box to the left of the layer name

Customize the appearance of a layer

  1. Find the toolbar on the left side of the page, and select the layers icon to open the layers tab
  2. Near the top of the tab, click on Active Layers
  3. Find the layer(s) you wish to customize, and click on the box to the right of the layer name to open the Layer Properties
  4. From here, you can turn layer labels on and off, adjust border color and thickness, and adjust fill color and opacity

Note: The ability to adjust layer labels and border color and thickness is not available for point layers. Changing the fill color and opacity is not available for line layers.


You now know how to add and customize layers on your map. To learn about the 8 types of files you can upload as layers into mySidewalk and how to upload, check out Upload Layer Formats and How to: Upload a Layer.

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