Measure Tools

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The measure menu is a great tool for gathering data quickly without saving anything to the map.

The measure menu is available on both the web and mobile app, although the tools offered are more limited on mobile. Keep reading to learn about how to use the measure menu on both the web and mobile app or click on any of the names of the tools below to jump ahead to that particular section!

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Accessing the Measure Menu

To access the measure menu on the web, click on Measure in the upper menu. Some measure tools can also be accessed on the web by right clicking on the part of the map that you want to learn more about.

If there is an object already on the map, the measure menu will appear below the object specific menu. For example, if you have a marker on the map, clicking or right clicking on the marker will bring up dialogs and the measure menu will appear at the bottom.

Measure Menu on Mobile

To access the measure menu on the mobile app, click on the ruler icon in the upper part of the screen.

The measure menu will open on a new page. Notice that not every tool that is on the web is available on the mobile app.

The measure menu is divided into three sections based on object types you can draw on top of the base map: point, line, and area. Each section contains options to find out more information related to that type of object. Now let's take a look at what each of these tools can help you learn about the area you are viewing!

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Point Measurements

To learn more about a specific point on the map, click on the information you want to learn from the measure menu. You can choose from position and elevation, sun exposure, NOAA forecast, simulated view, and parcel info. The cursor will become crosshairs and you can click on the desired point on the map.

After selecting a measurement type from the menu, the cursor changes to crosshairs so that you can choose a point on the map.

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Position & Elevation

A quick way to find the elevation and coordinates of any point is to use this tool. It displays elevation, slope angle, aspect, and coordinates in five different formats. If you need to switch datum, you can do so using the dropdown menu that otherwise says "Read As."

Position and elevation information in WGS84.

Position and elevation information in NAD27. "Read As" no longer appears and coordinates are listed in NAD27 datum to the right of the WGS84 datum coordinates.

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Sun Exposure

Need to know when the sun will hit a ski slope or a campsite? This tool brings up an interactive graph that displays the amount of sun exposure for a given point on the map at different times of day over the course of year. Sun Exposure is currently only available on the web.

Sun Exposure Graph

The x axis is the time of year with January 1 on the left and December 31st on the rights. The y axis shows the time of day from earliest sunrise to latest sunset. The colors display the amount of sun for that point based on the time of day and year: gray is night, blue is shaded and yellow is direct sunlight.

Move the cursor over a point on the graph and you’ll get the corresponding date and time as well as the sun’s azimuth and altitude above the graph.

Watch how the numbers change as we move the cursor across the graph.

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NOAA Forecast

To find the forecast for a specific location anywhere in the US, use this tool. After selecting NOAA Forecast and clicking a point on the map, a new tab will open with the current conditions and forecast for that point on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.

A typical forecast page from NOAA.

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View From Here

If you were standing at a given point on a map, what can you see and what peaks are looking at? View From Here answers that question. This tool brings up a simulated 360° view from the selected point with options for customizing your view. View from Here is currently only available on the web.

A customized simulated view from the Grinnell Glacier Trail in Glacier National Park, MT.

Clicking View From Here opens a new tab with a default wide angle view to the north.

Default-style result for View From Here.

The locator in the lower right corner shows where you are on the map and the direction you are viewing. You can click and drag to raise or lower the view and look side to side. You can also zoom in and out using the plus and minus buttons in the upper left corner or the zoom functions on your trackpad or mouse. The locator will reflect any changes you make to your view. Click hide locator to hide this box.

By default peaks are labeled and shown in wireframe 100 ft from the ground. You can adjust these settings in the upper right corner using the appropriate dropdown menus.

Peaks are listed on the left hand side. Clicking on the name of a peak will center the view on that peak. You can also change the coordinates of your viewpoint in the search bar.

You can easily share or print your view. Use the Share button to obtain a shareable URL of your view. Clicking Print opens Print This View.

Options for Print This View

In the Print This View menu on the left, select your page size, whether you want a custom view or full panorama and whether you want peaks labeled. If you choose a custom view, a red print area will appear on the view. Adjust the print area by clicking and dragging the center dot to move the entire print area and clicking and dragging the arrows at the corners to change the size of the print area. When you are happy with your selection, click Print to generate a PDF that you can save to your computer or send to your printer.

If you see a spot on the view that you would like to pinpoint its location, right-click the spot on the view and then click Map This Spot to display a map of the location in a new tab.

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Parcel Info

Use this tool in order to quickly learn about ownership of a particular point on the map. Where available, this tool provides parcel data for the selected point, including parcel number, site address, owner and mailing address. Data for this tool comes from Landgrid, which is still growing and does not have ownership information for all counties yet.

Typical information you receive from a parcel data inquiry.

Using Point Measurement Tools in the Mobile App

From the measure menu, click on the information you want to learn about a point (position and elevation, NOAA forecast, or parcel info). You will be returned to the map viewer where you can then click on the desired point and the information will be displayed.

Additionally, position and elevation information can also be easily accessed in the mobile app by long clicking on the map and choosing Position & Elevation from the dialog that appears.

Access position and elevation information by long clicking on the map.

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Line & Polygon Meaurements

The tools below are available for both lines and polygons unless otherwise indicated. To learn more about a line, you can choose to measure distance, take a bearing, generate an elevation profile, or look at terrain statistics. For a polygon you can find the area of that polygon, analyze terrain statistics, or count the number of property parcels in that area.

Upon selecting a tool from the menu, the cursor will turn into crosshairs and you can then draw your line or polygon the same way you would when adding a map object to your map. For information on drawing a line or polygon, go to the Lines and Polygons lesson. Double click to end your line or polygon and then the requested information will be displayed in a dialog.

Measure Distance

When you need a quick assessment of the total distance along a line, use this tool. Draw a line as you normally would and then double click to end the line. This will bring up a dialog with the total distance of the line.

Result of a distance measurement.

As you are drawing the line and adding vertices, watch the upper right hand corner of the map viewer. It will display the bearing from the last vertex you added for true north (TN) and magnetic north (MN) as well as the current length of the line as you move the cursor around the map.

While drawing a line in the distance measuring tool, you get some live data, as indicated here.

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Take Bearing

If you want to take a bearing or determine the distance between two points only, use this tool. Draw a line as you normally would and this tool measures the distance and bearing (for true and magnetic north) between the beginning and end of the line. Unlike the Measure Distance tool described above, any intermediate points will be ignored.

Result of a Bearing measurement.

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Profile and Terrain Statistics

Want to know how the elevation will change as you travel along a potential route? Curious to learn the overall elevation gain and loss? Profile allows you to display this information quickly. Draw a line or polygon and then double click to end and display the profile dialog.

Here are the components of the profile measurement of a line.

The profile dialog displays the change in elevation over the distance of the line or the perimeter of the polygon drawn. Elevation is on the y-axis and distance is on the x-axis. The minimum and maximum elevation of the line or polygon perimeter are displayed along with the overall elevation gain (in green) and loss (in red). The sampling interval and vertical exaggeration of the profile are also identified.

Clicking Expand will open the expanded elevation profile. This displays terrain statistics for the line or perimeter of the polygon below the elevation profile.

Regarding the slope angle at each pooint on the line. This is not the slope of the line. It is the slope anlge of the terrain at the geographic point where the line crosses that point.

Clicking Resample allows you to view the data in greater or lesser detail. It affects how many data points are included in the calculations.

If you have a pro, desktop or team account, you can export this information by different file types:

  • png: generate an image of the profile in png file format
  • pdf: generate a PDF of all the terrain statistics
  • csv: generate a CSV file of the terrain statistics

Clicking Collapse allows you to return to the profile display only.

On the web, this tool displays an interactive graph that shows the change in elevation over the distance of a line or the perimeter of a polygon.interactive-profile.gif

Mousing over the graph displays the elevation and distance of the cursor’s position on the graph in the upper left hand corner of the dialog. The position of the cursor is also represented on the map viewer by a dot moving along the line, showing exactly where you are on the map.

Terrain Statistics

If you want to go beyond just analyzing the elevation change over the distance of a line or polygon, this tool displays even more in depth information, including elevation, slope, aspect, tree and land cover data for a line or the interior of a polygon. It can be really helpful for learning about the terrain you might potentially be encountering.

Overview of the features of the Terrain Statistics box.

Terrain Statistics is currently only available on the web.

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Measure Area

A quick way to find the area of a part of the map is to use this tool. Draw a polygon as you normally would, double click to end and a dialog displays the area of the polygon. Area is shown in acres and is rounded to the nearest tenth.

Result from asking for an area measurement.

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Parcel Count

Do you need to know quickly how many different properties there are in a particular area? Available to pro, desktop or team accounts, this tool allows you to rapidly count the number of parcels contained within a polygon.

Result from measuring the number of parcels in an given area.

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Structure Count

Want to go beyond how many properties are in a particular area and figure out how many actual structures there are? Use structure count to quickly determine how many actual structures are contained within a polygon. Along with parcel count, this tool could be particularly useful for first responders conducting door to door evacuations during a wildfire or other natural disaster.

Result from measuring the number of structures in a given area.

Using Line and Polygon Measurement Tools in the Mobile App

Click on the information you want to learn about a line or polygon in the measure menu. You will be returned to the map viewer and then you can draw a line of polygon like you normally would. Double click to end your line or polygon and the information will be displayed.

Profile is available on the mobile app although the graph is not interactive. The expanded elevation profile will open on a new page.

Mobile profile of a line.

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