Your data

With Depiction, you can easily combine your own data with that from Depiction and public sources.

Spreadsheets and databases

Spreadsheet dataWhether it’s a list of employees, volunteers, or proposed facility locations, almost everybody has information stored in a spreadsheet or database. As long as the file contains columns with either addresses (e.g. street, city, zip) or a latitude/longitude (e.g. from a GPS unit), you can easily bring that information into your depiction.

Simply save the file (using the “Save As” or “Export” option from most spreadsheet or database programs) as a “CSV” format and then use Depiction’s Add>File feature to load it. CSV, or Comma Separated Values, is a generic format that serves as a common denominator between many different software programs.

Digital maps and images

Digital mapsThere are a couple of ways to bring maps and imagery into Depiction. You can simply load any image file of a map or satellite/aerial photo into your depiction (Add > File) and use the geo-align feature to quickly form-fit the picture against other images in your depiction.  

If the map or image is not saved in a file, but just on your screen (like when you view many specialized web map viewers), then simply grab a screenshot of what you see on your computer and save the image as a .jpg (jpeg) or .bmp (bitmap) image before importing into depiction.  There is even a specialized picture file format that contains geographic information built-into it: GeoTIFF. With these file types, you skip the geo-aligning step and simply load it – Depiction automatically aligns it in the right place in your world.

Paper maps and images

Paper mapsBut what if you just have a tried-and-true paper map, or a fax all marked up with important route changes? No problem--either use a scanner to save it in a digital format or take a picture of it with a digital camera and then follow the suggestions above under “Digital maps and images”.

What to ask for
from your GIS team

“Geographic Information Systems” or GIS is a professional field of highly trained experts. Many cities, counties and businesses have a GIS staff member or team whose job it is to create, maintain and supply geographic data and maps for their constituents. So, if you have access to one of these professionals and would like some data from them to use in Depiction, here are the phrases to use that they will understand:

1. Request your data in shapefile format, a common industry standard for decades, created by the leading GIS company “ESRI”. The data will come back to you as a folder containing several files; from Depiction’s Add>File menu, you’ll click on the file with the “.shp” extension to load. Depiction automatically knows what to do with the others.

2. Depiction uses the WGS 84 and Mercator standards to integrate geo-data.

3. Whenever possible, get your data in Vector format (intelligent mathematical descriptions that can interact with other data) instead of Raster format (a “dumb” image that is basically a picture of the data)

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