Data Basin Help

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Introduction to Data Basin


As a Data Basin member, you will be able to:

  • download scientifically-credible datasets
  • upload datasets as public or private
  • organize content into your own private workspace
  • save maps, drawings, and comments
  • create galleries and groups
  • contact other spatially-inspired members

We encourage you to use Data Basin to make a positive difference for the well-being of people, wildlife, and natural landscapes.

Click on the 'Sign Up' link in the top right to create a free account. You can also sign in to Data Basin using an existing Google, Facebook, or Yahoo account.

Data Basin contains local, regional, and global geospatial information that resides in datasets. You can find biological, physical and socio-economic information. A dataset could be coordinates where a bird species has been observed, boundaries of land managed in various ways (e.g., US Forest Service), a thematic image of vegetation types, or the results of a model that shows changes in the habitat distribution of a species under different climate change scenarios. Data Basin is populated with a large and continually growing body of datasets, including both raw data (e.g., monitoring data on temperature and precipitation, road networks) and analytical results (e.g., projected changes in suitability for a species or ecosystem, interpretations, or recommendations).

Data Basin more than a data portal or map viewer. Data Basin is a powerful web-mapping and analysis platform that integrates credible data, social networks, and decision-support tools. Data Basin is distinguished by both the high quality of content and the method of organization. The platform is designed to be approachable to casual GIS users (e.g., biologists, resource managers, program coordinators, policy advisors, researchers, interested citizens), as well as a useful publishing platform for power GIS users.

Datasets are spatial information, typically created using a Geographic Information System (GIS). Supported dataset formats include shapefiles, ArcGRID files, ESRI File Geodatabases, and NetCDF files. Datasets can be styled, analyzed, and downloaded. Maps are Data Basin user-created overlays of spatial information, including datasets, drawings, and basemaps. A map can be thought of as an ‘idea’ you want to illustrate. Maps can be explored, saved as a new item, and exported in a variety of formats (e.g., png, ppt, pdf).

The primary search field is located in the top right of the page. Type a keyword or place name and hit return to find public datasets, maps, galleries, people or groups. Enter phrases in quotes and try both singular and plural forms of your keyword for better search results. Under the top right search box is an option to ‘search by geography’. Use the map to define your area (pan and zoom) of interest and hit search (limited to datasets and maps).

Maps are created by Data Basin members and consist of one or more datasets, drawings, or basemaps.
To make your own map, there are two main pathways:

  1. In the main navigation bar under ‘Create’, click on ‘Create a Map.’ You have loaded an empty basemap. To visualize the distribution of something you are interested in, select ‘add datasets’ in the tool-bar or dataset window. Search for your topic, select a dataset, and click submit button.

  2. Use the search field in the top right of page to find a dataset or map that you wish to view. Click on the title to view the overview page. Click open in map to launch the mapping tool.

Use the map tool bar to add datasets, drawing, basemaps, and styles to your map. You can pan, zoom, identify and conduct basic operations using the tool bar at the top of the map.

Contact us and we can work with you to publish a Data Basin case study or guide.

To contribute your datasets to Data Basin, contact us to request upload permissions.
After your permissions have been changed to allow for upload, you will step through several steps to enter information about your dataset. If valid FGDC metadata is found with the upload, it will be used to help populate these steps. At this point, datasets must be ESRI Shapefile, File Geodatabase, or ArcGRID formats inside a layer package file (.lpk). Datasets must be in standard projection based on the following Datums: WGS84, NAD83, South American 1969, European 1950. Upload file must be less than 250 MB. We recommend keeping files less than 150 MB for best performance. Map services can also be uploaded to Data Basin if they are hosted on ArcGIS Server 9.3 or later. Tiled map services must be in the Web Mercator Projection.

The upload file must be less than 250 MB. We recommend keeping files less than 150 MB for best performance. The file size limits are based on the compressed size of the layer package. The uncompressed size can be much larger (up to 4 GB for rasters).
Generally, performance gets worse with:

  1. non-solid fills for polygons (e.g., crosshatches). These make it more than 2x as slow to draw due to constraints external to Data Basin
  2. very complex features (e.g., polygons with high level of detail)
  3. very many features (thresholds vary by type, with < 500k points and < 100k polygons being a general guide)
  4. many layers within a single layer package (we recommend splitting these out, if appropriate)

Each Data Basin member is provided 1 GB of free data hosting. Contact us if you would like to purchase additional storage space.

Details about our advanced analytical tools are available on the Services page. Use the contact form on that page to sign up or request more information.

For most feature (point, line, or polygon) datasets that were directly uploaded to Data Basin and support download, you can make a selection in the map page using the Select Tool. After making a selection, click on the selection dropdown in the selection toolbar and choose one of the following options:

  • Export to Drawing: will use the simplified version of the selection to create a drawing, and drops any attributes (note: this is no longer a copy of the original data).
  • Export to Shapefile: will extract the original data with attributes

This tool is currently not supported for datasets hosted outside Data Basin, rasters, or spatially-enabled spreadsheets.

If you are interested in more advanced features for this tool, please contact us.

We have a known issue where palettes and certain dropdowns do not work correctly on the map page for these devices; they do not respond correctly to mouse click and drag events in Chrome or Firefox, so you are not able to move them around or select values using your mouse.
The short term solution is to use your touchscreen to interact with these elements.

We are using a 3rd party library to provide the core of our drag and drop functionality. This library has a known issue with these devices. We are working to upgrade our version of this library to hopefully address this issue.

We are sorry for the inconvenience!

Please feel free to send us one of these laptops to use for testing. At present, we are not lucky enough to be able to have one of these new devices at our disposal.

You can help make a positive difference for the well-being of people and nature. Start making a difference now.

Details about our training and workshops are available on the Services page. Use the contact form on that page request more information.

The Data Basin outreach, science, and technical staff are available to support you. Contact us with questions or comments by using the online contact form, email, or telephone: 707-266-4270 (between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Pacific Time)