How to use InstantAtlas Dashboard Builder – Video tutorial

InstantAtlas Dashboard Builder allows you to create highly interactive dashboards with an exciting range of charts, tables and maps. In this video tutorial Joyce Luk, from the IA support team, explains some of the most important features and concepts of Dashboard Builder which will help you to create a beautiful and interactive data visualization.

So sit back and let Joyce help you get the most out of InstantAtlas Dashboard Builder.


Video transcription

Hello, everyone. Welcome to InstantAtlas Dashboard Builder online tutorial. My name is Joyce Luk. I am part of the support team at GeoWise in the UK. Today I’ll be going through some of the basics of using Dashboard Builder with you. If you haven’t created a dashboard yet, or are just getting started, then you are at the right place. I hope this tutorial will help you create a dashboard with you own data and map.

So first things first. What is Dashboard Builder? Dashboard Builder is a cloud-based app that allows you to create a dashboard with high-engaging data visualization online. So you might wonder, what is a dashboard? A dashboard is essentially a web page made up of individual widgets that allow the end users to interact dynamically. The best way to explain this to you is to show you an example dashboard I’ve created for this tutorial. Here I have got a dashboard which uses the map and dummy data for the US states. Each individual box here is the widgets.

As the creator of this dashboard, I can choose what widgets I want to show. For example, I’ve got a map widget here, a legend, a pie chart, a bar chart, and a data table. They are currently showing the indicator data, The end users can choose to display a different indicator by clicking on their Data button to open up the Data Explorer widget, and then select a different indicator from the list. As you can see, all the widgets will now populate the data values of the selected indicator.

When I click on a map feature, for example, Arizona, the data value of Arizona is now highlighted in each of the widgets. And if I clear the data and click on Florida in a data table, the map will automatically zoom into Florida. It is these interactions between different widgets that make otherwise static data more engaging and visually appealing to the end users. Now I have shown you what dashboard is.

I’m going to show you how to log in to Dashboard Builder and create a dashboard. To log into Dashboard Builder, go to Click Sign In and then Email, and then use you InstantAtlas online account email address and password to sign in. You should see a landing page like this. Click on the Dashboard Builder button to open the app. I am now in the Dashboard Builder landing page. You can see that are four tabs, which I refer them as folders, since they basically store different types of files in the Dashboard Builder accounts.

The first one is called Dashboards, where it stores all the dashboards that have been created. You can see there are quite a few here. The second one is called Maps, where it stores all the digital maps available to you that can be used to create a dashboard. The third folder is called Data, where it stores the data files you’ve uploaded that can then be linked to a dashboard. 74 The last folder is called Images, where it contains all the PNG or JPEG images you’ve uploaded. I’m going to show you how to upload a map and a data file in the respective folder.

And I’m going to start with the Maps folder, since the dashboard can only be created if there is a map. 80 In the Maps folder, you should see a subfolder called  Core  Maps. Here you can find a collection of commonly used maps, such as the world map. And in the UK maps folder, we have maps such as the Westminster Parliamentary Constituencies, wards, [INAUDIBLE] for England, and many more. If you couldn’t find a map that you’re looking for, you can upload a map yourself. And if you don’t know where you could get hold of a map, don’t worry.

Please do contact us at And we will be able to help you find a map. 94 The map that can be uploaded onto the Dashboard Builder has to be in a shape  file format. A  shape  file is a common digital map format. 97 Although its name implies it’s a single file, it actually contains multiple files with different extensions that share the same file name. Here I have a  shape  file for Louisiana Parish, which I’m going to upload into my Dashboard Builder account. Before I can upload the  shape  file into my account, I need to zip the files first. Now that the files are zipped, I can direct the zip folder to the upload button in the Maps folder.

Now that the map is uploaded into the Maps folder, I can’t preview the map by clicking on the Map button to open up the Preview dialog. I can also click on the Table button to open the table showing the attributes of the Map feature. Here, the map has two column views. The first one contains the codes for each parish. And the second one contains the names of the parish. Now I’ve going to use the map to create a dashboard.

To do that, simply click on the desk top button and the map menu. A dialog will open asking me to specify the name of the dashboard, and assign a column field from the map to be used as the feature ID and feature name. A dashboard is now created with the uploaded map. We are now in the Dashboard Editor. There is a manual at the top. You can toggle between the preview and edit mode of the dashboard by clicking this button. In the edit mode, you can move the widgets around. Or delete them with the cross buttons at the top right corner. And in a preview mode, you can see how the widgets will look like in front of the end users.

To add widgets, click on the Widgets button, and then select the widgets you wish to add. The property panel of the widget is to the left. It shows all the settings of the selected widgets. You can select widgets by clicking on the widgets itself, or go to the Properties panel, click on the Select button, and select the widgets from the list. To save a dashboard, you can click on the Save button. The Style and Legend settings for the dashboard are listed in the Styling and Legend tabs.

With a simple click, you can change the design of the dashboard. For example, you can specify the color scheme of the dashboard in the Styling tab. To open the color scheme dialog, click on the Color Scheme button here. Select a color from the color swatch, and then choose one of the options at the bottom. You should see the colors for the buttons, the widget headers, and the panels have all been changed. You can also specify the color of the legend with a simple click. Go to the Legend tab, and then select a color scheme. You can refer the legend colors with this Refers button, Or use the minus or plus buttons here to delete or add the number of classes.

You can see the effect on the legend straightaway here. There is so much you can do with the dashboard, which I’m not able to run through the functions here. If you need to find more information on Dashboard Builder, I would suggest you to have to look at the online help. You can access the online help by clicking the link here. If you cannot find what you’re looking for in the online help page, then please by all means get in touch with us at Our next step in this tutorial is to associate data to this dashboard.

For this I would need to get out of this dashboard first, and explain a bit about the Data tab in the landing page. So I’m going to save the dashboard first by clicking Save here. And I’m going to click down to get out. And now I’m going to move to the data tab. You can see I’ve already got quite a few CSV files here. Dashboard Builder allows you to upload a CSV file with tabular data. Here I’ve got a file with dummy data for Louisiana parish dashboard. If you remember earlier where I have assigned the Louisiana parish code as the feature ID, this column will be used as the common identifier to link the dashboard and the CSV file together. It needs to be set as the first column in the CSV file. The column which is used as the feature names will be the second column in the CSV file. The third column is where I’m going to start to input my indicator data.

Here I have two indicators, each with three different years– I have used a pipe symbol to separate the indicator name and the dates in the header. The reason I do this is because when I upload this onto the Dashboard Builder account, it will automatically recognize the time series data for each indicator. Now I’m going to drag the CSV file over to Upload button to upload it into the data tab. It has now been uploaded. And I can preview the data by clicking at the table button here. I’m happy with that now.

So I will now open the dashboard again and link the CSV file to it. Now that we’re in the dashboard tab, hover over the dashboard, and then click on the notepad button to open up the Dashboard Editor. Once we are in the Dashboard Editor, click on the data button to open up the Data Manager dialog. In this dialog there are two panels. The source data on the left shows all the source data files associated to the dashboard. It currently displays the column fields associated with the Louisiana parish map.

The data model panel to the right displays the current data structure of the dashboard. In here it tells me that the  coats  field is used as the feature ID. And the Names field is used as feature names. To link the CSV file to this dashboard, click the CSV button, and Choose CSV File. Select the Louisiana parish  rec  book. Click Choose, and then Next. You can see all the CSV columns are now listed here. Click Finish. And they are now copied into their source data panel. I’m going to replace the current data structure with the data from the CSV file.

Before I do that, I’ll click on the Clear button to clear the current data structure. And then to I’m going to rename the theme. Now I’m going to use the Shift key to select multiple indicators, and then drag to the data model, and put them under the Health theme. I’m going to rename the indicator. Here is the indicator date box. You can see the dates have already been filled for me. This is because I have used a pipe  symbol in the CSV field header.

And this box is where I specify the indicator data type. I can choose between the numeric or categoric data. Since this indicator is numeric, so I’m going to leave it as it is, and click Save. Now that I’m happy with the data structure, I’m going to click on Apply. You can see that the dashboard is now updated with the new data. I’m going to want to replace the bar charts with the time series charts to better showcase the time series data.

Now I’m happy with the dashboard. It’s time to share it to the world. Up until now, the dashboard is private, which means only the author can view it. So you will need to make the dashboard public for others to view it. First I’m going to save the dashboard. And now I’m going to click Done to get back to the landing page. Once we’re in the dashboards tab, hover over the dashboard and click on the cartwheel button. This will open up the dashboard properties dialog.

To share the dashboard, click Share. And if you want to allow other InstantAtlas online uses to save a copy of the disk dashboard, then click Allow Save as Box, and then click Apply. You can view this dashboard by clicking on the eye button. This dashboard, it can now be viewed by anyone. And you can share this dashboard by giving out the URL link here. The URL link it can also be retrieved by clicking on the Share button here. I have now covered all the basics of Dashboard Builder.

Thank you for joining me in this tutorial. I hope you have found it useful, and got all the information to help you getting started.

Thank you.

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