How to upload your own map in 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 how you can upload your own map in InstantAtlas Dashboard Builder.

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

Video transcription

Welcome to this video on how to upload your own map in Dashboard Builder

In InstantAtlas Dashboard Builder, you can upload your own map data to create dashboards, so you are not limited to the maps available from the Core Maps folder. The supported map data formats for upload in Dashboard Builder are shapefile and CSV. In this video we will upload a shapefile and a CSV file to be used as maps in Dashboard Builder.

For those who are not familiar with a shapefile, a shapefile is basically a popular geospatial vector data format for storing the location, shape, and attributes of geographic features. It looks something like this. This is a shapefile of the London Districts. It has several files that shares the same name but with different extensions. To upload a shapefile into Dashboard Builder, we would need to zip all the shapefile’s constituent files to a single zip folder first. Then go to the Maps tab, click Upload, navigate to the zip folder containing the shapefile and double click to open it. Now the map has been uploaded, we can preview the map by clicking on the preview button to double check if the map looks okay. A shapefile also has an associated attributes table, to view the table, click the table button in the map icon. Now let’s go back to the Maps tab and upload a CSV file instead.

In Dashboard Builder, you can upload a CSV file containing longitude and latitude decimal values of the geographic features. The CSV file will then be converted to a point map and stored in the Maps tab. Here is a CSV file containing the coordinates of the centre of the London Districts. The data headers are saved in the first row. Note the longitude and latitude decimal values must be separated into two individual columns. We will also need to have a column containing the unique feature IDs, like the CODE column here and another column to be used as the feature names, like the NAME column here.

To upload the CSV file as a map, go to the Maps tab, click Upload, navigate to the CSV file on the computer and double click to open it. We are now in the Choose Coordinate Columns dialog, here we will specify which CSV columns are used to plot the longitude and latitude coordinates for the point map. Then click Ok. Once the point map has been created in the Maps tab, we can click the preview button to preview the point map.

We will now create a dashboard using the map that we have just uploaded. On the Maps tabs, navigate to the London Districts point map, then click the dashboard button. On the New Dashboard dialog, we can rename the dashboard title to something more appropriate. We will also need to choose which of the map attributes table columns is used as the Feature ID and Feature Name for the dashboard. Note the column picked for the Feature ID must be unique so the feature can be identified individually. Now click Create. A dashboard will be created with our chosen map and onto the editor page.

Thank you for watching this video. If you would like to learn more on how to use Dashboard Builder, please continue to watch our next video on how to upload your own dashboard data.

Why choose InstantAtlas Online? see our video


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.

May round-up of InstantAtlas stories

Welcome to the latest edition of the InstantAtlas blog news – our monthly round-up of projects where InstantAtlas software solutions are used to map and present statistics in interactive dynamic reports and profiles.

In this edition we review two case studies from Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council and Warwickshire County Council a forthcoming live webinar from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, plus we introduce a new offering from InstantAtlas called the ‘Report Creation Service’.

Tailored to your needs – The InstantAtlas Report Creation Service

We make no apology for the fact that everyone working for InstantAtlas is excited about what they do – whether it is developing software that helps you to present data in an interactive easy-to-understand way, or helping you get the most from InstantAtlas. So when someone asks us for advice, or help with a project we get a real buzz. With that in mind we thought it would be helpful to explain exactly what we can do for you – especially when you find yourself short on time, resource and budget so you know where to come.

What does InstantAtlas Report Creation Service offer?

The InstantAtlas support team provides a service for anyone who needs a helping hand with report creation with InstantAtlas Desktop. This includes:

  • Map data preparation
  • Dynamic report publishing
  • Report design and branding
  • Preparation and loading of statistical data
  • Performance tweaks
  • Report deployment

Pierre, Head InstantAtlas Support, says: “We can help support with any aspect of report production with InstantAtlas Desktop. Whether it’s filling gaps in a multi-faceted project, or providing report creation throughout from start to finish, we have the experience to help make it a success.”

Learn more

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

‘Using map presentation software to ensure services are delivered in the most effective way at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council’ 

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council covers nine towns situated between Manchester and the Peak District. The council places great emphasis on partnership and has a culture of working closely with local organisations.

The council is part of the Tameside Strategic Partnership which brings together a diverse set of partners from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors to agree key aims, objectives and priorities for Tameside. The partnership includes the police, health service, Tameside College and Greater Manchester Probation Trust. To help the partnership get a better understanding of local needs, a Partnership Information Portal has been developed.

Getting started

Jody Stewart, Principal Policy Officer, Corporate Performance and Improvement at the council says that for many years it produced a publication called Quality of Life which included selected statistics about the borough. “The challenge was that by the time it was published the statistics were out of date,” says Jody. “So we decided to move towards an online data observatory that would allow people to access up-to-date information on a variety of topics and track this data over time.”


Read the full article

Warwickshire County Council

‘Creating dynamic online reports for needs assessment at Warwickshire County Council’

Warwickshire Observatory is the home for information and intelligence about Warwickshire and its people. Its aim is to be a centre of excellence in research, data collection and analysis to support evidence-based policy-making across the public sector in Warwickshire.

The observatory undertakes work for, and in partnership with, a wide range of customers across the county council and other partner organisations. Paul Larcombe is Corporate GIS Manager and he explains that although the observatory has used GIS software in the past, it has only recently developed a local information system (LIS).

“We found that we were getting more queries from the public and it was taking time to find answers so we decided that an LIS would help people find the answers themselves,” he says.

Getting started

The team looked at a range of suppliers but decided to go with interactive map building software from InstantAtas which was bought in tandem with Coventry City Council. A successful funding bid meant the team was able to start building the LIS and this also covered the purchase of OCSI data packs.

“The LIS is a still a work in progress but the focus to date has been on desktop dynamic reports and we have a range of live content supporting the JSNA (Joint Strategic Needs Assessment),” says Paul.

Read the full article

Forthcoming North American Public Health Webinar with Charles J. Utermohle, PhD

Our latest North American public health webinar in June will be presented by Charlies J. Utermohle, Data Analyst, Division of Public Health, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Charles works in the Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion within the Alaska Division of Public Health. His responsibilities include statistical analysis of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for adults and the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System for middle and high school students.

Webinar Topic
‘Automating InstantAtlas production using Access Data Manager’

In the webinar Charles will discuss how the InstantAtlas Access Data Manager can be used to prepare large datasets using the example of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

Charles’ presentation will focus how Access Data Manager can be used with any dataset where there are too many variables to be efficiently handled in the Excel Data Manager.

Learn more about this webinar

InstantAtlas Essentials #26

‘Changing Visibility of Components Depending on Indicator Selection in HTML reports’

In this video we describe how to change the visibility of components on an indicator basis for HTML reports. This video compliments our Support document ‘How to Change the Visibility of Components Depending on Indicator Selection in InstantAtlas Reports’ which can be found in the Desktop Support area of My InstantAtlas.

YouTube version

InstantAtlas dedicated streaming server version

New InstantAtlas Essentials tutorial released – No. 26 ‘How to Change the Visibility of Components Depending on Indicator Selection in InstantAtlas HTML Reports’

Welcome to another InstantAtlas Essentials video for IA customers.

In this video Sara Fuller of the InstantAtlas support team describes how to change the visibility of components on an indicator basis for HTML reports. This video compliments the Support document ‘How to Change the Visibility of Components Depending on Indicator Selection in InstantAtlas Reports’, which can be found in the Desktop Support area of My InstantAtlas.

Click here to see Sara’s video tutorial –

If you cannot watch videos on YouTube then please click here to see the InstantAtlas Essentials tutorials on our video server.

New InstantAtlas Essentials Video – ‘Learn how to use the Single Map HTML 5 Template’

Hi! I’m Andrea Kirk of InstantAtlas Support and today I would like to introduce to you our new Single Map HTML5 Template.

We have created a video tutorial on the template plus you will also see a video transcript below for reference.


The HTML5 reports work without any plug-ins and can therefore be used on Apple computers and mobile devices such as the iPad. Also, the reports are faster than their Flash equivalent and because HTML5 is an open standard, it is now much easier to integrate the HTML5 dynamic reports into your own website.

If you are already licensed for the Single Map Flash Template, you will automatically be able to use the HTML Edition of the Single Map template as well.

What you can see on the screen in front of you is an example report created with the HTML5 Single Map Template. The default look and feel is slightly different to what you may be used to from the Flash reports, however, you can style and design the report in an even more flexible way than it is possible within Flash.

There are some differences between the HTML5 reports and the Flash reports which I would like to highlight:

Most importantly the HTML5 reports are made to be touch screen friendly. For this reason there is no context menu or some people call it right-mouse-click menu included. The functions such as filtering to a certain selection or clearing the current selection can now be found either in the map toolbar or in the table footer. So for example if I select a few areas you can see that both buttons ‘Filter’ and ‘Clear’ become available. If I select ‘Filter’ the report filters the map and data to only include the areas I selected. Also the filter button now has a red cross which allows me to remove the filter again.

The footer of the Data Table also includes the notes icon for the last selected feature from which you can link to external resources. If there is no link set up for a certain feature, the notes icon will not appear.

You will also find that the Data Explorer works differently. You will not see the whole tree of the data structure but you can drill down from one level to the next. The top level shows all available base geographies. If a report only contains one base layer, the data explorer will show all available themes in the top level. From there you can now drill down to see the indicators of a certain theme and if an indicator has several time periods, you can see these when you click on the indicator. Clicking on a time period or an indicator without time periods will load the data into the report.

When you select a categoric indicator, the bar chart now shows one bar for each category with the height of the bar representing the number of map features which fall into this category.

Another enhancement is that you can now use Google Maps without needing an API key and besides the common layers Street map, Terrain, Hybrid and Satellite the reports also provides a Greyscale version of the Street map.

As you can see in this example, the component titles can now be dynamic, showing for example the selected theme, indicator and time period. You can configure table column headers in the same way.

There is a new component called Menu Bar which can be useful for functions which are less frequently used. In this example it contains Help, Print and Share links. The Print link opens the report in a new widow or tab resized to fit an A4 sheet of paper. If you wish to change this size you can adjust it using the plus and minus buttons. If you are happy with the size you can click the Printer icon to print the report.

Back in the main report window I would like to show you how easy it is to share this report with someone else. Clicking on the Share link in the Menu Bar I get two links. One allows me to send the link to this report in an email. The other one gives me the HTML code to embed this report into my own website without needing to have the report files on my web server. Simply copy and paste this code into the source code of your web page, adjust the width and height settings if you wish and this is all you have to do to embed the report.

You can also export the map and charts as an image. You can do this by clicking the export icon which appears at the top right hand corner of the component when you hover over it. A new browser tab opens which shows the map or chart as an image. You can now save it through the context menu of your browser.

If you click the export icon of the data table, you will not get an image. Instead you can see the data as a comma-separated list which can be copied and pasted into a .csv file or directly into Excel. If you select a subset of the table features, only the selected rows will be exported.

The data which is displayed in the report is served in JSON format. The file is called data.js and replaces the data.xml file which you may know from the Flash reports. The new Excel Data Manager add-in which is part of the InstantAtlas 6.6.0 release allows you to export your data either to XML or to JSON depending on the type of report you are creating.

The final improvement in the HTML5 Single Map template I would like to show you in the InstantAtlas Publisher. If you have been working with Flash templates in the past you know that styling and configuring map layers is not ideal since there are many settings of which some are needing to be set in the Publisher, some in the Designer or Style Editor; some only effect the Legend and some only effect the Map. This has become much more user friendly. All layer settings such as border width, border and fill colours, opacity, if the layer is visible on start-up, if the layer should show tool-tip or labels and so on can now be set in the Publisher in the properties of the layer. After the Publishing process you can change these settings by opening the files called map.js in a text editor. This file is structured very intuitively, so you won’t have any problems finding the setting to change.

I hope you like the new InstantAtlas Single Map HTML5 Template. If you have any questions on how it works or if you would like to suggest improvements, please do not hesitate to write an email to

InstantAtlas Essentials Video | Advanced Pie Chart

Watch the latest InstantAtlas Essentials Video by the IA Support Team.

The Advanced Pie Chart component was newly introduced in Version 6.4.0 of InstantAtlas Desktop and gives you the possibility to show a breakdown of your data for one particular geography feature.