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


Profiling tourism employment in England and Wales


In 2015 ONS released an interactive Atlas of Tourism for England and Wales created using InstantAtlas. This was followed by a statistical bulletin that classified the areas in the atlas to show the importance of tourism.

The template that ONS chose for the Atlas of Tourism is the Double Map Time Series, which allows the user to compare the data distribution for two variables using a map and bar chart. In order to demonstrate the versatility of InstantAtlas I have created an alternative representation of the same data using our Area Profile template. It opens showing the spatial classification developed by ONS, with clusters 4 an 5 representing what they term ‘holiday hotspots’. The report allows the user to select specific authorities in the map in order to profile them using the ‘spine chart’ graphic on the right – and to click on the indicators in the spine chart to update the map. For benchmarking purposes, the median authority has been included in the spine chart. This report is more geared towards a user that is interested in a particular authority and its tourism profile.

Click on the screenshot below to access the Tourism Area Profile report.

Pierre Jenkins, Head of InstantAtlas Support


The data in this report were downloaded here and are licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Enhance your InstantAtlas Server profiles with a Google location map


The Profiles module of InstantAtlas Server provides a powerful set of tools to design and deliver highly effective reports containing a mix of appropriate information relating to a specific area or number of areas. They support a wide range of chart types and tables, intelligent text, and images. This tutorial is aimed at InstantAtlas Server (IAS) administrators that wish to enhance their profile reports by adding an interactive location map.

Including a map at the top of a profile that shows the location of the area being reported on is useful for obvious reasons. An end user that is not familiar with the area will want to know where it is. A map also makes the profile more visually interesting, particularly if the rest of the profile is dominated by text and/or tables.

Click here for the full tutorial

5 tips for creating point maps in InstantAtlas

InstantAtlas is great for showing statistics by area and there are many examples of reports containing area-based maps (called choropleth maps). But IA is also suitable for creating point maps.

One excellent example is this report published by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency to show traffic collisions in Northern Ireland in 2012. I’m a big fan of this report and will use it to illustrate my top 5 tips for creating point maps with IA.

Read the full article

Traffic collisions report for Northern Ireland 2012

Traffic collisions report for Northern Ireland 2012

Using InstantAtlas to visualise rates and counts using Police Workforce data for England and Wales, March 2013

The Home Office have recently published their latest police workforce statistics on This is a rich dataset with multiple tables and contains a mix of rates and counts. Having looked it over, I was interested in how InstantAtlas (IA) could be used to visualise this dataset, and in particular, cope with a mix of rates and counts in the same report.

To read the full story click here

June round-up of InstantAtlas stories

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

In this edition we have some great posts from Pierre JenkinsIan Holmes and Jan Weststeyn of InstantAtlas support plus a recorded webinar presentation from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. We also have customer stories from the UK Office for National Statistics and Harrow London Borough Council.

Pierre Jenkins

Customising InstantAtlas Server Emails
by Dr. Pierre Jenkins, Head of InstantAtlas Support

Our support team has received a few requests recently from InstantAtlas Server customers who want to change the look of the emails that their data observatory automatically sends out to registered users.

The “account activated”” email is an important introduction to the system. A friendly, informative email that is easy on the eye will do a good job of selling the system to the user. It can be used to direct them to helpful resources such as a user guide or video tutorials for example. And customising this email is so easy once you know how.


Ian HolmesUsing JavaScript in InstantAtlas Server Profiles
by Ian Holmes, Senior Support Consultant

One of the hot topics at the InstantAtlas Data Workshops earlier this year explained how to use JavaScript in Text Widgets for conditional formatting in the InstantAtlas Server (IAS) Profiles module. Since then the support team has received a number of requests for further information on this topic.

Substitution strings in Text Widgets enable you to create intelligent sentences that add real value to the narrative that you can put around the other Widgets in your Profile.  These have been available in IAS for a long time and we are aware that a number of customers have made good use of them.  However one of the limitations of the substitution strings is that they’re not able to do conditional statements.  For example if an Indicator value has changed between two dates it is not possible to get the Widget to enter the word ‘increased’ or ‘decreased’; instead you have to word your sentence to say that the value has ‘changed’ between the two dates.


Jan WeststeynUnderstanding Server Profiles
Extract presentation from our recent North America Public Health Webinar with the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services

Hi I’m Jan and I’m part of the user support team based in Houston and my job is to provide support to our North American clients for both our desktop and server based products.

In the next 15 mins or so I will show you some examples of our InstantAtlas Server Profiles module; how it works and I will also highlight some of the benefits you gain by using this as part of an InstantAtlas Server solution. Afterwards I’ll show you how you can build Profiles using an actual InstantAtlas Server Administration website on a live demonstration.

Okay let’s begin, please select a video link option below

Customer Story: Office for National Statistics, UK
‘How the Office for National Statistics has used data visualisation to enhance its Local Enterprise Partnership profiles’

InstantAtlas talks to Tom Mahoney, Area Based Analysis | ONS

The office for National Statistics is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and is the recognised national statistical institute of the UK. It produces a series of bi-annual Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Profiles to help LEPs use official statistics to better understand the economic, social and environmental picture for LEPs and the local authority areas within them. The LEP Profiles include official statistics covering a variety of different themes to provide a broad overview of each LEP which include: demography, employment, enterprise and housing.

Tom Mahoney works in the Area Based Analysis team and says that the LEP Profiles are popular but the team felt that data mapping software would improve the profiles and help users understand the data better.

Read the article

Customer Story: Harrow Informed
‘Harrow Informed, a local information system that is helping more people access intelligence about health, crime and economic activity’

InstantAtlas talks to Solakha Lal Management Information Officer, Harrow London Borough Council

Harrow Informed is a local information system (LIS) that was commissioned by the Harrow Chief Executives Group and implemented as a partnership project by the Joint Analytical Group (which includes Harrow Council, Harrow Police and public health analysts). The aim was to develop an information hub that could be used to inform the development of strategy across the council and its partners.

Getting started

The Corporate Performance team at Harrow Council was responsible for developing the LIS. It decided that information would be best presented in a visual format and having seen other Local Authorities using InstantAtlas decided to follow suit. Several workshops and information sessions were held for data analysts, managers and councillors to help the team understand what the LIS should look like and identify which data should be used. Downloading the data from different websites and formatting was an initial concern and the team opted to use OCSI data packs, which took a familiar approach to data collection and reduced officer data time and resource.

Read the article

InstantAtlas tutorial video refresh

Over the last couple of months we have been going through a refresh of our core video tutorials. So now as well as seeing how you can create great looking flash based reports we have now provided the HTML equivalent supporting video.  Plus we have also refreshed the core product video tutorials for Designer, Publisher and Excel Data Manager.  You will also see that the videos now come with captions for those with a preference to read text instructions whilst watching the tutorials.

Our videos remain available on YouTube but for those who cannot watch our YouTube Channel we are also providing the videos on our own dedicated streaming video server.

InstantAtlas on YouTube

Using IA Publisher, Designer and Excel Data Manager

‘How to use IA dynamic reports’

InstantAtlas on our dedicated video server IA Essentials