The NAPIS Site Map was designed to bring the power of desktop GIS (geographic information system) technology to natural products researchers. It is delivered with all versions of the NAPIS software and is opened through the Site and Collection forms by clicking on the Vicinity Map, or through the Inventory and OSAR Query forms by clicking on the 'Site Map' button.
In addition to typical map exploration tools, the NAPIS Map has pre-defined GIS query capabilities that allow traditional database queries to include a spatial element. This makes it possible to query your database tables for an attribute that does not exist in the table, but does exist as a map layer. For example, if you learn that an interesting molecule is produced by a particular Genus, but only when the plant is growing in tropical regions where rainfall is greater than 40 inches per year, you can query for similar collections represented in your extract library and group those for testing. You have already recorded in the database habitat dialog a biome of Tropical, Temperate or Polar, but you have not recorded annual rainfall. All you need to do is add a Rainfall layer to the NAPIS Site Map and then you can run a GIS query to pinpoint exact locations and any collections you may have made there.
GIS is a system of hardware and software used for storage, retrieval, mapping, and analysis of geographic data. It allows you to view, question, interpret, and visualize data in ways that would be very difficult or impossible in a spreadsheet containing rows and columns of data. At any time you can right-click on a map_data point to open a menu that will navigate you to the corresponding Site and Collection data.
Exploring the NAPIS Map is done using some simple tools provided on the form:
- Map | Export Map - saves map as bitmap file.
- Map | Print Map - sends displayed map to printer.
- Map | Print Grid - sends displayed grid to printer.
- Folder | New - creates new folder and calls 'Folder Properties' dialog.
- Folder | Open - opens folder, as you can have many folders stored for different projects.
- Folder | Close - closes folder.
- Folder | Set Extents as Default - allows the displayed map extents to be saved as the folder default setting.
- Folder | Properties Define - define map layer properties for path, ID field, GIS file type, symbol style, and layer color.
- View | Zoom - various zoom tools.
- View | Move - various move tools.
- View | Display Settings - for setting appearance of area inset, legend, scale bar, and selection grid on the main map screen view.
- Tools | Zoom In - zooms to drawn rectangle.
- Tools | Zoom Out - zooms out incrementally.
- Tools | Pan - pan map (also available at Area Inset by moving the red box).
- Tools | Information - calls dialog to display text-field attributes of selected map feature on the active layer.
- Tools | Measure - enables measure tool. Double click to end measure.
- Tools | Map Tip - enables tooltip on the active-layer when cursor is passed over a feature in the map display.
- Tools | Navigate - enables a context menu for a Site data point. The context menu allows you to navigate to a parent form that contains the data for the selected point.
- Tools | Find - finds a map feature and enables you to navigate to it.
- Query | Spatial Query - allows you to create a query that defines a polygon for a selected map layer to select all Collection Site points that are within that polygon.
- Query | Site Query - allows you to create a query on the Site table.
- Query | Attribute - allows you to create a query for specific datasets.
Upper Tool Bar
- Back arrow - back to previous form.
- Print - print screen.
- Folder Properties - calls 'Folder Properties' dialog.
- Select Active Layer - select active layer from a list.
- Zoom In - zooms to drawn rectangle.
- Zoom Out - zooms out incrementally.
- Pan - pan map (also available at Area Inset by moving the red box).
- Information - calls dialog to display text-field attributes of selected map feature on the active layer.
- Measure - enables measure tool. Double click to end measure.
- Tip - enables tooltip on the active-layer when cursor is passed over a feature in the map display.
- Find Feature - finds a map feature and enables you to navigate to it.
- Zoom to Selected - zooms to selected map feature.
- Zoom to Active Layer - zooms to extents of active layer.
- Zoom to Extents - zooms to project-set default extents.
Lower Tool Bar
- Select Site by Polygon - allows users to define an irregular polygon area for a map-layer to select Site points that fall within that area.
- Select Site by Rectangle - allows users to define a rectangle area for a map-layer to select Site points that fall within that area.
- Select Site by Circle - allows users to define a circle by dragging across a map-layer to select Site points that fall within that circle.
- Select Site by Radius-point - allows users to define a circle by defining the radius distance (in map degrees) for a map-layer to select Site points that fall within that circle.
- Clear Selected Sites - sets 'Selected' value from 'True' to 'False' in map Grid.
- Selected to Top - moves records that are selected in the map Grid to the top of Grid list, so all 'True' values will be at the top of the 'Selected' column.
- Sort Ascending - sorts ascending on 'Site_id' column.
- Sort Descending - sorts descending on 'Site_id' column.
- 'Navigate' - enables a context menu for a Site data point. The context menu allows you to navigate to a parent form that contains the data for the selected point.
MAP PROJECT FOLDERS
Creating a region-specific map folder is useful when a group works intensively in one geographic region. Large scale (high resolution) maps can be prepared prior to a field expedition to assist in guiding the collection effort. Roads, rivers and political boundaries can be digitized from paper maps for display in NAPIS, and satellite images can be displayed as a GIS backdrop. Any mapped information, such as the results of a GIS-based biodiversity assessment or predictive modeling of species occurrence, can be digitized and displayed as a map layer. When used together with GPS in the field, the NAPIS map can provide a valuable source of information to support management of a field expedition.
In addition to supporting field expeditions, researchers in the laboratory may find the NAPIS map useful. Mapped information on the geographic distribution of a biological resource may play a role in promoting active leads for follow-on studies.
The map folder below is for an area of the Peruvian Amazon north of Iquitos. This folder includes a Geo/TIFF image that was derived from a Landsat satellite image (30 meter pixel). A second map layer shows the lines delineating the boundary of the Amazon River. It is possible to create detailed map folders like this to view your data (note the scale-bar at the bottom of the form).
Data is represented in GIS systems through a series of layers; each layer contains a distinct dataset and attributes that describe that data. For example, you could have a data layer representing the location of samples collected. For any of those samples you would have a series of database tables that describe its attributes (e.g. genus, species, family, etc.). In a GIS system, you can overlay many layers and then query across the layers to perform some very sophisticated analysis. In the Folder Properties dialog you can 'Add' or 'Remove' map layers.
Each project folder is made up of map layers which can be points, lines, polygons, or images in latitude-longitude units of degrees: decimal degrees. NAPIS supports ESRI Shape File format and the TIFF and Geo/TIFF image formats, as well as ArcINFO and SDE file formats. Geo/TIFF files must be georeferenced with 'World Files'. The Layer Properties dialog shown below defines the layers and controls their color display.
Please contact White Point Systems for additional information on map projects and creation of region-specific map-layers.
A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT MEASURING DISTANCE
All data displayed within the NAPIS map are based on degree: decimal degree units and are projected onto a Cartesian grid. Direction and distance are considerably distorted at higher latitudes on the NAPIS map.
Map projections allow areas on the surface of the Earth (a spheroid) to be represented on a map (a flat surface). In this way the precise position of features on the Earth's surface can be obtained from the map. However, all map projections distort shape, area, distance or direction to some extent. The impact of this distortion on your work depends on what you will be using your map for, and its scale. On smaller scale maps, such as regional and world maps, where a small distance on the map may represent a considerable distance on the Earth, this distortion has a bigger impact. This is particularly true in NAPIS for comparison of shape, area, or distance of different features.