Tutorial: Working With Shapes

Shapes have a broad range of uses in Geopointe. You can use them to define property boundaries, business franchise lines, sales territories, canvassing neighborhood areas, just to name a few. That means there are different ways to build, recall, and work with shapes, dependent on your need. This document will cover how to create and edit each of the different shape types in Geopointe. 

Shape Types

Geopointe has two main types of shapes: custom polygons and the shape library. Each can be used to fulfill different needs on the map.

Custom Polygons 

The polygons are broken up into four different sub-types, each drawn in a slightly different way.

Freeform Polygon: A polygon allows you to define as many vertices to draw a shape that meets your needs. Frequent use cases for polygons are searching in a particular neighborhood, searching along a route, or defining an area with odd boundaries.
Rectangle: A rectangle allows you to search in a "viewable area" type fashion, but with more precision.
Circle: The circle shape works similarly to a nearby search, but allows you determine the radius without knowing the exact mileage.
Line: A line allows you to define a linear area on the map, such as a construction project along a roadway, an irrigation canal, or a section of electrical lines.

Shape Library

Our shape library contains a wide variety of geographic boundaries for you to use to build out your shapes. At the highest level, we have shapes that follow country boundaries. For many countries, we also have states, postal codes, and counties. These can be used on their own or combined into larger shapes.

Folders and Retrieving Shapes

Shapes are stored in folders. These folders can store any mixture of saved layers, including shapes, data sets, and demographics layers, or you can keep your shapes in their own folders.

Folders are found on the Saved Layers tab of the control panel. Create new folders by clicking the + icon, the selecting Folder. The next window will allow you to name it and designate if it should be visible to all users.

You can adjust a folder's settings by hovering over the folder and clicking the Menu (three dots) button that appears.

Admins can customize the sharing access to the folder and its contents, as well as rename it, move its contents, or delete it. All users with folder visibility can add the entire folder contents to the map at once.

To load a shape on the map, locate its folder and click the folder name to display the folder contents. Click on the desired Shape and a blue progress bar will appear until your shape appears on the map.

Alternatively, if this is a shape you load often, it may be found in your Recent layers. You can switch to Recent view and click on your Shape from that list.


Create a Shape

Freeform Polygon Shapes

To make a freeform shape, click the Draw Polygon tool in the shape menu on the right side of the Map page. It looks like a pencil drawing a shape. You are ready to draw when your cursor looks like crosshairs on the map.

Click on the map to create each vertex of the polygon. Note: Do not click and drag. Dragging your mouse will just move the map. 

When you're done with your shape, click on the origin point or double click to close it. Closing it shades in the shape. To save it, click inside the shaded area, click Actions, then click Save.

In the next dialogue box, provide a name for the shape, select a folder to save it to, then click Save. 

Rectangle and Circle Shapes

To draw a rectangular shape on the map, click the Rectangle button found in the Shape Tools on far right side of your map. To draw, click on your starting position corner and drag it diagonally to the ending corner. Click to complete your shape.

To save it, click in the shaded area, click Actions, and click Save. A dialogue box will ask you to name it and select a folder. Do so, save it, and you're done.

Adding a circle has very similar steps. Click on the Circle button in the Shape tools. Rather than starting in a corner, start in the center of the circle. Click and drag it out to expand the circle to the desired size. When you release the mouse the circle will appear. Save/interact with it the same way as other drawn shapes.

A line shape is drawn by clicking the Draw Line tool in the shape menu on the right side of the Map page. Its icon looks like a pencil drawing a line. 

When your cursor looks like crosshairs on the map, start drawing by clicking to create the vertex for each line segment. 
Note: Do NOT click and drag. Dragging will just move the map.

When you're done with your line, click on the origin point or double click to end it. To save it, click on the shaded line, click Actions, then click Save.


Geopointe Shape Library

Geopointe offers a library of pre-defined boundary shapes that you can use to create larger shapes and territories, define search areas, analyze regional statistics, etc. 

The shape library includes the following boundaries:

U.S. Congressional districts
Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA's)
Neighborhoods (based on data)
School Districts (including elementary, secondary, and unified)
USPS Zip Codes

To launch the Shape Library, click on the Globe icon in the Shape tools, or click the + from the Saved Layers tab of the Map control panel. 

Shape Library shapes have many options for personalizing the shape to your needs. Here is a quick rundown of those options:

1. Layer Name (Required): This field designates what your shape will be called in the Saved Layers folders.
2. Description: Give more information about your shape, if necessary.
3. Folder (Required)Select the folder your shape will be saved into.
4. Selection Methods and Options
Map Select: Build a shape with the Click Toggle tool or Lasso tools. 
Hierarchy: Build a shape by navigating through the tree structure of Geopointe Shape Library shapes.

​From Text: Build a shape based on zip code values that you enter yourself. 
OptionsAllows you to alter the color, turn labels on or off, and merge the shape.
  • Color: The color and opacity determine how the shape appears on the map.
  • Show Labels: Display the name of your whole shape or all individual shapes inside your shape.
  • Merge: Choosing this option allows you to combine all selected shapes into one shape
5. Shape Type: The type of boundary data (e.g. city, zip code, etc.) 
6. Shape Names: Check to display the names of shape boundaries on the map, or uncheck to hide them. 
7. Selection Type: Use these tools to select boundaries with the Map Select method: Click Toggle, Lasso Add, and Lasso Remove

8. Selected Shapes: Shapes that you have selected to build a larger shape on the map.
9. Cancel: Takes you back to the map without updating the shape.
Apply: Displays the new shape 
Save & New: Saves the current shape and lets you immediately start creating a new one.
Save: Saves the shape.

Shape-Building Methods

When building a shape from the library, you will use one of three available methods. Learn details about each method below.

Map Select 
Build a shape directly on the map by clicking or lassoing areas on the map with the visual shape editor. To use this method, select the shape category from the dropdown. This will overlay the available shapes of that type onto the map. Add or remove shapes by clicking on the map (Click Toggle icon) or lassoing (Lasso Add or Lasso Remove icon.)

Build a shape by navigating through a hierarchical tree structure of Geopointe Shape Library shapes. Add a shape by selecting the check box next to the shape name and using the blue arrows to drill down to areas and granularities. Selecting a box at the top of a list will select all or all filtered boxes in that list. Any category with a blue arrow can be drilled down further. Selected shapes appear on the left.

From Text
There is an alternative method of building shapes using the Geopointe Shape Library, currently specific to zip codes. If you have a list of US zip codes, you can enter the list on the map and have create a shape from the list.

To implement this, start with a Shape Library shape. Switch the shape builder control panel to From Text.

Enter your list into the provided text box. The Selected Shapes will populate on the left. The text box is forgiving and will recognize lists that are comma delineated, semi-colon delineated, spaces, or separate lines. If you want to add these zip codes to a new shape or expand an existing shape, choose Add. If you want to erase all existing boundaries in a shape with the new zip codes, choose Overwrite. When you save the shape, the zip codes associated with the provided text become that new shape.


Edit a Shape

To edit a shape, you either need to have it handy in your list of saved layers or up on the screen.

Freeform, Rectangle, Circle and Line Polygon Shapes

To edit the shape, you can hover over it in the Saved Layers list and click the Menu button on the right, and then choose Edit Shape. Alternatively, with the shape up on the map, left-click on it, then click Actions | Edit. The transform points will become visible on the shape. Adjust the shape as needed, click inside the shape again, and choose Actions | Save.

Geopointe Shape Library

You can edit the shape from the Saved Layers tab by hovering over the layer name and clicking Edit Shape in the Layer Options menu.
If you have the shape loaded to the map already, you can edit it on the Map by clicking on the shape, then click 
Actions | Edit. Or, click the Pencil Icon from the Mapped Layers tab.

To remove a shape, click remove next to it in the Selected Shapes box.
To add additional desired boundaries to the shape, select the Click Toggle or Lasso Add icons or select the Hierarchy tab and then search or navigate through the arrows as done on your initial save.
When you're done, click Save or Save As

Autoload Shapes

If there is a shape you load every time you come to the map, you can favorite it so that it autoloads when you click on the Map tab.

To favorite a shape, click the star icon next to the shape name in the Saved Layers tab. Favorited shapes and layers have a yellow star. To remove it from favorites, click it again.


Shape Uses

Shape uses vary, dependent on your need. Here are some examples to help you get started, but this is certainly not a complete list.

  • Sales or support territories
  • Define a driving route boundary
  • Franchise or service area boundaries
  • Find records along a route
  • Frequently-used search area
  • Utility lines