Add the Places Tool to your Project

Learn how to add and configure Places, including style, layers, pins, questions, and settings.

Vishwas Prasad avatar
Written by Vishwas Prasad
Updated over a week ago

The Places tool is an interactive mapping tool that allows participants to contribute location information, comments, and images and answer attached survey questions. This is a great tool for investigating community views about locations and can be used in several different ways.

This is an extensive tool with several different configuration tabs:

Create a new Places tool

To add Places to your project:

  1. Select Add a tool on your project page and choose Map; you’ll find this tool in the All or Open environment tabs.

  2. Add a title for your tool and select Create.

  3. In the Details tab, you can use the text field to introduce the Places tool; this is a great place to include instructions on how to use the tool.

  4. Use the Set Location tab to set the central point of your map and change your Map style.

  5. Go to the Add Map Layer tab to upload or create your map’s layers.

  6. Use the Add Pins tab to create pin categories for your participants to use.

  7. Set survey questions in the Add Questions tab.

  8. Use the Settings tab to change your settings, then select Save.

  9. In the tool's tabs, you can choose the pen icon next to the tool name to edit it. You can also select Edit to make further changes, Preview, or Delete it.

  10. When you’re ready, use the dropdown menu to Publish the tool.

  11. Select Add a Places map to start creating another interactive map.

Once the places tool is published, you can Unpublish it to move it back to Draft status and remove it from your live site. If the consultation or feedback period has concluded, you can Archive it so that pins and comments are still visible, but submissions are closed.

You can only Delete the tool if there are no submissions. If admins or users have added pins, you will need to contact Support for help with deletion.


In the Details tab, you can edit the Title and add a Description to display on the project page and the information panel of the map. The Title has a maximum of 245 characters, and there is no limit to the Description text editor.

This is a great place to introduce the tool and add instructions for your participants. For example, you could include:

  • What the purpose of the map and project are

  • Step-by-step instructions on what participants can see on the map and how they can add pins

  • How comments or survey responses will display

  • What you’re planning to do with the contributions

You can find example instructions that you can provide for the Places tool on our demo site.

Set Location

The Set Location tab allows you to set the visible map area and set your Map style.

The default map area will be the location of your browser if you have your browser location settings on or the capital city of your country if they’re not. Use the Search for a location search field and the Zoom in and Zoom out functions to look for your starting point. You can also click on and drag the map to change the exact location.

Select Map style to choose from one of eight style options. You can choose from Streets, Satellite, Hybrid, Outdoors, Emerald, Light, Dark, or High contrast.

Add Map Layer

The Add Map Layer tab gives you the opportunity to add extra layers of information or create boundaries for contributions. You can add multiple layers on each map with their own settings and colors.

You can add layers in the following formats:

To add a layer:

  1. Use the Add a map layer dropdown menu to select the type of layer you want to create.

  2. Add a Name for your layer and use the drawing options if you're using Custom or upload the relevant file.

  3. Select Done or Save layer. If you’re using a Custom layer, you cannot continue drawing once you select Done.

  4. Select your options for the layer type you’ve chosen.

  5. Use the eye icon to Hide your layer or the bin icon to Delete it. Save when you’re finished editing, or Cancel your changes and continue adding layers until you’re finished.

  6. Drag and drop your layers in the list to reorder them.

  7. Save when you’re finished.

Add Pins

In this tab, you can the pin categories that participants can use to contribute. You must add at least one category for participants to use and can add a maximum of 15; the more categories you add, the more complex your tool can become.

  1. In the Add Pins tab, select Add Pin Category.

  2. Add a Name and Color for the pin. You can use the color picker or provide a hex code, and the icon will change to match the color you select. Using different colors will help participants distinguish between pin categories.

  3. Select the existing pin to change the pin’s icon; you can use the search bar to look for a relevant icon or browse our alphabetic list.

  4. If there are no submissions on the tool (with any pin), you can use the dropdown menu for each pin to Show or Delete it. Once submissions start, you can use the dropdown to Show or Hide the pin category. Hiding the category ensures that no participants can use it to contribute.

  5. Select Add Pin Category again to add more pins. You cannot reorder your list of categories.

  6. Save your pins when you’re finished.

Add Questions

You can add survey questions to the Places tool for participants to answer when they contribute a pin. Please note that you cannot specify questions for different pin categories; your questions should be general enough to apply to all pins.

The questions you add will become visible after the user has moved a pin into place. If any of them are mandatory, the participant must answer before submitting. To add questions:

  1. Select Add in the Add Questions tab.

  2. Use the Question type dropdown menu to select from the Single Line, Essay, Dropdown, Radio buttons, or Checkboxes question types.

  3. Enter your question into the Question text field. If you chose Dropdown, Radio buttons, or Checkboxes you’ll also need to Add options.

  4. Check the box for Required if your question is mandatory and you can add a short explanation into the Notes field.

  5. When you’re finished, select Create, and you can continue to Add more questions if necessary.

  6. You can use the pen icon to Edit questions and the bin icon to Delete them.

  7. Save when you’re finished.


In the Settings tab, you can adjust the following:

  • Allow unverified participation: Enable this setting to allow anyone with an email and screen name to participate. This removes the need for your community to register and log in.

  • Enable photo upload: Allow participants to upload an image with their contributions.

  • Display address on pins: Enable this setting to display the address when users drop a pin.

  • Make comment mandatory: Enable this setting to ensure that participants must leave a comment before they submit.

  • Permalink: Select Edit to change the URL of this tool.

  • Turn on acknowledgements to admin: Enable this to notify admins of new contributions. You can expand the Acknowledgement to admin to configure the Email subject, Email text, and Recipients.

  • Turn on acknowledgements to user: Enable this to notify participants when they submit a contribution. You can expand the Acknowledgement to user to configure the Email subject and Email text.

Always Save when you’re finished.

What else?

Did this answer your question?