EHQ Places is an interactive mapping tool that allows you to capture geo-spatial feedback as part of your online consultations.

Places is the perfect tool for consultations where you would like to investigate community views about a specific location. There are several distinguishing features of EHQ Places that make it a powerful engagement tool to use as part of your next engagement. With Places you can;

  • Add multiple pin categories to identify feedback on different issues
  • Restrict feedback to a geographic boundary using our polygon boundary tool 
  • Add multiple layers with information in customised colours.
  • Add point and line markers to provide additional information on the map
  • Upload one or more WMS, KML and ESRI shapefile information layers (We don't support ESRI ArcGIS on EHQ)
  • Create a survey, that will appear on each pin drop
  • Select from 9 different map styles for the consultation map area
  • Collect comments and images from responses

The Places tool is well suited to issues identification, local knowledge sharing, options testing and collecting feedback on a range of different issues.

This article covers the following main topics for Places:

Adding Places to your project

To use the Places tool, you have to add it to your project page. The following steps describe the process of adding Places to your project and understanding the various features and fields of the tool.

1. Select the Projects link from the left side and select the respective project.  
2. Click on Add Tools. A list of tools are displayed that can be added to your page.
Select the Places tool and enter the necessary information and click Save.

You have successfully added Places to your project page. Now you will need to manage the setup of the activity using the tool. 

Once the Places tool is added to your EHQ page, you can Edit, Edit map, preview and delete  the tool using the options provided. 

Click on the Edit button to view the various available options. 

Details: The title, description, and permalink of the map can be edited.
Settings: The option to allow users to add a photo, show addresses on pins, allow unverified participation, and make participant comment option are available here.
Notifications: Options to send emails to participants about their pins and administrators get notified when a pin is placed.
Categories: Several type of pins can be added from this.
Surveys: The places tool supports survey questions which will appear once the pin is dropped. 

In the Edit Places page, click on the Set Location option for Map Style and select your required map style. 

The selected map style is applied to the consultation area. EHQ provides the following map style options: Streets, Satellite, Streets Satellite, Outdoors, Emerald, Light, Dark and High Contrast. Two examples are illustrated below.

  • Map Style selected is Streets.
  • Map Style selected is Satellite.

Next, add any layers of extra information you want to appear on your map. Select the Add Map Layer option where you can select a GIS format or you can add a custom map layer. You can add multiple layers to any mapping activity, each with its own settings and colour. These additional layers can be used to provide additional information on the map. Below are the different options for adding a layer to your map:  

Creating New Places Boundary

To create your own boundary for consultation, choose the "Custom (Draw in eHQ)" option.

Enter a name as required. You have the option of adding a rectangle, polygon, or a polyline.

Choose the polygon to draw a shape of your choice.

Set a specific region or consultation area in the map provided. This is the map area that will be visible to the participants and they will not be allowed to move away from this area. As illustrated in the figure above, this map contains several buttons that help you to set the consultation area.

The default location for new maps will be set to the location of your browser. If you have turned off your browser location settings, the map will be set to the capital city of the country. So you can start by using the search tool to help you locate the centre point for your map. 

You should then use the zoom in and out options to help you set the pre-defined zoom level for your activity. You can also click and drag with your mouse to re-centre and move the map around.

You might also want to designate a restricted area of comment. To do this you need to draw the polygon around the focus area on the map. When you click the boundary pencil tool, the cursor changes to a crosshair and you can see options such as Click to start drawing Boundary, Finish, Delete last point and Cancel on the screen as illustrated in the below image.

On clicking, Click to continue drawing Boundary option is displayed. Add multiple points on the map to draw your polygon.
NOTE: You can NOT add a boundary to a map that has pins placed on it.

As illustrated in the image above, Click first point to close this boundary is displayed as you create the boundary.
NOTE: You can delete the last point by clicking on Delete last point option.

13. You can edit or delete the boundary by clicking the pencil option again.

14. After drawing the boundary, you need to click on Edit Styles button to further edit the layer added and then click on the Save button. 

In this manner you can add multiple polygons, lines and points in the map, each with it's own settings. Options to hide or delete each of the layer is provided as shown below. Click on the Settings icon to edit the layer. Remember to click the Save & Close button for the layer before proceeding to the next layer, OR click Cancel to forgo the changes and move to the next setting.

You can re-order the layers by dragging and dropping, the impacts are shown on the map immediately. Note that the layers are numbered. The number on the layer says which level each layer is, on top of the map. So the layer that is marked as "1" is the first layer on the map and subsequent layers are stacked on top.

Once you have Saved a layer, click on the settings wheel to view the Layer Styles black button available to customise your layer with the option to change the color of the layer, opacity and border line width.

You can also select an option to Restrict Pins within Boundary. This prevents participants from placing pins outside the set boundary area. Unselect this checkbox if you want to allow participants to place pins outside the set boundary. Ensure you Save the changes.

Once the map area is set up, use the pin categories to create a marker or pin that your participant will use to leave a mark on the map in order to give you feedback. The pin categories can be added by going to Edit > Categories.

Start by providing a meaningful title for the pin in the Name field of the Pin Categories section. Then click on the Color field and choose a colour for the pin. The icon colour changes to the colour you select. Use different colour pins to help distinguish between your different contributions.

You can also change the pin icon by clicking on the drop-down arrow of next to the Icon section

NOTE: Click View All to view the entire range of icons available with a search option too as shown below.

Click the Add Categories to add more than one pin. You can add as many pin categories as you require, however the more options you allow for your community the more complex the activity can become. (start here)

20. If you add more than one pin category you will be able to see the option to Remove Category. Click this button to remove a pin category if you no longer need it. You must have at least one pin category.

21. The final section is the Participation Settings section. 

22. Click the Allow photo upload checkbox to allow participants to upload photos as part of their contribution. This is a good option if you are interested in people showing you images of the area being commented on.

23. Select the Show Address on pins checkbox to display the address of the pin location when a participant clicks on it at the front end. The front end user view with address on the pin is shown below.

24. Select the Allow unverified participation option to allow unverified user’s participation.
25. Select the Make participant comments optional to make user comment's optional, else, the user will always prompted to leave a comment with the pin. Example as shown below, is a box asking for the user comment at the front end once a pin is dropped.

26. Click Create to add the new places map to your project.

26. Once you have created your new places map you will be taken back to the main places list for your project. Here you can now see your map in draft mode. 

Click the drop-down menu and select Publish to publish the map or Delete to remove.

Editing New Places Map page

27. To edit your places activity, click the Edit  button next to your relevant places activity.

The Places page is displayed in the Edit mode. You can view the Notifications and Surveys option as well as a few other options.

Adding Survey Questions

To add a survey question to your Place page, do the following:

28. Click on the Surveys link to add the survey questions. The following page is displayed. 

29. Click Add. The following screen is displayed. 

30. Select the type of question from the Type drop-down menu. Here, you can provide more options and add a one-liner to appear below the field. 

Note -  Read the article on Survey question types explained, to understand these different types of questions that are used in surveys.

31. Enter the survey question in the Question box.

32. Enter the maximum length of the answer to the survey question in the Maximum Length field and notes in the Notes field to get the participant’s attention.

You can make the question mandatory by selecting the Required checkbox.

33. Click Create to create the survey question. The following screen is displayed. Required is displayed only if you selected the Required checkbox in the survey question page.

34. Click Add to add more survey questions to Places. Else, click Save
35. To edit a survey question, click the Edit option.
NOTE: Click Delete to delete a survey question.

The following page is displayed for editing. Make the necessary changes and click Update.

37. Click Done to save the survey question, or click Add to add more survey questions.

NOTE: The survey questions will be visible in the front end when the users/participants click on the Add Pin option.

Editing Email Settings

38. Click the Notifications link in Edit section to edit the email settings for your place. 

The following screen is displayed.

39. When you select the Send email notification to admins when a pin is submitted checkbox, an email is sent to the recipient each time a pin is dropped on the map.

40. Select the Send email to participant when their pin has been submitted checkbox to send an acknowledgement to the participant. The following screen is displayed.

A quick note on Accessibility: It is worth noting that the eHQ Places tool is partially accessible, participants using a screen reader will be able to tab through the menu and zoom in and out. To understand how this map will appears to participants and how these features can be used, read our article on Understanding the participant view of Places. You will still need to provide an alternative method of engagement such as an Ideas Tool or Survey, to engage with participants with accessibility requirements.

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