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

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.
3. Select the Places tool and enter the necessary information and click Save.

Once the Places tool is added to your EHQ page, you can Edit, Preview and Delete the tool using the options provided.

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

Details: The title and description of the map can be edited..
Set location: Here the map location for the places tool can be set.
Add map layer: Various types of map layers can be added here such as custom layer, shapefiles, kml files etc.
Add pins: Multiple pin categories can be created and saved in this section.
Add questions: Survey questions can be added under this section and will only be visible to a user once they drop a pin.

Settings : Under this tab, changes can be made to participation settings , participation pin settings , permalink and email notifications and acknowledgements.

Creating New Places Map

5. Details

Here you can provide a title for your map and a brief description as well.

In the Edit Places page, if your location has not been detected already by the system, or if you wish to add a specific different location, you can set it by using the search function on the right.

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.

6. Next, add any layers of extra information you want to appear on your map. Select the Add Map Layer option where you can add a shapefile, WMS layer, KML file or a custom draw. 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:

Add Boundary and Map Layer

7. 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.

8. Set a specific region or consultation area on the map provided. This is the map area that will be visible to the participants in the front end. However, please note that participants can zoom outside of the visible area set.

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 center point for your map.

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

9. You might also want to designate a restricted area of pin submissions. 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 Shape, Finish, Delete last point and Cancel on the screen as illustrated in the below image.

On clicking, Click to continue drawing Shape option is displayed. Add multiple points on the map to draw your polygon. As illustrated in the gif 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.

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

11. After confirming the edits and clicking on 'Done', you can further customize this layer with the option to change the color, opacity and its border line width as shown below.

12. You can also select an option to Restrict Pins within Boundary. This prevents participants from placing pins outside the set boundary area. If this is enabled and if more layers have to be added, each layer will need to have it's pin submission area defined. Otherwise it won't allow any pin drops on the added layers. Unselect this checkbox if you want to allow participants to place pins outside the set boundary. Ensure you Save the changes.

In this manner you can add multiple polygons, line boundaries and solid shapes 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 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.

13. Once the map area is set up, use the pin categories to create a pin that a participant can use to drop on the map. The pin categories can be added by going to Add pins > Add Pin Category.

14. Start by providing a 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 existing icon symbol. Here you view the entire range of icons available with a search option too as shown below.

15. Click the Add Pin Category to add more than one pin. You can add a maximum of 15 pin categories, however the more options you allow for your community the more complex the activity can become.

16. You will be able to see the option to Delete a pin category provided there are no submissions made on this tool. Click this button to remove a pin category if you no longer need it. When there are submissions made, you can only Hide pin categories. You must have at least one pin category.

Adding Survey Questions

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

17. Click on the Add Questions tab to add the survey questions. The following page is displayed.

18. Click Add. The following screen is displayed.

19. 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.

20. Enter the survey question in the Question box.

21. 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.

22. 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.

23. Click Add to add more survey questions to Places. Else, click Save
24. To edit a survey question, click the Edit option. Click Delete to delete a survey question.

25. Click Save to add the new places map to your project.

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

26. The final section is the Settings tab.

27. Select the Allow unverified participation option to allow unverified user’s participation.

28. 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.

29. 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.


30. 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.

Editing Email Settings

31. Go to Settings and scroll down to Email Notifications and Acknowledgements section to edit the email settings for your places tool.

The following screen is displayed.

32. When you select the Turn on acknowledgement to admin option, an email is sent to the admin each time a pin is dropped on the map.


33. Select the Turn on acknowledgement to user option to send an acknowledgement to the participant.

34. Click Save to add the new places map to your project.

35. 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.


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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