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  4. How do I upload my own polygon or points reference layer?
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  4. How do I upload my own polygon or points reference layer?

How do I upload my own polygon or points reference layer?

How do I upload my own polygon or points reference layer?

Login to your Global Fishing Watch account to upload personal reference layers.

Click the ‘+’ icon in the Reference Layers section to add reference layers in a workspace, and then ‘Upload new reference layer’. You can upload polygon or points reference layers. Currently .zip shapefiles and .json files are supported, alongside .csv files for points. Drag and drop your file into the Global Fishing Watch map or click to select the file from your computer. Add a name and description for the reference layer.

If your polygon dataset features multiple named areas (e.g. different named areas of interest within the same file), select that field from your dataset under ‘Field to name each area’ to import that data into the Global Fishing Watch map.

Confirm to add the reference layer to the map. This may take some time depending on the complexity of the dataset.

Once uploaded, you can toggle the reference layer on or off within the left side bar of the map. Access all your uploaded reference layers by clicking on your profile icon on the bottom left of your screen.

Further specifications are based on the type of dataset:

Format: zip, json

  • ShapeFile
    • It must be a .zip format file that contains at least these files:
      • .shp:shape format
      • .shx: shape index
      • .dbf: attributes or properties
      • .prj: projection of the data
    • If any of the files are missing, this error message will appear: Error reading shapefile: must contain files with *.shp, *.shx, *.dbf and *.prj
  • GeoJSON
    • a .json file
    • Or a .geojson file

Points (zip, json, csv)
To upload points via a csv file, the following columns should be present in your dataset:

Column Column Name Text Type
  • latitude
  • lat
  • location-lat
Floating point number
  • longitude
  • lng
  • lon
  • long
  • location-lng
Floating point number

While you can manually select the columns, if you use any of the predefined column names listed in the table, the columns will be detected automatically


How do I know when to upload a polygon as an environment or reference layer?
Upload the polygon as an environment layer if there is data associated with the polygons beyond an area name. An example could be seamount height data associated with the extent of a seamount. In this case, if selected, the environment polygon layer will be shaded to indicate the value of the associated data. In our example, the higher seamounts would appear brighter in the map.

If you do not have any associated data beyond an area name and would only like to plot the boundary information and analyze activity within an area, plot the polygon as a reference layer.

What should I do if my zip file is not working?
Ensure that only one shapefile is present in each zip file. If you do so, this error message will appear: Shapefiles containing multiple components (multiple file names) are not supported yet

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