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Adding Map Resources

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Modified on Tue, 08 Aug 2017 11:44 AM
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Map resources

Before using the Map data visualization control on a dashboard, you must first import some map data into the system in the form of map resources. Dundas Dashboard supports the following map data formats:


Map resources folder.

Map resources folder.


Tip: The Shared Resources folder now contains a set of prepopulated map resources which are categorized into different continents and geographical regions.

Supported formats

ESRI Shapefile format

The ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) shapefile format is a popular binary file format for storing vector map data and is used by many of the public domain maps that you can acquire through the internet.

A single ESRI shapefile is actually composed of three separate files: a main (.SHP) file containing geographic data, an index (.SHX) file containing record information, and a database file containing data associated with the geometry elements stored within the SHP file. For example, a map of the United States might be represented by the files:

  • usa.shp - Main SHP file which contains definitions of geometry elements such as polygons, polylines, or points.
  • usa.shx - Index file containing information about how to read the shape data (SHP file).
  • usa.dbf - DBF (dBASE) file which defines a database table of attribute values. Contains one record (or row) per geometry element.

Shapefile geometry

An ESRI shapefile may contain geometry elements such as polygons, polylines, or points. However, each shapefile can contain only one type of geometry element. For example, one shapefile might contain only polyline elements, representing the road layer of a map. Another shapefile might contain only polygon elements, representing state boundaries on a U.S. map. If you want to display both roads and state boundaries on the same map, you must import each shapefile as a separate map resource, then choose both resources to be displayed in combination on the same Dundas Dashboard Map control.

Dundas Dashboard supports the following geometry element types in a shapefile:

  • Point
  • PolyLine
  • Polygon.

The following geometry element types are not supported:

  • Null Shape
  • MultiPoint
  • PointZ
  • PolyLineZ
  • PolygonZ
  • MultiPointZ
  • PointM
  • PolyLineM
  • PolygonM
  • MultiPointM
  • MultiPatch

Note: In Dundas Dashboard 5.0.2 or later, shapes with empty geometry (&ie; zero points) will not be imported. In previous versions, such shapes were imported, but result in an error when the map is loaded.

XAML files

Dundas Dashboard can also import XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) files created with Microsoft Expression Blend. The XAML format lets you display shapes in the Map control that are diagrammatic in nature instead of geographical, such as an office floor plan.

Dundas Dashboard supports XAML files with the following precise format:

  • The root element in the XAML file must be a Canvas element.
  • The root Canvas element can contain only these XAML element types as children:
    • supported Shape elements (see table below)
    • nested Canvas elements.

The table below shows the list of supported XAML Shape elements and what they are converted to within Dundas Dashboard.

XAML element Map element
 Ellipse  Symbol
 Path (with first figure closed)  Shape
 Path (first figure is not closed)  Path
 Polyline  Path
 Polygon  Shape
 Rectangle  Shape

Additionally, each XAML shape element should have a x:Name property for data-binding purposes.

A XAML file in Expression Blend (floorplan.xaml).

A XAML file in Expression Blend (floorplan.xaml).


Finding map data

Where can I find shapefiles?

A set of shapefiles is included with the Dundas Dashboard installation. By default, shapefiles are installed to the following folder on the Dundas Dashboard server:

  • C:\Program Files\Dundas Data Visualization Inc\Dundas Dashboard\{InstanceName}\Resources\Maps\ShapeFiles

The actual location on your system will vary depending on the installation path chosen and the exact version of Dundas Dashboard that you have installed. Please see your Dundas Dashboard administrator for access to these shapefiles.

You can also find shapefiles for download from these websites:


  • Free for academic and non-commercial use, or with prior permission:



Importing map data

You import map data into Dundas Dashboard in the form of map resources, and then combine these resources on the Map control to display a complete map. The figure below illustrates this workflow in Dundas Dashboard:

Map resources workflow.

Map resources workflow.


Note: Loading large map files can take some time, depending on your network connection speed. The application will warn you when a large data file might cause Dundas Dashboard to appear frozen during the data transfer.

Importing an ESRI shapefile

To import an ESRI shapefile as a map resource:

  1. Expand the top-level Project Resources (or Shared Resources) folder in the Design Explorer.
  2. Select the Maps folder, then click its menu button.
    The Maps Menu.
  3. From the menu, choose New Map. The Map Data Import Wizard is displayed.
  4. In the first step of the wizard:
    • Choose the ESRI Shape File option.
      Choose the ESRI option.
    • Click Next.
  5. In the second step of the wizard:
    • Click the button next to the first empty box to select your shapefile. Use the resulting file selector to choose a .SHP file.
      Choose the ESRI option.
    • Next, select your SHX index file by click the button beside the second empty box. Use the file selector to choose your .SHX file.
    • If you have a DBF file, click the Load a DBF File button, then use the file selector to choose the DBF file.
    • If you do not have a corresponding DBF file, select the No DBF available check box. In this case, each of the imported shape elements will be given a generic name such as Shape1, Shape2, &etc;
    • Use the Optimize slider to control the amount of map detail you want to import:
      • To optimize for quality, move the slider to the left. The resultant map will be more detailed but the time to import and the time to load the map will be longer.
      • To optimize for speed, move the slider to the right. The resultant map will be simpler and show less detail but the time to import and the time to load will be quicker.
    • If you chose a DBF file, click Next to go to the third step of the wizard.
  6. In the third step of the wizard, the attribute records from the DBF file are displayed in a grid. Each record (&ie; grid row) corresponds to a single shape element from your SHP file.
    • Review the attribute values and choose the column you want to use for naming your shape elements. The name given to each of your shape elements is important when you want to bind business data (⪚ a Dataset or KPI) to your map.
      Choose the Name column.
      Note: The Map Data Import Wizard only imports the values from the name column you selected. All other attribute columns and values, even though you see them in this wizard, will be discarded. If you want to use these other attribute columns to build Datasets or KPIs, you need to create a data connector for the DBF file.

  7. Click Finish. The import process begins.

When the import is completed, a new map resource item is added under the Maps resource folder.

New map resource.

New map resource.


Handling large shapefiles

As mentioned in an earlier note, loading large map files can take some time, depending on your network connection speed. The application will warn you and ask for confirmation to proceed if you attempt to load a large shapefile.

This warning appears when importing a large shapefile.

This warning appears when importing a large shapefile.


To prevent unnecessary delays, your shapefile should not exceed any one of the following limits:

  • 300 shape (Polygon) or path (PolyLine) elements.
  • 500 symbol (Point) elements.
  • 1.5 MB file size.

To reduce the file size of your shapefile, it is recommended that you simplify it using one of the following third party applications:


By default, the largest shapefile you can upload is approximately 4 megabytes in size. Trying to upload a larger file may result in a network communication error. If you do need to load a larger shapefile, increase the maxRequestLength attribute value in your Dundas Dashboard website's Web.config file. By default, it is set to 4096 kilobytes. For example, the following setting allows a 32 megabyte shapefile to be loaded:

...

For further details, see this MSDN article.

Importing a XAML file

To import a XAML file as a map resource:

  1. Expand the top-level Project Resources (or Shared Resources) folder in the Design Explorer.
  2. Select the Maps folder, then click its menu button.
    The Maps Menu.
  3. From the menu, choose New Map. The Map Data Import Wizard is displayed.
  4. In the first step of the wizard:
    • Choose the XAML option.
      Choose the ESRI option.
    • Click Next.
  5. In the second step of the wizard:
    • Click the Load a XAML File button. Use the resulting file selector to choose a .xaml file.
      Choose the XAML option.
  6. Click Finish. The import process begins.

When the import is completed, a new map resource item is added under the Maps resource folder.

New map resource.

New map resource.


Managing map resources

Renaming a map resource

To rename a map resource:

  1. Select the map resource item in the Design Explorer, then click its menu button.
    Map Menu.
  2. From the menu, choose Rename. A text box appears in place of the map resource item.
    Renaming a map resource.
  3. Type the new name for the map resource in the text box, then press ENTER.

The name of the map resource is changed in the Design Explorer.

Deleting a map resource

Warning: Deletion of a map resource is a permanent operation which cannot be undone.

To delete a map resource:

  1. Select the map resource item in the Design Explorer, then click its menu button.
  2. From the menu, choose Delete.
  3. When prompted to confirm the operation, click Delete.

The map resource is removed from the Design Explorer.

Note: You cannot delete a map resource if it is being used by a map control on a dashboard.

Properties of a map resource

To view the properties of a map resource:

  1. Select the map resource item in the Design Explorer, then click its menu button.
  2. From the menu, choose Properties. The Properties dialog is displayed, showing General properties and Dependencies.

Use the Dependencies tab to see which dashboards are using the map resource.

See Project Item Properties for more details on using the Properties dialog.

Map resource properties.

Map resource properties.


Using the Dundas Dashboard Map control

Now that you have map resources, you can go to the Dashboard Designer and add a Map control to your dashboard.

For more details, see Using the Map Control.

Related topics


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