18 February 2011

Africa Maps, Layers and data - Totally FREE !

Search, Download, discover and explore more than 50 maps layers and data of Africa free from this exclusive web portal.

The View tab displays a base layer map (called Google Physical) when you first open AfricaMap. You can choose from several other base layers by clicking the "+" symbol at the upper right and selecting other maps.

You can zoom in and out on the map (change scales) by clicking on the '+' or '-' icons on the zoom bar to the left. You can also click on the zoom bar or drag the zoom bar to change scales. Alternatively you can use your mouse wheel if you have one. The most precise way to zoom is by holding the shift key down, then clicking on your mouse and holding while dragging to create a window. This approach let you go straight to the area you wish to zoom to.

You can search for specific places in Africa (towns, rivers, mountains, etc.) by name using the Text Search Box just below the tabs. Before you search for Places you will need to go into the Map Layers tab, open the Place Names category, and turn on the All Places layer for searching (second toggle). Then go back to the View tab and type in the location you wish to search for in the text box. Locations which match your search (or are close in spelling) are displayed on the map as red triangles. Any layer that has a toggle for searching can be searched via the text box.

If you want to clear the screen click Reset which is to the right of the Text Search Box Search button.

Two methods to save or share map views: (1) To the upper right is a Link-to-this-Map feature that allows you to create a bookmark or URL for any map view. You can email this URL to a colleage so they can see what you see, or you can save the URL as a bookmark. (2) To save an image to a document file we recommend using a free, downloadable screen capture utility called Jing: http://www.jingproject.com, which will allow you to precisely capture any part of your map view and save it to a file.

FREELY Downloadable Map Layers and geodata:
The Map Layers tab lets you turn on map layers that you will then explore in the View. The Map Layers tab also provides access to information about each layer. Open the category you wish to explore by clicking the ‘+’ symbol next the category name. For example click the ‘+’ next to Base Mapping to see all the base mapping layers.

A base mapping layer is a general purpose map displaying roads, political boundaries, towns, rivers and other essential features for orientation. In many African countries there is no detailed online base mapping available. AfricaMap is intended, in part, as a means of providing base mapping where available free of charge.
  • Add – Use the Add column to turn layers on and off for display in the View tab. Any layer turned on here also appears in the Active Layer List (accessible by clicking the '+' sign to the upper right of the map view. Once in the Active Layer List, each layer has a transparency slider bar to control transparency. The order in which you turn layers on determines what layers display on top of other layers. A layer turned on later will display on top of a layer turned on earlier.
  • Search – Turn Search on for a layer to enable both map-click and text searches. If Search is turned on for a layer and you click on the map, information will be returned for that layer which describes the location at which you clicked. In addition, when you use the text search you will be searching the data behind that layer and will display features matching your search on the map. Search is only available for some layers.
  • Name – The name of the map layer.
  • Description – The description of the map layer.
  • Date – The year of the data.
  • Source – The organization which created the data layer, except where paper maps are the source. In the case of paper maps, the organization which created the paper maps is provided as the source.
  • Scale – The published, or in some cases estimated, scale of the data.
  • Extent Description – Describes the extent of the layer.
  • Language – The language used.

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