Parish Online Stories

Your guide to the new Parish Online

We’ve made a lot of changes in the new version of Parish Online. Here is a guide to understanding what’s new and what’s changed.

 

Things that work differently
 

Logging In

We’ve got a new login page so if you’ve got Parish Online bookmarked then we’d recommend changing that now. Go to https://parishonline.xmap.cloud and set it as your new Parish Online bookmark. If you’re wondering what XMAP is, it’s the name we’ve given to the overarching software which supports Parish Online.

 

Logging Out

You still log out from a button in the top right, but this time it’s under the ‘power’ icon. Simply click the power icon then select Log Out.

 

Info Click

The Info Click button has gone. Now all you need to do is click on the map over the object you want information about. You’ll see the sidebar change to give you a list of the objects it found. Click on the relevant object to find out the details. To close the information sidebar, just click on the X in the top right.

 

Navigation

It’s now possible to use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out of the map. It’s a simple thing but it’s so much easier. To pan the map, all you need to do is click and drag. It’s much easier to get around.

 

Selecting Layers

As soon as you select a layer it will switch on. Simply click it again to switch it off. You can click any part of the bar. Once you’ve switched on a layer you’ll see a spinning circle icon appear which will then go to a Tick icon once the layer is loaded. This icon will spin whenever new layer information is being loaded (i.e. as you pan the map).

 

Selecting Collections

To switch on all the layers within a Collection, use the middle-click button on your mouse. This will turn on all the layers simultaneously. Use this with caution as it’s not always necessary to switch on all the layers.

 

Annotation

The old Scratchpad is now called Annotation and it is found under the Tools menu. Be sure to use Annotation only for temporary data such as marking up a Print. It’s very important to remember that Annotation is not designed to store structured data. Use Layers for storing your permanent data such as asset registers and neighbourhood plans.

 
Search

Your search options are now found in the top right of the screen. There’s a box there to type in a postcode or a place and it immediately gives you results. This makes it quicker to move around the map and reduces clutter on the screen. The white drop-down arrow allows you to switch between different search databases (e.g. postcode or places).

 

Editing

Adding a Feature. To add a new feature to a map go to ‘Create’ then ‘Add Feature’. It will change the sidebar and prompt you to choose the Layer you want to add to. This window will stay open until you click the X button, so you can create lots of different features without having to switch between menus.

 

Editing and Deleting. If you want to edit an object, first click on it in the map and the Info Click information will appear. At the top of the sidebar there are some options available to you. One is the ‘pencil’ icon which switches you into the editing mode. You can change the geometry of the object and the attributes and save.

To delete an object, click the ‘bin’ icon.

 

Drawing. The process of drawing an object is much easier now. To finish drawing a line, double-click your last position. To finish drawing a polygon, single-click on your first point. It’s also much easier to modify the shape of a line or polygon. Your mouse will snap to the line and you can then simply drag it to where you want it. It’s so quick to do!

 

The Control Panel is now called Administration

The Control Panel now has its own page called Administration. Access Administration by clicking the ‘power’ icon in the top right and choosing ‘Administration’. It will take you to a page where you can control your users, layers and billing.

 

Things that you might be missing
 

Data shared from a District or County

If you find that your new version of Parish Online is missing some of the data provided by the District or County Council, don’t worry because we can add it back in. We’ve cleared out some of the older datasets because we don’t want you to base decisions on old information. To get the data back, just contact us and we’ll see if we can source up-to-date layers for you.

 

Faded or Hybrid Base Maps

You won’t see any hybrid or faded base maps in Parish Online anymore because you can now fade all the layers as you want. More on this below.

 

New things
 

Collapse the sidebar

If you want the map window to be bigger you can collapse the sidebar. Click on the three-bar icon in the top left to toggle the sidebar on and off. If you want to Info Click or switch layers you’ll need to toggle the sidebar back on again.

This feature is particularly handy if you’re viewing maps on a tablet where you don’t have as much screen space to see the map.

 

Re-order Layers

You can now change the order of your own layers. Go to the Administration section, select the Layers menu item then simply use the little three-bar icon alongside each layer and drag them up and down the list. This is useful for making layers with points to display on top of lines or polygons. We know this was highly requested, so enjoy!

 

Fade Layers

There’s now an option to change the opacity of a Layer. When you hover over a Layer in the sidebar a small cog appears. Click it and there’s a slider. Move the slider left and right and you’ll see the layer fade in and out. This is really handy if you want to temporarily reduce the brightness of a particular layer.

Our top tip is to try this on some base layers. You can now switch on multiple layers at the same time and fade them. This creates your own customised hybrid layers and some of them look fantastic!

 

New Styling Tool

The new styling tool is accessed from the Layer cog as well. Hover over a Layer in the sidebar, click on the cog then click Styling. It will bring up a full-screen styling tool that allows you to set options for single or class-based styles. It’s a much easier tool to use and allows you to create beautiful maps.

 

Filter Layers

This new feature lets you filter a Layer based on criteria in the attributes. So, for example, you could filter one of your own layers to show only dog waste bins instead of all bins. Or you could filter the Department for Transport road accidents layer by year.

 

Annotation options

In the Annotation tool we’ve added a new option that wasn’t available in the old scratchpad; adding arrows onto lines. This is especially useful when you want to point out something specific on a Print.

 

More 3rd party data

We’re adding new datasets all the time and with this new release we’ve taken the opportunity to add more datasets. Have a browse through the Layer Control to see what might be useful for you. Our favourite additions are the new British Geological Survey datasets.

 

Data extract on polygons

Previously it was only possible to extract data from a polygon you’d drawn in the scratchpad. That’s no longer the case. You can now extract data either from an Annotation object, or from any polygon layer within Parish Online. So for example it’s now very easy to extract all the Listed Buildings from within your parish boundary. However, this doesn’t work on layers that are being streamed from other sources, such as some Environment Agency layers. You can tell if a layer is hosted externally by hovering over the layer in the Layer Control panel.

To use Data Extract, first Info Click on the polygon you want to use as the boundary (e.g. your parish boundary). In the sidebar there’ll be a ‘download’ icon at the top. Click on that and a new window will appear. Choose the layer you want to extract data from, e.g. Listed Buildings, then click Run.

 

Self-serve password resets

If you’ve forgotten your password you can now use the ‘Forgot Password’ button on the login page. It will ask you for your email address then send you a link to create a new password. This is a lot easier and a lot more secure than before.

We’ve also updated our password policy. You’ll initially have the same password as in the old system but if you want to reset your password it will need to be a minimum of 10 characters, including a number, an uppercase letter, and a special character.

 

Create Staff User Accounts

All Parish Online accounts can now support additional users. New users can be added through the Administration panel. Instead of sharing your own login details with others (a very bad idea) you can give new users access to Parish Online as an editor or a read-only user of each layer. This lets you keep control of your account and share the benefits of Parish Online with other staff, volunteers or councilors.

 

Full Encryption

We have also beefed up our site encryption. All traffic between you and our servers is now encrypted. You can check this by looking for the padlock icon on your web browser URL bar.

 

Dormant Accounts

If you end your Parish Online trial or your subscription lapses you will no longer be locked out of your account. Instead you’ll be able to log in but only to access the billing information for your account. This will allow you to renew your subscription if you want to.

 

We hope you find this rather lengthy article useful to see how we’ve improved Parish Online. You’ll find more detail on these features in our Knowledge Base along with other tips and tutorials for using Parish Online.


Parish Online (GeoXphere Ltd), PO Box 6987, Basingstoke, RG24 4HQ

GeoXphere General Enquiries (note: this is not a support line): +44 (0) 2034 114 544

© 2016 - 2019 GeoXphere Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Parish Online is a GeoXphere product.