Depiction User Manual
Depiction User Manual Ver 1.2.2
Depiction User Manual
Version 1.4.3
© 2013 Depiction, Inc. All rights reserved.
Section 9 – Advanced Topics
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Table of Contents
SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................... 4
1.1 A LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER .................................................................... 4
1.2 OVERVIEW OF SOME IMPORTANT CONCEPTS IN DEPICTION ................................................... 5
1.3 W HAT’S NEW IN VERSION 1.4 -1.4.1 -1.4.2 - MAJOR ENHANCEMENTS/CHANGES: ................... 6
SECTION 2: WELCOME SCREEN............................................................................................ 9
2.1 RESOURCES ....................................................................................................................... 9
2.2 SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS ......................................................................10
2.3 EXPLORING THE DEPICTION ENVIRONMENT .........................................................................10
2.4 W ELCOME SCREEN ............................................................................................................10
2.4.3 HELP OPTIONS ...............................................................................................................13
SECTION 3: FILE MENU ..........................................................................................................16
3.1 FILE MENU ........................................................................................................................16
3.2 CREATING A NEW DEPICTION .............................................................................................16
3.3 OPENING AN EXISTING DEPICTION ......................................................................................16
3.4 SAVING A DEPICTION..........................................................................................................17
3.5 VIEWING, ENTERING, OR CHANGING FILE INFORMATION .......................................................17
3.6 PRINTING A DEPICTION .......................................................................................................18
3.7 CLOSING DEPICTION AND EXITING ......................................................................................19
SECTION 4: ADD MENU ..........................................................................................................20
4.1 ADD MENU ........................................................................................................................20
4.2 ADDING ELEMENTS ............................................................................................................20
4.3 DEFAULT ELEMENTS ..........................................................................................................30
SECTION 5: MANAGE CONTENT ...........................................................................................31
5.1 MANAGE............................................................................................................................31
5.3 DELETE ELEMENTS ............................................................................................................40
5.4 EXPORTING ELEMENTS FROM DEPICTION ............................................................................40
5.5 SENDING ELEMENTS AS EMAIL ............................................................................................42
SECTION 6: DISPLAY CONTENT ...........................................................................................45
6.1 DISPLAY CONTENT .............................................................................................................45
6.2 SHOW ELEMENTS ON BACKGROUND ...................................................................................46
6.3 SHOW ELEMENTS IN REVEALERS ........................................................................................47
6.4 CREATE NEW REVEALERS ..................................................................................................48
6.5 MANIPULATING REVEALERS ................................................................................................48
SECTION 7: TOOLS MENU .....................................................................................................50
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
7.0 TOOLS ..............................................................................................................................50
7.1 ADD-ONS ..........................................................................................................................50
7.2 SETTINGS ..........................................................................................................................51
7.3 ELEMENT CREATION ..........................................................................................................53
7.4 INTERACTIONS ...................................................................................................................57
7.5 UPDATE ............................................................................................................................62
SECTION 8: HELP MENU ........................................................................................................63
8.1 HELP MENU .......................................................................................................................63
8.2 HELP TOPICS.....................................................................................................................63
8.3 TUTORIALS ........................................................................................................................64
8.4 LICENSING.........................................................................................................................64
8.5 ABOUT SOFTWARE.............................................................................................................64
8.6 END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT ........................................................................................65
SECTION 9: ADDITIONAL TOOLS ..........................................................................................66
9.1 SELECT TOOL ....................................................................................................................66
9.2 QUICKADD TOOLBAR ..........................................................................................................67
9.3 ZONES OF INFLUENCE ........................................................................................................69
9.4 NAVIGATION TOOLS ...........................................................................................................70
9.5 RIGHT-CLICK MENU ...........................................................................................................71
SECTION 10: ADVANCED TOPICS .........................................................................................72
10.1 LIVE REPORTS .................................................................................................................72
10.2 “EID” – ELEMENT IDENTIFIER – HOW IT W ORKS .................................................................79
10.3 ELEMENTS WITH BEHAVIORS ............................................................................................81
10.4 FILE TYPES THAT CAN BE IMPORTED INTO DEPICTION .........................................................87
SECTION 11A – APRS ADD-ON..............................................................................................90
11A.1 USING THE APRS ADD-ON .............................................................................................90
11A.2 INSTALLING THE APRS ADD-ON .....................................................................................92
SECTION 11B: PREPAREDNESS ADD-ON ............................................................................96
11B.1 USING THE PREPAREDNESS ADD-ON ..............................................................................96
11B.2 PREPAREDNESS QUICKSTART DATA SOURCES ................................................................96
11B.3 INSTALLING PREPAREDNESS ADD-ON .............................................................................97
11B.4 PREPAREDNESS ADD-ON IN DEPICTION ...........................................................................98
APPENDIX A: DEPICTION GLOSSARY ................................................................................100
APPENDIX B: GIS 101: UNDERSTANDING CONCEPTS AND TERMS ...............................103
WHAT IS GIS? .......................................................................................................................103
LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE .....................................................................................................104
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATE FORMATS ....................................................................................104
GEOCODING ..........................................................................................................................105
GEO-ALIGNING & GEOREFERENCING.......................................................................................106
ZOOMING IN AND OUT ............................................................................................................106
MAP PROJECTIONS ................................................................................................................107
DATA FORMATS .....................................................................................................................107
VECTOR DATA .......................................................................................................................108
RASTER DATA AND IMAGES ....................................................................................................110
ELEVATION/GRID DATA ..........................................................................................................111
GIS 101:BIBLIOGRAPHY.........................................................................................................113
INDEX .....................................................................................................................................114
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Section 1: Introduction
1.1 A Letter from the Chairman and Founder
Thank you for purchasing Depiction “more than mapping” software.
Our goal is to provide you with the visualization and simulation tools that were earlier available
only to those with expertise and money. Depiction is a new experience that combines
simulation, mapping and collaboration. We work hard to make it easy for you to jump right in to
create and explore scenarios important to you. From the design of the menus to this manual you
are reading, we want to make the Depiction experience easy for you.
Depiction can be used to geospatially present a variety of data. This can be free data from the
Internet or your own data from spreadsheets or maps and images. Depiction can be used to
provide improved situational awareness and understanding of “what-if” possibilities, to present a
common operating picture, to plan hypothetical scenarios, to display locations of people and
other assets, to present demographic data, and many other uses that are waiting to be
We know that Depiction is just a tool—a means to your ends. And just like a good hammer that
unconsciously becomes an extension of a carpenter’s arm, it is our hope that Depiction is a tool
that “disappears” in the hands of its users as they craft and share stories important to their
We welcome your feedback on this manual and on topics you think we need to expand upon or
explain better. Please do not hesitate to write to us with your feedback and suggestions at
[email protected] We look forward to hearing your voice and acting on what we hear. Your
opinion shapes our website, product features, and just about everything we do.
We have added a new section to the end of the manual in Appendix B that we are calling GIS
101. If you have never worked with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) before, I would
encourage you to read it first as it may help you better understand mapping and GIS
terminology and concepts.
Thank you for being a part of the Depiction story!
Mike Geertsen
Chairman of the Board and Founder
Section 1: Introduction
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
1.2 Overview of Some Important Concepts in Depiction
Before you get started using Depiction it may help to have a better understanding of some of the
concepts and terminology in the software. First off, in this manual (and elsewhere), a file created
in Depiction is referred to as a “depiction”.
Elements: Everything in a depiction is referred to as an “element.” Elements generally
represent things in the real world such as a person, a shelter, a satellite image, a road network,
or elevation data. Elements are placed (depicted) on your background (display). Elements can
be a point, line, polygon, or may consist of a system of lines or shapes that span the entire
depiction; for example, an OpenStreetMap road network. Each element has an associated set
of properties that define or describe what the element “is” as well as its current “state.” At a
minimum, each element has a geographical extent (its zone of influence) and a name. Depiction
has a number of pre-defined elements, each with an associated list of properties, and many
properties have a default value.
Behaviors: Depiction elements are designed with or assigned “behaviors”. The behavior
assigned to an element determines how the element acts or what the element “does” in a given
scenario. The behavior may be inherent in the definition of the element or it could be a change
in one or more properties of the element as a result of an interaction between the element and
one or more other elements. A Flood element, for instance, has been designed to compute the
flood extent using elevation data. Depiction contains a set of behaviors that elements can use,
and you can assign these behaviors to your elements. You do this by copying an existing
interaction that would assign a behavior to a new element.
Interactions: Interactions determine how elements and behaviors in depiction affect each other.
In Depiction, you use the Interactions option under Tools in the main menu bar to view, edit and
create interactions. Interactions generally are invoked when the geographical extents (zones of
influence) of elements overlap. The Route - road network is a good example of an element that
has behavior and interacts with other elements. Flood is another element with behavior that may
impact other elements (for example, buildings and persons) that are within the zone of influence
of the flood. When the zones of influence of elements overlap, the properties and/or behaviors
of the affected elements may change. For example, when a flood covers an area containing a
set of buildings, the buildings become “inactive” (shown by a red “X” over the element icon).
Reducing the zone of influence of a flood so that it no longer overlaps the building restores the
building to “active” status (the red “X” goes away). Each interaction consists of a cause element,
a set of affected elements, and an action to perform on the affected elements. In the flood
The flood is the cause element.
Affected elements include buildings and shelters.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
The action is to set the Active property of the affected elements to false if the flood
overlaps the affected element. Buildings and shelters that do not overlap the flood are
not affected.
Interactions are bundled with elements so that when you add an element to your depiction, it
comes with a set of pre-defined ways that it interacts with other elements. Depiction also allows
the user to create new interactions, or modify or delete existing interactions. See Section 7.2 for
more on Interactions and how to use them effectively in Depiction.
1.3 What’s New in version 1.4 -1.4.1 -1.4.2 - Major
Moved the Background tiling selector to the upper right corner from the lower left. This
location is used by most mapping programs.
Background tiling sources are now categorized by source type.
LiveReports Pop3 sources can now set a non-default port.
Shapefile loading performance improvements. Now only those records within the
Depiction area will be read resulting in up to 3 times faster loading.
Removed USGS Black and White and USGS Urban imagery sources due to the pending
unavailability of the feed on May 1, 2012 from Microsoft TerraServer. USGS Topo maps
will no longer be available on this date as well, but we are leaving it in until that date.
Live Reports now resets the SMTP server instead of opening a new session for each live
report meaning that fewer systems resources are used.
Because of performance concerns the Road Network element can no longer be displayed
in a revealer or in the Display menu. The Road Network can still displayed via the
Manage Content dialog.
Alternate quickstart data source – Elevation Data (Seamless) - This is an alternate source
to the Elevation Data that we currently host on our server only one of the two should be
Zooming and panning with the background tilers is now done in a more seamless manner.
A new element type called Image2 has been added. An image can now be loaded into
Depiction into the image2 element and it will display when chosen as hovertext in a label
Elimination of the sample files. While this may not seem like an enhancement, these files
added about 20mb to the download size of the program. By eliminating them and some
other streamlining the new download size will be reduced from the current 60mb to
around 25mb. The samples are available on the website for download at any time and can
be copied into the samples folder and so can still be available from within the program.
Most GEOTIFFs can now be imported into Depiction..
Re-introduction of the free 30 day trial. Now prospective customers can download and
use the full capabilities of Depiction for 30 days before they decide to buy it or not.
Enhancements in 1.4.1 (Build 12242)
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Background tiling sources are now displayed when mousing over the tiler UI.
The filter on manage and display content now takes regular
expressions. Regular expressions allow you to do operations such as OR. For example the
string "Apple" would match all elements containing "Apple" in the hovertext. The OR
operator is "|" and as such the string "Apple|Orange" would match all
elements containing either Apple or Orange in their hovertext. (This symbol is
found above the “\” key just below the “backspace” key).
When geo-coding from a csv file, if an element that is created with seperate address fields
does not have an exact coordinate, it is displayed with a red border.
Added the option to hide the world outline in the setting dialog.
Enhancements in 1.4.2 (Build 12422)
Emails sent from Live Reports can now be sent with a tag. This allows the Live Report
reader to filter emails and only select those that are relevant to the Live Report session.
The format is //DT{tag1,tag2,tag3}// and this has to be at the end of the subject line. If
you send an element via Depiction the tag is automatically created in the outgoing email.
The 'Fwd:' is now parsed out of Live Report emails.
'Location' can now be used by Live Reports as a position property.
Interaction dialog can now disable/enable all available interactions.
Addition of the Place of Worship element and icon.
Bug fixes in 1.4:
Fix for Non-English language Installations. We have had some problems getting
Depiction to install correctly on Non-English language systems. We are hoping this fix
will resolve this issue for them.
Numerous minor bugs have also been fixed.
Bug fixes in 1.4.1
 Multiple fixes for "send live report".
 Fix for crash when zooming way out.
 Fix for printing the map without menus.
 Auto-detect element is now the default selected item in Add Content dialog.
 Route waypoints on the same location no longer causes strange route behavior.
 Selecting geo-locate element from the right-click context menu is back.
 Antenna and Line of Sight elements should now work properly.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Bug fixes in 1.4.2
 Live report emails are now processed in the order in which they are received by the
source email address.
 Live reports sessions now only update elements from emails that have not been
 Depiction no longer becomes minimized after user closes the element icon change
 Depiction handles stored save locations that no longer exist (such as flash drives)
with more grace.
 The degree symbol (°) is now exported correctly to a CSV file
 Other misc. fixes.
Improvements in 1.3.
Element Information is now Element Properties with many changes and enhancements
Most menus are now independent windows, allowing the user to drag them to a second
Cancel button on Region selector tools returns the user to the Location screen
Region boundary has a new look to be more visible against any background
Scale is now shown below the Position
Re-sizeable menus: user can size most menus vertically and horizontally with the
Drawing tools: Line, Circle, Polygon, Rectangle elements
Route (road network & user drawn) element: click to designate start, waypoints and end
User can now designate the shape of an icon border (circle, triangle or square) in the
Element Properties box
Add Content menu grays out elements that cannot be added by a particular method
(mouse, file, live reports, web service)
Changes to the Settings dialog (via the Welcome screen or Tools menu):
o Separated measurement system and scale
o Added “Overwrite existing cache with new” check box
o Added method to view the default home directory for the user
UTM coordinate format is now available (via the Settings dialog on the Welcome screen
or Tools menu)
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Interactions Menu has a new look and name: Interactions Repository Viewer
Geo-align image: if the user needs to correct the alignment of an image, simply doubleclick the image to go back to the geo-align image mode
Enhanced hovertext: allows for the inclusion of HTML in hovertext, including image
links (<img>) and URLs
Element property names can now be hidden in hovertext when multiple properties are
Live Reports refresh rate setting in the add content menu and on the live feed
Select tool: allows the user to select multiple elements on the background to manipulate
in the Manage Content menu
Hide and Show buttons on the Manage Content menu allow the user to show or hide
selected elements on the depiction background
Element Creation: a new Element Definition Editor for creating custom elements (on the
Tools menu)
Copy current location: right-click and select this option to copy the position of the
mouse pointer into the clipboard
Performance enhancements in loading and saving depiction files and shapefiles
1.3.1 – EID update choice is now in CSV import wizard
1.3.1 – CSV import Geo-coding is now limited to 1,000 records.
1.3.2 – Export elements to a CSV file now asks if the Zone of Influence should be
1.3.2 – Routes path calculation speed has been improved.
1.3.2 – Selecting the 'Content' button from a revealer now displays the Display Content
dialog with the appropriate revealer selected.
1.3.2 – Elements that are loaded from a 1.2.2d depiction now display more properties.
1.3.2 – Proxy settings now work properly.
1.3.3 – Elements from the QuickAdd Toolbar are added in single versus multiple mode.
1.3.3 – New background sources from MapQuest Open (map and imagery).
1.3.3 – New Road Network method allows for smaller downloads and better
performance in large areas.
1.3.3 – The settings menu now has Basic and Advanced tabs: see section 7.2.
1.3.3 – When right-clicking on a single element, options for the element are shown
without a sub-menu: see section 9.5.
1.3.3 – New tooltips and context-sensitive text.
Section 2: Welcome Screen
2.1 Resources
Before you work with Depiction, please take note of the resources available to you, such as:
video tutorials, online help, samples and downloads, webinars, online forums, blogs, frequently
asked questions, and more available on our Help page. All of these resources, plus updates to
version one of Depiction are available with a purchase of Depiction.
Section 2: Welcome Screen
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
2.2 Software and Hardware Requirements
Depiction is designed to run on very basic computers. Any laptop or desktop built over the last
five years running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 can run Depiction. Depiction will only work
on a Macintosh if you are running Windows via Boot Camp or a virtual machine program. The
minimum system requirements are:
Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2)
400 MHz Pentium Processor (1 GHz recommended)
512 MB RAM, or 1 GB when running on Vista (2 GB recommended)
90 MB hard drive space (plus possible additional space for .NET frameworks if not
previously installed)
Minimum display setting of 800x600, 16-bit high color (1024x768 and 32-bit true color
However, as with any program, more memory and a faster processor will provide better
2.3 Exploring the Depiction Environment
To start the Depiction application:
 Click the Depiction icon on your Desktop or,
 Click the start menu icon at the lower left corner of the Desktop. Point to
All Programs, find the Depiction Inc folder and click on the Depiction
2.4 Welcome Screen
Welcome Screen: choose from the six options on the screen:
 New Depiction: Allows you to start a new depiction file.
 Open Depiction: Allows you to open a previously saved depiction
 Help: Opens the Help menu with options including help file, tutorials,
your license (serial number), and information about Depiction.
 Settings: Where you can choose the latitude/longitude format,
measurement unit, and proxy server settings.
 Tutorials: Online videos demonstrate different Depiction tools.
 Samples: Provides you with a list of five sample depictions.
 Exit: Exits the Depiction program.
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2.4.1 New Depiction
Welcome  New Depiction
After you choose New Depiction from the Welcome
Screen, you can enter a geographic location in one of
various formats:
 City and state, territory, province, etc. Ex: Seattle,
 City and country Ex: Paris, France
 A zip code Ex: 98004
 A street address Ex: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave,
Washington, DC
 Latitude and Longitude Ex: 47.55N, 128.36E
 Famous Place Ex: Eiffel Tower, Disneyland, Space
Once you enter the location information, click go to
location. Note: for this to work properly you need an
Internet connection.
A map appears giving a street-map view of the location
you entered. A yellow rectangular box appears on this
map. The boundaries define the region in which Depiction
will bring in imagery and data and where your elements
will interact. You can change the dimensions of the
boundaries to select your depiction area in the following
 Click and drag inside the box to move the boundaries
 Click and drag outside the box to move the
background map
 Click and drag the edges or corners of the box to
change the size of the boundaries
 Use the Page up and Page down keys or the
mouse-scroll wheel to zoom in and out.
Once you position the boundaries to encompass your area
of interest, click Done on the upper-right corner.
If you decide that this is the wrong area and you wish to
pick a new location then click Cancel and you will be
returned to the Location screen.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
If you select a region larger than 15,000 square miles, you
will see this warning. Depictions can be created at any
size, but loading detailed datasets such as elevation and
road networks can cause serious performance issues.
Quickstart Data Sources
After you click Done, a refined map of your area of
interest appears. Depiction uses the Internet to find
public data available in your region and lists the
available Quickstart data sources in a dialog box.
Select your choices using the check box on the
left. Click for more information about each option.
to open the Help window.
Select the data and then click OK. Depiction
downloads the selected data. The Processing
control shows the details of the data requests that
are in the downloading process. It will disappear
once the data loads. Quickstart imagery and
elevation are loaded into Revealers.
Tip: You should only load data you intend to use,
because too much data can impact performance.
You can always add additional Quickstart data later
from the Add menu option.
Getting Started
After you select your options from the Quickstart
data sources dialogue, Click OK and a Getting
Started Tip Box appears.
You can opt to check the Do not show again
option, and click Close once you finish reading.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Revealer Window
Depiction allows you to selectively display data
using innovative Revealer technology.
Revealers are rectangular or circular areas of
any size that, when moved around the display,
reveal the elements that have been assigned to
that revealer. Revealers are explained in more
detail in the Display Menu section of this
Imagery and elevation data selected in the
Quickstart Data dialogue will automatically
appear in Revealers.
Ex: A street map image is “revealed” over an
aerial view.
2.4.2 Opening a Depiction
Welcome  Open Depiction
To open an existing depiction, choose Open
Depiction from the Welcome screen. Find the folder
that contains your file – ensure it has a .dpn
extension – select and click Open, or just double-click
on the file.
Tip: Double-clicking on a saved .dpn file in Windows
Explorer will automatically launch the Depiction
application and load the selected file.
2.4.3 Help Options
Welcome  Help
The Help menu contains with the following options:
 Help: Opens Depiction’s Help file, which gives a detailed
explanation of all Depiction menus and features.
 Tutorials: Opens a web page displaying online instructional
videos demonstrating selected features of Depiction.
 Licensing: Shows your valid 16-character Serial Number.
 About: Shows the latest version of Depiction on your system.
It also displays third party licensing information.
 EULA: The End User License Agreement shows your
contract with Depiction.
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2.4.4 Settings
Welcome Settings
See Section 7 – Tools menu for details
about these options.
2.4.5 Tutorials & Samples
Clicking the Tutorials button will open your default
browser to the tutorials page on where you
will find video resources to take you through some key
Getting Started: Illustrates the basics required to
get started (Duration 7-minutes)
Geo-aligning Images: The powerful ability
Depiction provides to geographically align any
image to your depiction (Duration 5-minutes)
Interactions: Edit and create your own interactions
(Duration 5-minutes)
Additional tutorials are being added regularly.
Samples are stored in a folder on your
disk. Prior to 1.4 they were included with
the download of the program but in order
to streamline the download they have been
removed. If you had a prior version of
Depiction installed such as 1.3 they are
still on your disk and can be moved or
copied to 1.4. To do this:
In windows explorer go to
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
C:\Program Files (x86)\Depiction
Inc\Depiction 1.3\Samples
Select this folder and copy it to
C:\Program Files (x86)\Depiction
Inc\Depiction 1.4\.
After you do this the sample files will show up in
Depiction 1.4.
Any DPN file that you include in this directory
will show up in the samples option. You can
find more sample files are available online at
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Section 3: File Menu
The File menu option allows you to create a new depiction, open an existing depiction, or save
an existing depiction project. In addition, you can enter descriptive information about your
current depiction, print the current screen or exit the program. When saving a depiction, all the
elements, interaction rules, and display settings associated with that depiction are saved.
3.1 File Menu
Main Menu BarFile Menu
The File dropdown menu has the following options:
 New: Create a new depiction.
 Open: Open a previously saved depiction.
 Save: Save a depiction that you have created or save the
changes that you have made to an existing depiction. (Note: all
of the data in your depiction will be saved to your hard disk
including data downloaded from the internet).
 Save as: Save a depiction with a different file name.
 File information: View and edit information about the current
depiction file such as title, author, and description.
 Print: Print the current Depiction display.
 To welcome screen: Go back to the Welcome screen.
 Exit: Exit from and close the Depiction application.
3.2 Creating a New Depiction
FileNew (See section 2.4.1)
3.3 Opening an Existing Depiction
Select the Open option from the File menu. If a
depiction is open, the Save depiction message
appears. Select one of the following options:
 Yes: To save the depiction that is currently open.
See section 3.4 below.
 No: To open a new depiction without saving the
current depiction.
 Cancel: To cancel the action and continue working .
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The Open dialog box appears.
 Select the location on your computer either by
selecting one of the options on the left side of the
dialog box or by selecting a location from the Look
in: dropdown list.
 Select the folder from the folders list.
 Select the file you want to open. The file name
appears in the File name: textbox.
 Click the Open button. The progress bar appears.
After the opening process is completed, the selected
depiction displays on the screen.
3.4 Saving a Depiction
FileSave or FileSave As
Select the Save or Save As option from the File menu.
The Save As dialog box appears. Enter the following details:
 Select the save location in the Save in dropdown list.
 Select the folder or create a new folder where you want to
save the depiction.
 File name: Select a file from the dropdown list or enter a
name for the file in the File name: textbox.
 Save as type: Select the file type. The default file type is
Depiction Files (dpn). You must select the default option
for all files to be saved as depictions.
 After entering the details, click the Save button to save the
3.5 Viewing, Entering, or Changing File Information
FileFile Information
Select the File information option from the File menu.
The File Information dialog box appears and displays the file
details. To enter or change the details:
 Title: Enter or change a descriptive name for the
depiction. The title can be different from the file name.
 Author: Enter or change the name of the depiction
 Description: Enter or change the description of the
 After entering the details, click one of the following:
 Cancel: Click cancel to discard the entries/changes.
 Apply: Click apply to apply your changes.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
OK: Click the OK button to save the entries/changes.
3.6 Printing a Depiction
Select the Print option from the File menu. The
Printing options message box appears.
 Select the Include menus and controls checkbox
if you want to print all the elements, controls, and
menus in the depiction.
 To print the depiction with all the elements but
without the controls and menus, leave the Include
menus and controls option unchecked.
 Click the Print button. The Print dialog appears.
Note: This option prints what currently appears on
the screen. It will not print the entire depiction
unless the entire depiction appears on the screen.
Enter the following details:
 Select Printer: Select the printer from the list.
 Number of copies: Use the arrow to select the
number of copies that you want to print.
 Click Print to start printing. Ensure your printer is
connected and turned on, and that there is enough
paper to complete the print job.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
3.7 Closing Depiction and Exiting
Select the Exit option from the File menu to close
Depiction. If you have not saved the current depiction,
the Save depiction message appears.
Select one of the following options:
Yes: To save the depiction that is currently open.
No: To open a new workspace without saving the
current depiction project.
Cancel: To cancel the action and continue
working in the current depiction project.
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Section 4: Add Menu
4.1 Add Menu
Everything in a depiction (with the exception of background tiling) is referred to as an element.
Depiction elements represent things in the real world such as people, shelters, satellite images,
road network, elevation data, and more. Add Content lets you add elements to your depiction.
Main Menu Bar Add
Add Content opens from the main Menu and includes six options:
 Mouse: Add one or more elements to your depiction with
each left mouse click.
 Location: Add elements by specifying a location either by
coordinates or address.
 File: Import elements from a file, including CSV (Comma
Separated Value spreadsheet), elevation (.dem, .adf, etc. ),
ESRI Shapefiles (.shp), GML (Geographic Markup
Language), images (.jpg, .tif, .png or .bmp), GPS (.gpx) and
 Live Reports: Add elements from one or more e-mail
 Web Service: Add data from Web Feature or Web Mapping
Services (WFS or WMS)
 Quickstart: Add publicly available data that Depiction has
identified for your depiction area
4.2 Adding Elements
Add  Mouse
The simplest way to add elements is with the
1. Choose to add a single or multiple
elements from the left pane.
2. Choose the type of element to be
added on the right pane and click,
Tip: Elements here are divided into
Default, User Definitions, Loaded
Definitions (if available) and
definitions from Add-ons. Scroll down
to see all elements.
3. Left-click to add elements.
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4. If Multiple is selected, click Done or
press Esc to finish adding.
Add  Address
Add elements by specifying a geographic
1. Click Location on the left pane.
2. Type in the geographic location
 Latitude and Longitude Ex:
47.55N, 128.36E
 Street address, City,
State/Province, Zip/Postal
Code, etc.
3. If desired, select “Center screen on
element.” This is useful if you are
unfamiliar with the location entered.
4. Select the element you want to
place at that location entered.
5. Click Add.
Tip: You must have an Internet connection
to place any location information that is
other than a geographic coordinate
Add  File
Add elements to your depiction by loading
files of any of the following formats:
 CSV: Comma separated values are
specifically formatted spreadsheet
 Elevation: A grid file of elevation
values; usually with extension .adf,
.tiff or .dem,
 ESRI Shapefile: A group of related
files (.shp, shx, .dbf) with geospatial
vector information.
 GML: Geographic Markup Language
 Image: Any image file, such as .png,
.jpg, .bmp and others.
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GPX: The GPS eXchange format
generated by GPS devices
Tip: See section 10.4 for a detailed
description of these various file types.
Example #1: AddFileCSV
You can add elements from comma-separated value files
(CSV); these have the file extension ".csv".
Tip: You can easily create a CSV file from Microsoft Excel
by choosing Save As and selecting CSV (Comma
The first line of a CSV contains column headers
(properties). Each additional line or row represents an
element and contains the property values for that
element. The values in a column labeled Element type
are treated specially and specify the type of element to
create, such as Person or Explosion. If Depiction does
not recognize a specific Element type, it will assign the
default element type chosen by the user at time of import
(or a Point of Interest if a default type was not chosen).
To import a CSV, open Add Content, select File and
press Browse to find the file. Ensure the file name
appears in the Browse pane. Select the element, then click
add. Alternatively, you can just drag and drop the .csv file
onto your depiction.
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The CSV Import Wizard appears when adding a CSV file
to your depiction whether from the Add Content menu or
by dragging and dropping. The wizard displays the first six
rows in the file, -- the column headers and five rows of
data -- and allows the user to select the columns Depiction
will use to locate those elements geographically
Tip: You can also update existing elements by importing
from a CSV file using a field called EID. The next section
discusses this, and for more information see Section
10.2.1: Element Identifier.
Depiction’s default conventions are that “Position” contains geographic coordinates and
“Location” contains street address information (Street, City, State and Zip Code) for converting
to geographic coordinates (called geo-coding). The Wizard allows the user to select the specific
columns to be used regardless of how they are named.
You should always confirm, by checking the data records at the bottom of the Wizard, that the
information under the columns being used to locate the elements contains the appropriate
Checking the Only import elements within my depiction area box will "crop" the CSV file
contents so that the only elements imported will be those within the depiction region.
When geo-coding from a csv file, if an element that is created with separate address fields does
not have an exact coordinate, it is displayed with a red border.
Tip: If addresses include an apartment # or PO Box, make sure they are in a separate field from
the address, as otherwise it may not be converted properly. Depiction will place elements with
addresses it cannot locate in the center of the Zip code supplied. If Depiction cannot geocode
an entry at all, it will be placed in the “to be geo-aligned” tab in the Manage Menu. Depiction has
a limit of 1000 geocodes per CSV file.
Use the upper portion of the Wizard to choose the columns
Depiction will use to locate the elements. The grey dropdown boxes will preselect column names that match the
location-related property names Depiction uses. Location
columns not automatically selected can be selected
manually (e.g. “Address” for Street, or “X” for Longitude).
The user can also select the Element type to create from
the data in the file. Note that this selection will be ignored
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for element type specified with an “Element type” column
Tip: Depiction imports all the data in the file as characters; and does not preserve spreadsheet
formatting information (such as: Formulas, row column color, pages, etc.).
If a depiction contains elements with a unique Element
Identification property (EID), those elements can be
updated using a CSV file that also contains a matching
EID property. If a CSV file has an EID field, an additional
Update by EID only radio button will appear above the
Latitude/Longitude radio button. See more details in
section 10.2.1.
The Properties window appears after all elements from
the file have been imported, and displays all of the
properties that are common to all the elements just
imported. Any modifications made in the Properties
window will apply to ALL imported elements.
When Depiction imports a file of data (spreadsheet,
shapefile, etc), it will automatically create new Properties
with names corresponding to any column headers/labels
not already existing for the element type imported. See
Section 5.2.1 for a detailed discussion of the Properties
Example #2: AddFileImage
Depiction allows any map, drawing or picture to be
added as an image element. To add an image file to
your depiction, select Add, click File then browse to
your image file location and click Add.
Tip: If you add a map or aerial image then you can
geo-align it. If you add a photograph or document you
can place it anywhere convenient on your canvas.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
When Depiction is finished loading the file, you will get
an Alert prompt to Geo-align content using Manage
In the Manage menu, click the element to geo-align
tab. Select list by types. Select
Image, and click
Your image appears on the display
with active handles on the sides.
The handles allow you to rotate and
adjust the size and shape of the
image so you can geo-align it with
the background.
You can zoom and pan the image or
background and adjust the
Transparency of the image using
the sliding bar.
Un-checking “Preserve aspect ratio”
allows you to stretch the image in
any direction. Once you have the
image aligned/located where you
want it, click Finish.
To re-align the image, just doubleclick on the image.
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Example #3: AddFileImage2
With Version 1.4 a new way to add images
that don’t need to be geo-aligned has been
added. Select the image using Add/File and
as an element type choose “image2”
In the image2 properties you will see some
html type code in the label property. In the
example to the right it is:
<img src=”money.bmp”>
This code can be placed in any propety field
of any other element. The image will appear
if in hover text if this property is chosen to
be shown and the lable format is used.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Once an image2 image has been imported
you can delete the image2 element but the
image will continue to be available.
AddLive Reports
To add elements via the Live Reports™ function,
which uses e-mail to download information,
open Add Content and click the Live reports
Choose your E-mail Provider from the drop-down
Menu. This list also shows any e-mail accounts
you may have previously used.
If the e-mail address is one of those you’ve
previously used, you will only need to enter the
Enter the Filter tag you wish to check for. Only
emails that have this tag on the subject line will be
read. The format for the email is
Depiction is configured to work with Hotmail Plus,
Yahoo! Plus and Gmail accounts. If you have one
of those accounts, select the provider and enter
the account name and password.
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Otherwise, select the Other POP3 account
options, and enter the full address for the email
account, such as [email protected], the e-mail
account's password and the POP3 Server. If your
email provider requires it, check Use SSL. If your
provider uses a different port number than the
standard you can enter it as well.
Enter the Filter tag you wish to check for. Only
emails that have this tag on the subject line will be
read. The format for the email is
You may also set the refresh rate (in minutes) of
the live report, to specify how often you want
Depiction to check for new emails. (Note: .25
would mean 15 seconds etc.)
Next, select the default element definition to use
for the elements created from the emails. If the
email subject or body specifies an element
definition, that definition will be used instead of
your chosen default, but if no element type is
specified, then this selection will be used.
See Section 10.1 for detailed email account and
Live reports information.
When you click Add, the Processing dialog will
appear in the upper right, showing the status of
emails Depiction is reading.
After the mailbox has been checked, the message
will change to a “waiting” message until the next
check. Press to check the mailbox immediately,
to stop adding Live Reports from that
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AddWeb Services
Depiction makes it easy to add content from web mapping and
feature services if you know the URL for the web service:
 Select WFS or WMS.
 Enter the URL.
 Click Show content.
 A list of available layers on the Web service will appear
under Content (layers)
 After selecting the content, choose the Image styles and
the format (optional)
 Make sure Auto Detect is selected in the “as this
element type” column.
 Click Add and the imagery or data will appear in your
The list of Quickstart data sources available
for your current depiction area is always
accessible via Add, Quickstart. Just check
the data sources desired
and click Add.
Note that an Internet connection is required
to retrieve the available Quickstart list and
to add Quickstart data.
The information button
information about each data source option.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
4.3 Default Elements
By default Depiction includes 60 elements. Each element has a unique name and properties.
Twelve of these elements have some form of simulation behavior and are described in more
detail in section 10.2. The following elements appear in the Add content menu:
has been added in version 1.4.
has been added in 1.4.2
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Section 5: Manage Content
All the elements in your Depiction are listed under the Manage Content “elements” tab.
Manage Content functions somewhat like a database manager, allowing you to manipulate
the elements in your depiction in a variety of ways.
5.1 Manage
Menu Manage
Click Manage in the main menu bar in
Depiction to open the Manage Content
Tip: Any action taken in Manage Content
mode will affect all selected elements. For
example, if you click delete, all selected
elements will be deleted. If only one
element is selected, then only one will be
Manage Content has two tabs:
 Elements: Lists the elements in your
depiction. The tab heading also indicates
the total number of elements.
 You can list elements by types (such
as elevation, road network, water
bodies etc.), by tags, or list every
individual element in your depiction by
choosing Show all data.
 You can find a subset of elements by
using the Filter elements by hover
text box. Enter text here, and only
elements having matching text in their
hover text will be listed. For example:
If you wanted to find a person with the
name Ardis, type ‘Ardis’ in the filter
box. All elements that have “Ardis” in
their hover text will be listed.
 Elements to geo-align: This tab lists all
the data, maps, images or drawings that
may have been added to your depiction
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
but that need to be geo-aligned or geolocated. The tab heading indicates the
number of elements to be geo-aligned.
 You can list the elements by types, by
tags or individually using the Show all
choice in the drop down menu.
Manage Content has the following options on
the elements tab:
 Geo-align: Relocate the selected
element. This button is only functional
when only one element is selected.
 View/Edit: Opens the Properties box
for the selected elements.
 Export to File: Export the selected
element(s) to a Geography Markup
Language (GML) file or to a to a
comma separated value (CSV) file.
 Send: Send selected elements as
 Delete: Delete the selected elements.
 Bring to center: Center the display on
the element selected. This button is
only functional when one element is
 Hide: Clicking this button will hide any
of the selected elements on the
display, the same function as unchecking an element or group in
Display Content.
 Show: Shows any selected elements
that were hidden.
 Close: Exit Manage Content dialog
The following options are available on the
elements to geo-align tab:
 Geo-align: use to align images to your
depiction background, geo-locate a
point element by address or mouse.
 View/Edit: use to see and change
properties imported.
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Delete: Remove the selected
element(s) from the depiction.
5.2 View and Edit Elements
Select elements by checking the checkbox
on the left side of the listed element or
elements. The menu list on the right side of
the dialog box is activated as soon as you
select one or more elements.
Click on View/Edit and the Properties box
appears for the selected elements. See
below for additional information.
5.2.1 View, Set, or Change Properties
The Properties window has the following
 Set properties: View, change or add to
the selected elements’ properties and
property values.
 Set tags: View, change or add to the
tags for selected elements.
 Set hover text: View or change the
hover text options for the elements.
 Colorize: Allows the user to
thematically map a group of elements
by color.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
ManageElementsView/EditSet Properties
Set properties: The Element Information or
Element Group Information box automatically
opens with Set properties selected. The list of
properties and values for the selected elements
appears to the right.
When multiple elements are selected, the
Properties box shows all properties common to
each element selected. The values shown for the
properties are for the first element in the group,
not necessarily all the elements in the group.
Tip: If you select elements of different types, it is
possible that the number of properties showing in
the “Element Properties in common” window will
be small, because different elements may have
few properties in common.
Element properties can be added, edited, and
sometimes deleted:
 To delete a property, click on the symbol
next to the property name in the Actions
column. A red strikethrough line will appear,
indicating the property has been selected for
removal. The icon to the left of the property
name changes to the undo icon ( ). Note
that not all properties have this icon, because
not all properties can be deleted.
 Click the OK or Apply button to delete the
property. Click the undo icon ( ) to cancel
the delete action and keep the property.
To change the value for a property, change the
entry in the Value column. For yes/no properties,
such as Active or Allow dragging, check or
uncheck the boxes next to the property name.
Other properties, such as colors and icons, are
described below.
Tip: If multiple elements are selected, changing
the value of a particular property will change that
value to all the elements in the group.
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When satisfied with any changes click the
Apply button to apply the changes; or OK to
apply the changes and close the Information
box. Click Cancel if you don’t want the
changes applied.
TIP: Once you click Apply or OK, the changes
cannot be undone. There is no undo option in
Color properties can be changed by clicking on
the color bar to open the Select Color Attributes
 You can adjust the brightness by sliding the
Brightness slider left (decrease brightness)
and right (increase brightness).
 You can adjust the transparency by sliding the
Transparency slider left (decrease
transparency) and right (increase
 Click the OK button to save your color choice.
If you do not want to save the change, click
the Cancel button.
 Click the No color button to set the color to be
completely transparent.
Icons can be customized using four different
1. Icon border shape
2. Icon border color
3. Icon path
4. Icon Size
Note: In previous versions of Depiction there was
a separate screen for changing icon information.
In version 1.3 and later, all icon properties are in
the screen.
To give an icon a border, the icon border shape
property must be set to square, circle or triangle.
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To then change the icon border color click on
the color bar and the color selector window will
appear as described above.
To change the image used for an icon, click the
Icon path button. This will open the Icon
Selection Information menu.
From here you can select an icon used by a
default Depiction element under default
application resources, an icon used by an addon or custom element under application
resources, or any image on your computer under
Load from a file. Click OK to apply your changes.
To change the Icon size, use the dropdown menu
to select a size from “Lilliputian” to “Extra-large”.
Tip: When using Load from a file to assign a
custom icon to an element, best results will come
from square images between 25x25 pixels and
100x100 pixels and 1 and 5 kilobytes. GIF and
PNG files with transparent backgrounds will look
the best.
5.2.2 Add a Property
ManageElementsView/EditAdd a Property
To add a new property for a selected element or a
group of elements
 Enter a Property name at the bottom of
the menu.
 Select a property type from the dropdown
list. Types include measurements, text,
number or a Yes/No option that will appear
as a check box next to the property.
Section 5: Manage Content
Click the
button to add the new
property to the selected elements.
If you do not want to add the new property,
click the Cancel button.
Click Apply and the property will appear at
the bottom of the properties list.
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
5.2.3 View, Add, or Delete Tags
ManageElementsView/EditSet Tags
Tags are a flexible way to manage your elements.
Elements are given a source tag by default, but
you can add, remove or change tags in any way
you wish.
Set tags: To view, add, or delete tags Set tags
and all tags associated with the selected elements
will appear in the window.
 To add a new tag, enter a term in the textbox
at the bottom of the dialogue box and click
. The new tag is added to the list.
 Here the new tag “Hospitals” is shown.
 Be sure to click OK or Apply after adding or
changing tags, or your changes will not be
To delete a tag, click the delete icon ( ) to
the left of the tag to be deleted. The tag name
appears with a strikethrough line and the icon
on the left of the tag name changes to the
undo icon ( ).
Click the OK button or the Apply button to
delete the tag. Click the undo ( ) icon on the
left of the tag to cancel the delete action and
keep the tag.
5.2.4 View, Add, or Delete Hover Text
ManageElementsView/EditSet Hover Text
Set hover text: To view, or change, the hover
text or labels used by elements, click
. A window appears listing all the
properties of the selected element(s).
 A Do not change element hover text radio
button appears at the top of the window and
is selected by default.
 To change the hover text, select the Change
element hover text to the following radio
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Section 5: Manage Content
Select the properties to be visible as hover
text by checking the checkbox next to the
listed properties.
Select the checkbox next to the Permanent
hover text option to see the text
permanently on the display. Leave the
option unchecked if you want to see the
hover text only when the mouse is over the
Select Use label to show an html-enabled
version of the hover text (as used, for
example, for directions when you doubleclick the Route - road network element). For
best results, select a single property for the
hover text and put all of the text you want to
have in the label in that property field
with HTML tags . Also check out the
“image2” element for including images.
The Display property name check box,
when checked, will add the property name in
front of each value in the hover text.
Deselect properties by clearing the
checkbox next to the properties.
Click OK or Apply to activate the changes.
Note that, unlike the Set properties screen,
when a group of elements has been
selected, all properties for all elements will
be visible in the Set hover text screen.
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
5.2.5 View, Change, or Remove Colors
Colorize: To thematically map a group of shape
elements by color variation or put a colored
square around the icon, click Colorize and a
Colorize element(s) window appears with four
radio buttons.
 Do not change colors is the default.
 Select the Remove colors radio button to
remove any colored square or thematic
mapping associated with the element or group
of elements.
 Select the Use a range… radio button to
enable thematic mapping when a group of
elements is selected.
 The properties common to the selected
elements are displayed.
 First, select the property that you wish to base
the colorization on. It is best if this property
contains positive integers. For example,
Check the Manual range selection box and
you will be provided a window to enter the
specific high and low values to be set as the
start and end color. If this box is not checked,
Depiction will use the lowest and highest
values found among the elements for the
highlighted property to determine the range.
Clicking the Start color and End color
buttons opens the Select Color Attributes,
where the colors can be selected as described
in 5.2.1.
The Start color will be associated with the
lowest value, and the End color with the
highest value.
Click Apply to activate the thematic mapping.
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5.3 Delete Elements
To delete an element:
 Select the element or group of elements
that you want to delete in the Elements
tab in the Manage Content dialog box.
 The Confirm element deletion
message appears.
Click Yes to delete the selected
elements or No to cancel the deletion.
There are three other ways to delete an
element from a depiction outside of Manage
 By right clicking on an element,
selecting the element from the
context menu and clicking Delete
 By holding shift and clicking on an
 By pressing the Delete button in the
Properties box.
5.4 Exporting Elements from Depiction
Depiction allows you to export point, line and shape elements to a GML (Geography Markup
Language) or a CSV (Comma Separated Value) file. This is useful for sharing Depiction data
with other applications, and for copying a subset of data in your depiction to another depiction.
You can export elements using the Manage ContentElementsExport to File option, or
from the Properties box.
5.4.1 Exporting to a GML File
The GML file will not contain any behaviors used by the exported element(s) or any values for
properties with units (such as "3 feet"). In addition, if you load this GML file into a depiction, and
it cannot find the path to the icon you used, the element will display a question mark in lieu of
the desired icon.
Depiction creates two files for each export: a GML file (containing the data) and a XSD file
(specifying the xml schema used by the GML file). Some applications may require the XSD file
when reading the GML file so they should remain in the same folder.
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The Export to GML option is a good way to speed the loading process of elements into future
depictions. Save the elements to a .gml file and then use that file to load the elements into other
depictions. This works especially well for shapefiles containing line and shape elements.
ManageElementsExport to GML
To export elements to a GML file:
 Select the element or group of
elements in the Elements tab in
the Manage Content dialog box.
 Click the Export to File option.
 The message box to the left will
be displayed.
 If you wish to continue select
“Yes” if not “No”.
Enter the following details:
Save in: Select the folder on your
computer from the Save in dropdown
 File name: Enter a file name in the
File name textbox.
 Save as type: The default file
extension is .gml.
to save the file.
to abort the operation.
5.4.2 Exporting to a CSV File
Depiction can export elements to comma-separated value files or CSV files. This is useful for
making depiction data available to spreadsheet and database programs.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
ManageElementsExport to CSV
To export elements to a CSV file:
 Select the element or group of
elements in the Elements tab in the
Manage Content dialog box.
 Click the Export to File option.
 The message box to the left will be
 If you wish to continue select “Yes”
if not “No”.
Tip: In version 1.3 shapes can now be
saved to a csv file.
Enter the following details:
 Save in: Select the folder on your
computer from the Save in dropdown
 File name: Enter a file name in the File
name textbox.
 Save as type: The default file
extension is .gml and it is the default
Click on the
at the end of the Save
as type: line and choose CSV.
 Click on Save.
If shapes or lines were included in the
exported elements, Depiction will ask if you
want to include the element zones of
influence in the export. This will allow those
shapes and lines to be imported into other
depictions, but may cause problems when
loaded into spreadsheet software such as
Microsoft Excel.
 Click Yes to include the ZOIs
 Click No to export only the data
properties of an element.
5.5 Sending Elements as Email
Depiction allows you to share element information with others by sending emails (one email per
element) directly from the Depiction application. Each element email is sent in a format that
Depiction's Live Reports feature can interpret. Sending the element email to an email account
Section 5: Manage Content
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
that is being used for Live reports input by other Depiction users results in all those users
receiving the same elements and information at nearly the same time.
Occasionally, Depiction won't be able to understand the format of the field of an email. This
happens, for instance, if the email name includes spaces and is not properly quoted. In this
case, the From property for that element will be given the value [email protected]
For more details on sending and receiving elements, see Section 10.1. Basic instructions follow.
To send an element as email:
 Select the specific element(s) you wish to send
via email in the Elements tab in Manage
 Click the Send button. The Send as Email box
 Enter the following details:
 To: One or more email addresses (use
commas or semi-colons to separate
addresses), such as
[email protected]
 From: A legitimate email address, such as
[email protected]
 Outgoing email server: The name of your
email server, such as
(ask your system administrator).
 Email Tags: Enter any tags you wish to
include in the outgoing email.
Tip: The Account name field (“New Account” by
default) is a drop down list of accounts you have
used to send before: it will be empty if this is your
first time sending.
Tip: You can also use free email services such as
Gmail or Hotmail. See section 10.1 for more details.
You need to provide the following details only if
your email server requires authentication:
 Use SSL: Select the checkbox to send the
email through SSL (Secure Socket Layer).
 Use authentication: Select this checkbox if
your email server requires it (it usually
does—ask your system administrator).
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User name: Enter the user name for use
during authentication.
 Password: Enter the password for use
during authentication.
Click the Send as email button to send the
You can also send elements as email from the
Properties box:
 Click the Send button. The Send as email box
appears. Follow the process described above.
If you have changed properties in the element you
are sending, click the Apply button before clicking
Section 5: Manage Content
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Section 6: Display Content
The presentation aspect of a depiction – the display – is perhaps the most important feature of
the software. Depiction allows multiple data elements of varying formats to be displayed in an
integrated yet uncluttered way. Depiction can display elements across the entire depiction area
or selectively using Revealer™ technology. Revealers are rectangular or circular “windows” of
any size that reveal selected elements. Depiction allows an unlimited number of revealers and
an unlimited number of elements in each revealer.
Open Display Content by clicking on Display on the main menu bar.
6.1 Display Content
Main MenuDisplay
The Depiction display is controlled using Display
 Select Display on the main menu bar. Or
right-click in your depiction and select the
Display Content… option from the popup
menu. The Display Content menu appears.
 Display Content has two tabs:
 Show always: Enables you to select the
elements that you want to display on the
background of your depiction.
 Show in revealer(s): Enables you to
select the elements that you want to
display in Revealers.
 The List by dropdown menu lets you list
elements by Type or by Tag, or you can
select Show all to list all elements
alphabetically by name.
 The “Display Content” window is re-sizeable.
Tip: Depiction automatically assigns a tag to
each element based on the source from which
you imported the element.
Section 6: Display Content
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
6.2 Show Elements on Background
Display ContentShow always
Section 6: Display Content
With the Show always tab selected (the
default selection), the elements selected
window lists all the elements in your
depiction. Groups of elements can be
expanded by clicking on the arrow to the
left of the individual elements in that group.
Clicking the arrow again collapses the list.
Display an element or group of elements
by clicking on the checkbox ( ) next to
the element(s). An x mark appears in the
checkbox. If a / appears in the box, it
means that some of the elements in the
group are selected, but not all. The total
number of displayed elements is shown in
the heading above the window.
To remove an element from the Show
always list, click the checkbox next to the
element(s) to uncheck the box. The x mark
in the checkbox disappears and the
element is no longer displayed.
You can find a subset of elements by using
the Filter elements by hovertext box.
Enter text here, and only elements having
matching text in their hovertext will be
You can also use “regular expressions” in
the filter command. Regular expressions
allow you to do operations such as OR. For
example the string "Apple" would match all
elements containing "Apple" in the
hovertext. The OR operator is "|" and as
such the string "Apple|Orange" would
match all
elements containing either Apple or
Orange in their hovertext. (This symbol is
found above the “\” key just below the
“backspace” key).
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
6.3 Show Elements in Revealers
Display ContentShow in Revealer(s)
With the Show in revealers tab selected, the
Your revealers pane lists the existing
 Click on the revealer name in the Your
revealers window to select a revealer. The
elements selected window will appear and list
the elements displayed assigned to the
selected revealer. For example, in the figure on
the left, the Street Map (OpenStreetMap)
element is displayed in the Street Map
(OpenStreetMap) revealer.
 You can add more elements to the revealer by
selecting more elements in the elements
selected list. To show or hide an element, click
on the checkbox next to the element. An x mark
in the checkbox indicates that the element is
shown. A / appears in a checkbox for a group of
elements if not all the elements in the group are
In the Your revealers box:
 Select the revealer by clicking on the revealer
name in the list.
 Change the name of the revealer by typing
in a new name in the textbox.
 Show or hide the revealer by clicking on the
revealer’s eye icon. The eye icon with a line
across it ( ) indicates that the revealer is
hidden. The eye icon without a line across it
( ) indicates that the revealer is displayed.
 You can delete a revealer by clicking on the
revealer’s X icon. The Delete revealer
message appears. Click Yes to delete the
revealer or No to cancel. Deleting a
revealer removes only the revealer, and
does not affect the elements displayed in it.
Tip: Hiding the elements also does not delete
them. The elements are still there and still interact
with other elements—they are simply not displayed
in the depiction.
Section 6: Display Content
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
6.4 Create New Revealers
Display ContentShow in Revealer(s)New Revealer
To create a new revealer in the Display
Content menu:
 Select the Show in revealers tab. The Your
revealers box displays existing revealers.
 Click the New revealer button. A new
textbox with text “Enter name here” appears
at the bottom of the list.
 Enter a name for the new revealer.
 Select the elements you want to show in the
new revealer from the elements selected
pane as described above.
The new revealer is displayed in Depiction as a
rectangular box.
Tip: If you have many revealers in the Your
revealers box and you click New revealer,
you may have to scroll down to find the newly
created revealer.
6.5 Manipulating Revealers
Section 6: Display Content
Click on a revealer to activate it—the active revealer
has a red border instead of a golden one.
Click and drag the edges or corners of the revealer
to adjust its size. As you change the size, the
dimensions of the revealer in miles (or kilometers)
are displayed at the bottom of the revealer. Editing
the dimensions in this box will also change the
dimensions of the revealer.
Show or hide the revealer name or size information
bars by clicking on the arrow buttons on the left of
the bars.
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Additional revealer options are available by clicking the
Tools button on the top of the revealer:
 Click the lock icon ( ) to lock or unlock the
revealer. When locked, the size and location of the
revealer cannot be changed.
 Click the border icon ( ) to show or hide the
revealer border.
 Show or hide the revealer by clicking on the eye
icon ( ).
Below the icons are additional tools:
 Count: Click to show the number of elements currently
displayed by the revealer. If any part of an element is
in a revealer, it will be counted towards the total.
 Delete: Click to delete the revealer. The Delete
revealer message appears. Click Yes to delete the
revealer or click No to cancel the action.
 Content: Click to open the Display Content dialog
box and show the elements assigned to the revealer.
 Shape: Click to change the shape of the revealer
between rectangle and circle.
 Transparency: Adjust the level of transparency of the
revealer with the help of the slider on the right of the
tools menu. Move the slider up to make elements less
transparent and down to make them more transparent.
 Hidden revealers are displayed in the depiction as
orange icons with a label.
 Hover over the label and click the x to hide the label.
 The revealer name will still appear as hover text when
the mouse cursor is over the hidden revealer icon.
Section 6: Display Content
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Section 7: Tools Menu
The Tools menu includes many of the options and mechanisms for customizing your depictions,
and your overall Depiction experience as well, including elements, interactions, units of
measurement and more.
Open the Tools menu by clicking on Tools on the main menu bar.
7.0 Tools
Main MenuTools
The Tools dropdown menu includes the following options:
 Add-ons: Display information about installed add-ons.
 Settings: Allows you to change some basic Depiction
settings such as longitude/latitude format, measurement
units, zoom functionality, and digits after decimal.
 Element creation: Allows you to edit existing elements or
create new elements.
 Interactions: Allows you to view, create, edit, delete,
export, and import interactions in your depiction.
 Update: Allows you to download and install the latest
update of Depiction. (Depiction will close to run Depiction
7.1 Add-ons
Main MenuToolsAdd-ons
The Add-ons menu option displays information about the
add-ons currently installed with your copy of Depiction. In this
example to the left it gives information about Quickstart
sources included with the Preparedness Add-on.
If an installed add-on has settings available, they will appear
in this menu.
Section 7: Tools Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
7.2 Settings
Tools  Settings
Select the Settings options from the Tools
dropdown menu, and the Settings dialog
appears. After making changes, click OK to
accept the changes and close the menu, Apply
to accept the changes and leave the menu
open, or Cancel to close the menu without
saving changes.
Note that there are two tabs in the menu for
Basic (shown) and Advanced (see below).
Basic settings include:
Number of digits after the decimal:
Click the down arrow to open the
dropdown list and select a number to
determine the level of decimal accuracy
you wish to display. This only affects
element properties set as numbers or
units of measurement, not latitude and
longitude, nor the map scale.
Measurement System: Click the down
arrow to open the dropdown list and
select metric or imperial as the
measurement type in your Depiction
environment. (This will affect any
depiction you open.)
o Imperial = Feet, Miles, etc.
o Metric = Meters, Kilometers, etc.
Section 7: Tools Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Scale: Click the down arrow to open the
dropdown list and select small, normal or
large. This affects all measurements, but
primarily distance units:
Small = Inches
Normal = Feet
Large = Miles
Small = Centimeters
Normal = Meters
Large = Kilometers
Coordinate format: Click the down
arrow to open the dropdown list and
select a format from the eight format
options for displaying latitude and
In addition to a latitude and longitude,
Depiction can use a coordinate format
called Universal Transverse Mercator
(UTM). It is the 5th one down on the list.
For more information about geographic
coordinates, see Appendix B.
Section 7: Tools Menu
Zoom focus allows you to select
whether the background will hold to the
mouse or the center of the window as
you zoom in (with the mouse wheel,
Page Up/Page Down keys, or navigation
widget in the lower left corner of the
Overwrite existing cache with new:
Check this option if you know there is
new data for a background source (like
Display world outline allows you to turn
off the display of country outlines.
Turning off will improve overall
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Advanced settings include:
 User home directory: This is the folder
Depiction stores cache files (background
imagery tiles and other data), User
element definitions, icons, interaction
rules and error logs. Copy it and paste it
into Windows Explorer to access this
information. (Location shown is on a
Windows 7 computer, it will be different
on XP.) See section 9.4.2 for tiling info.
 Proxy User Name
 Proxy Password
These settings will be left blank for most
users. However some networks
(typically business or government)
require all traffic destined for the Internet
to go through a proxy server. Users can
set their username and password used
by the proxy server with these options to
give Depiction access to the Internet.
7.3 Element Creation
Tools  Element creation
The Element Definition Editor enables you to create new custom element definitions from
scratch or to create new element definitions by using an existing element as a template. To load
an existing element as a starting point, open the Add Content menu, right click on the element
you wish to use as a starting point, and select Copy.
Section 7: Tools Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Above is the Element Definition Editor with no element template loaded, and below, the School
element has been used as a template.
NOTE: Both windows have been expanded to display more fields.
Definition Description: This is the description that will appear in the “add content” list of
elements. This must be different than any definition currently in your library.
Definition Type: This is the unique identifier that Depiction will use in order to distinguish your
custom element from any other custom elements with the same name. For example, if you were
creating a “University” element, use something like “” to distinguish it from a
University element created by someone else. This must be different than any definition currently
in your library.
Load from File: Use this option to load an element definition from a saved file (Depiction
elements are saved with the extension .dml).
New Definition: Create a new, generic definition by choosing this option to load the properties
with the minimum information needed for a new element.
Section 7: Tools Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Element Definition Editor Properties List
The following describes the columns available in the dialog.
Actions: Click
to delete a property. Click
change to a property.
to undo a deletion. Click
to undo any other
Property Name: This is the unique name that you are giving to a property.
Value: This is the default value for the property.
Deletable: If the box is checked ( ) then this property can be deleted by the user in the
properties window.
Visible to User: If the box is checked ( ) then this property will be visible in the properties
Editable: If the box is checked ( ) then this property can edited in the properties window.
Hovertext: If the box is checked ( ) then this property will be set as hovertext by default.
Section 7: Tools Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Property ID: This is the internal name used by the program and will be created automatically
when adding new properties.
Property Type: This is the type of property. See right for the various types.
Element Definition Editor  Adding Properties
Below the property options is the place to add new properties. You need to put
information in the following two fields.
Property Name: To add a new property to an element definition, enter the name
here. It should be a unique name that has not already been used.
Property Type: Chose the appropriate type from the dropdown menu (see right).
When ready to add the property, click the Add Property button.
Note that this button is not available until a Property name and type have been added.
Element Definition Editor  Saving the Definition to the Library
To close Element Definition Editor without saving, click Close. The definition being
edited will still be available the next time the Editor is opened.
To export a copy of your element definition to a .dml file, click Export.
To make changes to properties permanent, click Apply.
To save your element to the element library and start a new element, click Save &
To save your existing element to the element library and close the Element
Definition Editor, click Save & Close.
Tip: Saved elements will be found in the Add Content menu under User Definitions.
Section 7: Tools Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
7.4 Interactions
Tools  Interactions
Tip: Depiction comes with several built in interactions. You only need to access this menu if
you wish to change existing interactions or if you wish to create new ones.
Select the Interactions option of the Tools menu to
open the Interactions Repository Viewer. On the
top is the list of all of the interaction rules that
Depiction currently uses. On the bottom is the
information about the currently selected interaction
rule. An interaction occurs when the zone of
influence of the cause element overlaps the zone of
influence of one of the affected elements.
The Interactions Repository Viewer has the
following options:
 Interaction Disabled: Checking this box causes
the selected interaction to be disabled in this
 Copy interaction: Create a new interaction
based on the selected one.
 Import: Import an interaction from a file into an
existing depiction.
 Export: Export an interaction to a file from an
existing depiction.
 Enable All: This button will enable all
 Disable All: This button will disable all
 Close: Close the Interactions Repository
 Delete: Delete an existing Interaction.
 Save: Save the changes made in the
Interactions Repository Viewer.
Tip: The Interactions Repository Viewer window is
re-sizeable so that more interactions can be visible
as shown in the second screenshot on the left.
Section 7: Tools Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
At the bottom of the Interactions dialog box, the
Details of selected interaction pane displays the
information about the selected interaction. The
information includes:
 Interaction name: Every interaction in Depiction
is identified by a unique name. This is shown at
the bottom of the screen when the results of the
interaction are being calculated by Depiction:
Interaction Author: Shows the name of the
creator of the interaction.
Interaction Description: Provides a brief
description of the interaction rule.
Cause: Shows the element that causes the
selected interaction.
Affected elements: Lists all the elements
affected by the interaction. An interaction
happens when the zone of influence of the cause
element overlaps the zone of influence of one of
its affected elements. (For example, a Flood, the
cause element, disables a Building, an affected
7.4.1 Creating a New Interaction
Tools  Interactions  Copy Interaction
Section 7: Tools Menu
Select an interaction from the Select an
interaction box that most closely resembles
the interaction you’d like to create between
different elements.
Click the Copy interaction button. A copy of
the selected interaction is added to the
bottom of the list of interactions. The controls
in the Details of selected interaction box
are activated.
Enter the name, author and description of the
interaction rule.
Select the Cause element for the newly
created interaction.
 Click the arrow button to open the
dropdown list.
 Select one element from the dropdown
list. The list provides a complete list of
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
elements that could cause an interaction
between different elements
Select the affected elements by checking the
checkbox next to the listed element. An x
mark appears in the checkbox next to the
selected element.
The list provides a complete list of elements
that could be affected by the interaction
between different elements caused by
another element.
Click the Apply button to save the new
interaction. The newly created interaction
appears at the bottom of the interaction list
shown in the Select an interaction box.
User-created interaction rules are shown in
black, while the default interaction rules are
shown in red.
7.4.2 Edit Interactions
Tools  Interactions  Edit an Interaction
Select the interaction that you want to edit in the
Select an interaction box.
The controls in the Details of selected
interaction box are activated, and function the
same as described above.
When finished editing an interaction, click the
Save button to save the changes. If you try to
exit without saving, the Save Changes?
message appears. It has the following options:
 Click the Yes button to apply changes.
 Click the No button to discard changes.
 Click the Cancel button to continue
Tip: Depiction’s default interaction rules, those
shown in red, cannot be edited. They can be
disabled and copied, and the copies may be edited.
Section 7: Tools Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
7.4.3 Export Interactions
Tools Interactions Export
Select the interaction that you want to export
in the Select an interaction box.
Click on the Export button. The Save as
dialog box appears.
Enter the following details:
 Save in: Select the folder on your
computer from the Save in dropdown list.
 File name: Enter a file name in the File
name textbox.
 Save as type: An interaction file is saved
as an xml file and it is the default file type
Click the Save button to save the file or click
the Cancel button to cancel the action.
7.4.4 Import Interactions
Tools Interactions Import
Section 7: Tools Menu
Select the interaction that you want to
import in the Select an interaction box.
Click on the Import button. The Open
dialog box appears.
Enter the following details:
 Look in: Select the folder on your
computer from where the file is to be
imported in the Look in dropdown list.
 File name: Select the file and the file
name appears in the File name textbox.
 Files of type: interaction files are saved
as xml files and it is the default file type
Click the Open button to open the file or
click the Cancel button to cancel the action.
The imported interaction appears in the list
of interactions in the Select an interaction
box in the Interactions dialog box.
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
7.4.5 Using Interactions in Depiction
Interactions determine how elements affect other elements in a depiction. For example, go
through the following steps to see how a flood of the downtown Seattle waterfront affects
elements like buildings and shelters.
Create a depiction of downtown Seattle (the area
that will appear when you enter Seattle as your
location on the Go To Location screen)
Select the Elevation Data from the Quickstart
data source dialog box (Elevation data is used by
Depiction to calculate and display the flood’s
Select Add on the main menu bar, and add
different elements (such as buildings, shelters,
hospitals etc.) and place the elements in your
depiction using the mouse.
Select Add on the main bar again and add a
flood element, placing it somewhere in the body
of water adjacent to downtown (Elliot Bay).
When the Element Information box appears,
enter a height above ground value of 10 feet or
so and click Apply. Depiction now computes the
extent of the flood. Where the flood covers an
area containing a set of buildings, the buildings
become inactive (depicted with a red “X”).
In this example, two different interaction rules are
used. “Calculate flood when elevation data
changes” is the rule that causes the flood
element to interact with the elevation element.
Then, “Flood disables elements” determines
which elements become disabled when they
overlap with the flood.
Section 7: Tools Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
7.5 Update
Tools  Update
To download and install the latest update(s) of Depiction, click
Update, and the Update Depiction message appears. Click the
Run update program button to search for and install any
available updates. Or click the Cancel button to close the
The Continue update? message appears. Click Yes to proceed
or No to stay in Depiction.
If you click yes, Depiction closes, after offering to save your
current file (if not saved since your last change), and A Depiction
Update - Welcome screen appears. Depiction Update offers to
search a Depiction, Inc. server and find if there is a newer version
Click Next. (You may also Cancel at this point to close the update
If there is a new version, Depiction Update displays the Update
Available message.
 Yes: to start the updates install.
 Not now: to exit the update install.
 What’s New: Click this button to review the changes and
new features in this update of Depiction. (Opens your
default browser to
If you click the Yes button, the Depiction Update - Downloading
File progress bar appears.
After the download is complete, the Depiction Setup program will
run. If an older version needs to be removed, the setup program
will do that first, and then install the updated version.
Section 7: Tools Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
When the installation is complete the Update Complete window
will inform you what it has installed.
Click Finish. Your Depiction update is complete!
You will see this new version of Depiction then next time you start
the program.
Section 8: Help Menu
The Depiction Help menu includes options for online and offline help, and other pieces of
8.1 Help Menu
To access the Depiction Help menu, click Help on the Welcome screen, on
the Menu bar when in a depiction:
 Help: Opens the Depiction Help file.
 Tutorials: Opens a browser and loads tutorial videos from
 Licensing: Shows your 16 character Depiction serial number.
About: Shows which version and build of Depiction you are
currently running. It also displays licensing information.
 EULA: End User License Agreement.
8.2 Help Topics
Help  Help
Each version of Depiction Software comes
with an updated built-in Help guide with
details such as:
 How to use certain important tools
 Depiction contact and support
 Extensive glossary to get quick
information about important Depiction
terms and definitions
Section 8: Help Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
8.3 Tutorials
Help Tutorials
When Tutorials is selected, Depiction opens the
Tutorials page at in a browser window.
(An Internet connection is required). Tutorials include:
 Getting Started: The basics of Depiction (7
 Geo-aligning Video: How to align maps,
drawings, images geographically to your
depiction (5 minutes).
 Interactions Video: Edit and create your own
interactions between elements (5 minutes).
8.4 Licensing
Help  Licensing
Provides your 16-character License Number.
There is also an option here to deactivate the license
from your computer or laptop—only use this option if
you wish to uninstall Depiction from this computer
permanently. Note that the process does not update
your license: please contact Depiction Support before
installing on another computer.
8.5 About Software
Help  About
Provides Depiction version and license
information, as well as third party license and
product details for component products that are
included in Depiction.
Section 8: Help Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
8.6 End User License Agreement
Help  EULA
The End User License Agreement is the
agreement between Depiction, Inc. and the end user
of Depiction.
Section 8: Help Menu
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Section 9: Additional Tools
In addition to the main menu options, Depiction has tools available on the left-hand side of the
screen, the lower left-hand corner, and in the right click menu.
9.1 Select Tool
The Select tool just below the Main Menu enables the selection of elements
visually. Using the select tool will open the Manage content menu, with all
elements selected by the tool highlighted.
9.1.1 Basic select tool use
Click the Select button to activate the tool.
The button will be outlined in red, and the cursor will change to
Click and drag to draw a box around a group of elements that you wish to
edit, export, delete, send by email or hide.
The Manage content menu will open, with the highlighted elements
selected, enabling editing, exporting, etc.
Tip: The select tool will select all visible elements within the selection
region, including images and shapes. If any portion of a background
image, elevation data, shape element, etc. is within the selected region, it
will be selected in the Manage content menu as well, and you may wish
to deselect them before continuing.
9.1.2 Arbitrary select tool use
To select elements using an arbitrary or free-form shape, rather than
a box, right-click the Select button.
The button will be outlined in blue, and the cursor will change to
Section 9: Additional Tools
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Click to add corners (vertices) to the shape of your selection region
around a group of elements. Right-click or double-click to finish
drawing the selection region, and then proceed as described above.
9.2 Quickadd Toolbar
Below the select tool is the QuickAdd Toolbar, where frequently used
elements can be added for rapid access. See section 9.2.3 below for
instructions on adding and removing elements from the toolbar.
Clicking on a button in the QuickAdd Toolbar is equivalent to selecting the
add a single element by mouse option in the Add Content menu.
9.2.1 Annotations
Clicking the
button on the QuickAdd Toolbar will add an Annotation to the depiction. An
annotation is a special type of element that is zoom-level dependent (i.e., will only appear at or
near the zoom level set when it was placed), making it ideal for “guided tours” using Depiction. It
can also be added from the right-click menu.
Annotations are added with default text. Click the
annotation to enter a note or comment.
Double-click the Abc icon to hide the annotation.
URLs added to annotations (i.e. are
clickable, and will open in a browser window.
To change the color of an annotation, right-click, then
click Annotation, then click Edit annotation to open
the Annotation menu.
The Background and Text bars can be clicked to
select the colors for the annotation. The Select Color
Attributes popup box appears (see section 5.2.1 for
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9.2.2 Drawing tools
Below the annotation button on QuickAdd toolbar are the drawing tools. In addition to
elements that represent specific people, objects, events and locations, Depiction includes these
generic shape and line elements that can be used for drawing, either as markup or to represent
location-based information. Their colors and icons can all be edited as with other elements, as
described in Section 5.
The Rectangle element will create a rectangle
with a set width and height. The Rectangle
Properties window will open after each one you
add to your depiction. If you click Cancel on this
control, Depiction will delete the rectangle. By
default, the rectangle is set to 1000 feet in height
and 500 feet in width.
You can change the dimensions, as well as the
degrees of orientation, by editing the properties
and clicking Apply or OK.
Additionally, check the Editable ZOI property, to
enable editing of the zone of influence.
The Circle element will create a circle with a set
radius. By default, the circle is set to 500 feet in
radius. The circle ZOI can also be edited
manually using the Editable ZOI property
Tip: changing the Radius property is the best
way to maintain the shape of a Circle.
The Shape - user drawn enables the free-form
drawing of a closed polygon. Clicking will create
vertices (corners). Control-clicking will remove
the previous vertex. To complete the element,
click “Done”, press Escape, right-click or double
click. To drag the background, hold the Shift key
while dragging with the left-mouse button.
The Line – user drawn element enables the
free-form drawing of a line, using the same
process as Shape – user drawn.
9.2.3 Editing the Quickadd Toolbar
To add elements to the QuickAdd Toolbar, open Add content with create or import by mouse
selected, highlight the element you wish to add, and hold down the Shift key while left-clicking
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the mouse. If the element type is one of those that cannot be added by mouse, the element
icon will be grayed out in the “as this element” list. To remove an element type from the
QuickAdd Toolbar, hold down the Shift key while left-clicking the element icon in the
toolbar. Note that the annotation button cannot be removed from the QuickAdd Toolbar.
9.3 Zones of Influence
Some elements, including both drawing tools above and the simulation elements described in
section 10.3, have a zone of influence that can be changed manually. If a line or shape border
increases in size on mouse over, this indicates that the shape can be edited. The Editable ZOI
property described above can be checked or unchecked in the properties box to turn this
capability on and off.
To start editing the shape, left click directly on
the line or border, or shift-click anywhere in the
When a ZOI is in edit mode, the ZOI's lines
become thick and red and the vertices become
gray circles.
In addition, a dialog box will appear that gives
instructions on how to edit the shape and exit
edit mode.
The shape may now be edited by moving,
adding, and deleting vertices.
 Click and drag a single corner point. A
moveable corner point (vertex) becomes
blue when on mouse over.
 Click and drag an edge or line segment. A
moveable edge or line segment turns green
when the mouse is over it.
 Hold down the Shift key and left-click on a
line to add a new corner point (vertex). The
ability to add a corner point is shown by a
“pen” mouse cursor.
 Shift-click on an existing vertex to delete it.
When the Shift key is down and the mouse
is over a corner point the mouse cursor
turns into a red 'X'.
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9.4 Navigation Tools
9.4.1 Navigation Widget
At the lower left corner is the Navigation Widget.
 Pressing the Up, Down, Left or Right arrows moves the
Indicates the North Direction of the depiction canvas.
 Zoom in or out by clicking
or .
Tip: When zoomed in on a Revealer window, clicking and dragging may
move revealer instead of the canvas. In these situations you may wish to
use the widget.
9.4.2 Background Tiling
In the upper right hand corner, is the
background selection menu.
Tip: When an image tile is shown in Depiction,
the tiles are saved in a cache. These tiles will
still be available when not connected to the
Background tiling is dynamically updated
when panning or zooming. It is separate
from the static imagery included in a
depiction, but comes from some of the
same sources available from Quickstart.
For more information on any of these, see
their Quickstart entry. Tiling sources
Street Map (OpenStreetMap)
Street Map (Mapquest)
Imagery (NAIP)
Imagery (NASA Landsat 7)
Imagery (Mapquest)
Imagery (Seamles Urban)
Topographic Map (USGS)
None (A black background)
9.4.3 Location information
To the right of the navigation widget is the location
information bar, which will display the geographic
coordinates for the current mouse cursor location. The
format for the output is determined in the Settings menu
(see section 7.2).
If elevation data has been loaded, the elevation of the
current cursor location will also be displayed.
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9.4.4 Scale
Below the location information is a display of the map
scale. Note that this display is based on the scale at the
location of the scale itself. At larger zoom levels (state and
country-level) there will be significant differences between
this and that at other parts of the map display.
9.5 Right-Click Menu
Right clicking anywhere on the depiction background
offers several options. Additionally, right clicking on
specific elements also offers options.
9.5.1 Basic right-click options
 Copy location to clipboard: the geographic
coordinates of the current location under the cursor arrow will be copied to the clipboard
and can then be retrieved by the paste command or ctrl-V. The output of the location will
be determined in the Settings menu (see section 7.2).
 Center on region center: Clicking on this option will change your view, so that the
center of your selected depiction region will be brought to the center of the screen.
 Hide QuickAdd: Hides the QuickAdd toolbar.
 Add Annotation: Adds an annotation (see section 9.2.1 for
 Get high-res imagery: Downloads a high-resolution imagery tile
as a single geo-aligned image element from one of the data
sources listed, centered on the mouse location (see right).
9.5.1 Element-specific right-click options
 Draggable: Uncheck this option to prevent
the element from being dragged
 Geo-locate element: opens the geolocating
dialog box.
To move
the element,
enter a landmark, a street address or
coordinates, and click Place from location;
or click Place by mouse to relocate it by
clicking a chosen spot.
 Show element properties: opens the
element’s Properties box. See section 5.2.
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Tip: If more than one element is at the current
location, a list of element names will be
shown, each with a sub-menu.
 Show permatext: sets the hovertext of the
element to always show. See section 5.2.4.
 Delete element: removes the element from
the depiction permanently. A confirmation
box will appear before deletion.
 Edit definition: Loads the element into the
Element Definition Editor. See section 7.3.
Section 10: Advanced Topics
Depiction includes many capabilities not described in the preceding sections. This section will
go through a few of these advanced topics, including a detailed explanation of Live Reports,
using Element Identifier (EID) properties and more.
10.1 Live Reports
Depiction's Live Reports capability allows multiple people to add elements or exchange
elements and element updates between multiple depictions, all via email, with Depiction
functioning as an email client. This provides a dynamic and collaborative way for people in
multiple locations to make reports that populate one or more depictions.
In order to use Live Reports:
Set up an email account to receive emails.
Create a depiction that imports elements from that email account.
Have people send emails to the email account.
10.1.1 Setting Up an Email Account
You will need an email system that supports the POP3 method to access the emails. The
following email systems are known to work with Depiction:
Yahoo! Mail
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"Email Account"
[email protected]
[email protected]
The free version of Yahoo!
email does not support
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[email protected]
Free version of Hotmail only
allows one login every 15
[email protected]
(Essentially the same as
Other POP3 mail.XXXX.
Replace "" with
the appropriate address for
your server (Microsoft
Exchange or other type).
See your network
administrator for assistance
in adding accounts or
accessing them from
You may need the information in the POP3 Server Address and Use SSL fields when setting
up the connection from Depiction to your email account, below. See section 10.1.12 for email
settings for additional email providers.
10.1.2 Importing Elements from Email
To add elements via email, open Add Content and click on the Live reports button.
In the left pane, enter the login details needed to retrieve emails from your email account. If your
email provider is in the Email provider drop-down list, choose it. This list also shows any email
accounts you have previously used for Live reports in Depiction.
If your new email address is from one of the email providers on the list (Google, Hotmail or
Yahoo!), simply select it and enter your email account name and password.
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Otherwise, select Other Pop3 account… enter the full address for the email account to read,
such as [email protected], the password for the email account, and the POP3 Server
and Use SSL settings. See the above table for the settings of several popular email systems.
You may use any system that supports the POP3 protocol.
Filter Tags: Enter any tags that you wish to filter incoming emails by. Below is an example of a
formatted email. The tag format is //DT{tag1,tag2,tag3}//
The tag can be used to filter emails thereby adding some security to the process; it can also be
used to add a tag to the element once it is received. You can also use tags so that the same
email account can be used for different Depiction scenarios.
Refresh rate specifies the rate at which Depiction will check for new message (default is every
2 minutes). Enter whole numbers to indicate the number of minutes, or decimals to check more
frequently: 0.5 to check every 30 seconds, 0.25 to check every 15 seconds, etc.
10.1.4 As this element (by default):
In the right pane, select the default element definition to use for the elements created from the
emails. If the email subject or body specifies an element definition, that definition will be used
10.1.5 Sending Emails to a depiction
A typical email that can be read by Depiction's Live reports could look like the following:
From: John Doe
To: [email protected]
Subject: Plume: Gas Smell, 400 Pine Street, Seattle WA
Wind speed: 20
Wind direction: 225
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Time: 1
Material Type: Natural Gas
When Depiction reads the above email it will automatically create a Plume element located 400
Pine Street, Seattle WA, with a name of Gas Smell in the hovertext, and with the four values
for the four properties listed in the email's body: a wind speed of 20, a wind direction of 225, a
time of 1 hour, and a material type of Natural Gas. The element icon will pulsate to alert the
user that a new Live report has been received. Any properties not specified in the body of the
email will have the default value specified by the element type (e.g. Amount of Release of 100).
Following are the specifics of formatting an email that Depiction will understand.
10.1.6 Formatting an email's subject line
Depiction expects the subject line to be like one of the following two examples:
Plume: Gas Smell, 400 Pine Street, Seattle WA
Gas Smell, 400 Pine Street, Seattle WA
The top example has three parts: element definition, name and location
 The first colon (:) separates the element definition from the name.
 The first comma (,) separates the name from the location. By default, the name is
displayed as hovertext. The name cannot contain a comma.
 Everything after the second comma describes the element’s location.
The element definition is optional. If missing, as in the second example above, Depiction will
use the default element type chosen when initially adding the Live reports.
If there is no location, or the location cannot be found, Depiction will put the new element
in Manage Content under the need to geo-align tab, where you can view it by selecting the
element and clicking on View/Edit.
The location may be specified in many ways. Common formats include:
Type of location
400 Pine Street, Seattle WA
Zip code
Latitude & longitude
47.61N, -122.33E
Landmark name
The White House
Tip: If the email body includes a location property that Depiction recognizes (position, address,
etc.), it will be used if there is no location in the subject line. See below for more on adding
properties to an email.
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10.1.7 Formatting an email's body
The body of the email may specify property values for the element to be created. The example
email above specifies four property values. A colon (:) separates the property from its value.
Each property and value is on a separate line.
When read, Depiction will assign the value to the property in the element. If the property is not in
the specified element definition, Depiction will add a new one.
Any units, such as "feet", for numeric values are those defined in the element definition.
Note that if the email's body has properties for latitude and longitude, these will be used to
determine the element's location instead of the location information in the email's subject line.
The entire body of the email is included as the Email body property of each element created
from a Live report.
10.1.8 What type of element will be created?
An email will create or update only one element. The type of element created for an email
depends upon the content of the email.
1. If the subject line starts with the name of an element type followed by a colon (such as
"Road barrier:"), Depiction will create an element of that type.
2. Otherwise, if the email body includes a property named Element type, Depiction will
use that property's value as the type.
3. Otherwise, Depiction will create an element of the default type selected when you added
the Live report connection from Add Content.
10.1.9 Updating Existing Elements via Email
To update the properties of an existing element via Live reports:
1. Make sure the element you want to update has a property called "EID" (Element
Identifier). This is a unique identifier for this element within your depiction. EIDs are
created automatically when a Live Report is sent or received, or you can set a custom
EID in the body of the original email used to create this element in Depiction.
2. To update this element via email, send a new email message to the Live reports email
account and include in that email a line that specifies an EID property containing the
same value. All Depiction applications that are "scanning" that email account will update
the element with that EID using the properties (and values) read from the email. The
icon of the element being updated will pulsate to show that it has been updated with a
Live report. (If Depiction does not find a matching element, it will create a new element
for that email.)
For example, the following email will create a vehicle at "400 Pine Street, Seattle WA":
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From: John Doe
To: [email protected]
Subject: Vehicle: Delivery van, 400 Pine Street, Seattle WA
EID: John Doe's truck
To update the name and location of this element, you could send the following email to the
same Live report email address:
From: John Doe
To: [email protected]
Subject: Disabled truck, 800 1st Ave, Seattle, WA
EID: John Doe's truck
This will move the vehicle element to the location of "800 1st Ave, Seattle, WA" and change the
name from “Delivery van” to “Disabled truck”.
You also can move an element by specifying the new location via Latitude and Longitude
properties in the email's body, such as:
From: John Doe
To: [email protected]
Subject: Disabled truck
EID: John Doe's truck
Latitude: 47.6034
Longitude: -122.3352
Tip: You can change any element property using Live reports, but not an element's ‘type’.
Note: Be sure to use the decimal format for lat/long, as others can cause errors in Live Reports.
10.1.10 How Live Reports Works
Once started, Depiction reads every email from this email account.
Depiction checks for new emails based on the specified refresh rate. At each update, Depiction
reads every email in the account, and either creates or updates one element for each new
If you no longer want Depiction to read a particular email, use your email system to move or
delete those emails from the inbox.
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10.1.11 Emailing an element from within a depiction
Depiction also can send emails that communicate the element information from one depiction to
another, one element at a time, in a format that Depiction's Live reports feature can interpret.
There are two ways to send an element.
The first way is to open Manage Content and select the element(s) you wish to send. Then
click the Send button. This will bring up the Send email report form:
Certain fields are always required:
 To: one or more email addresses (use commas
to separate addresses), such as
[email protected]
 Account Name: This is the email account you
are going to send from. Previously used
accounts will be accessible here.
 From: a legitimate email address, such as
[email protected]
 Outgoing email server - the name of your
email server, such as
(ask your system administrator, and see the list
below for common webmail providers)
 Email Tags: The tag you want to add to your
 Port Number: change only if your email
provider uses a non-standard port to send
Needed if your email server requires authentication
(most do):
 Use authentication - check this if your email
server requires it (ask your system
 User name - for use during authentication, only
(ask your system administrator)
Password - for use during authentication, only (ask
your system administrator)
The second way to send an element is by clicking on
the Send button along the bottom of the Properties
To update Depiction users on changes to an element's information (e.g. occupancy information
for a shelter), double-click the element's icon, edit the contents in the element's information
window, and click Send.
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10.1.12 Configuration for common email providers
Hotmail Incoming Mail Server (POP3)
Hotmail Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP)
Yahoo Incoming Mail Server (POP3)
Yahoo Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP)
Yahoo Plus Incoming Mail Server
Yahoo Plus Outgoing Mail Server
Google Gmail Incoming Mail Server
Gmail Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP)
GMX Incoming Mail Server (POP3)
GMX Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP)
MSN Incoming Mail Server (POP3)
MSN Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP)
Lycos Mail Incoming (POP3)
Lycos Mail Outgoing (SMTP)
Netscape Internet Service Incoming
Netscape Internet Service Outgoing
10.1.13 Known issues
On occasion, Internet service providers (ISPs) may block unknown email clients from sending
email. This may include Depiction. If this is happening to you, try sending email from a public
network, or contact your ISP to request that Depiction be added to their list of approved email
Tip: When sending Live reports, do not use a coordinate format that includes a colon (:), as this
conflicts with the colons used to delineate properties and to separate the element type from the
element name.
10.2 “EID” – Element Identifier – How it Works
When Depiction is communicating with other data sources, such as other copies of Depiction via
Live reports, or spreadsheets using the CSV import wizard, it uses a unique code or key called
an EID (Element Identifier) in order to match outside information to the correct element within
the depiction.
An EID can be any combination of numbers and letters. Once an element has an EID, the
information associated with that element can be automatically updated upon import of a file or
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Live Report that contains an EID property with a matching value. EID is not a standard property
for any of the existing elements, but can be added to an element’s set of properties in three
1) By selecting the Add Property option in the Properties box to add a new property to
an element (or group of elements) named “EID”.
2) By importing a spreadsheet (CSV file) that has a column header named “EID”. The
value beneath the EID column header becomes the EID for the corresponding
element. The values in this field must be unique. If you have multiple rows with the
same EID field then subsequent rows will overwrite previous ones.
3) By sending an element by e-mail or receiving a Live Report. The first time an
element is sent or received via Live report, Depiction automatically creates an EID
for that element if an EID does not already exist. The EID created is a unique
numeric sequence derived from the time stamp of the email.
10.2.1 Creating an EID and Updating Existing Elements Using a CSV File
The easiest way to create an EID for elements added from a spreadsheet is to ensure that the
spreadsheet (csv file) contains a column header named EID and that the value in the EID field
for each element (row) is unique. When imported, each element created from the file will have
an EID property with the unique EID value. Importing a subsequent spreadsheet file with newer
data (and containing matching EIDs) will update the matching element’s properties with the
revised data.
If a CSV file has an EID field, an additional Update by EID
only radio button will appear in the CSV Import Wizard above
the Latitude/Longitude radio button. If a CSV contains no
position information, use this option to update elements with
new information.
Tip: If a CSV is without using location information, and a row
contains an EID with matching elements in the depiction, then a
new, non-geo-aligned element will be created, accessible only
from the Elements to geo-align section of the Manage
Content menu.
Tip: If updating just a few elements in a large spreadsheet, it is best to separate only the
specific those rows and columns that have been updated into a new CSV. Otherwise, all
information for elements from the spreadsheet will be overwritten—this would include blank
fields in the spreadsheet overwriting information included in the depiction.
10.2.2 EID and Shapefiles
To merge polygon elements from shapefiles and numerical data from spreadsheets, such as the
process to create thematic maps of Census or election data, shapefile elements will need to be
given an EID. To do this:
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1. Import the shapefile.
2. When the Properties box appears, click Export to save those elements as a CSV.
3. Click Delete to remove those elements from your depiction
4. Open the CSV file in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel.
5. Rename an existing column that has unique values in it to EID.
6. Save the edited file as CSV.
7. Import the CSV file.
This will add the same elements as before, but with an EID property. Next, import another CSV
file that has data associated with those shapes, making sure that there is an EID field in the
CSV file that matches those that are already in your depiction.
10.3 Elements with Behaviors
10.3.1 Common Behavior of Elements with Behavior
 When an element with a behavior is
added, most open their Properties box,
which includes the properties that help
determine the element’s zone of
influence (i.e. width, radius, height above
ground, etc.)
 Changing the default values for
properties will change the shape of the
 Click OK or Apply to create the element.
 Click Cancel to remove the element.
 Change the element position by clicking
and dragging the element icon.
Tip: Some elements simulate events. Simulation
accuracy is limited by the data available and
Depiction’s simple simulation models.
Simulations are only rough approximations of
real events.
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10.3.2 Flood
Icon for the Flood element.
Flood interacts with
 elevation data to produce a zone of influence, and
 people, building and other elements to disable them.
To use a flood:
1. Create a depiction near a water body—a coastal
region, or a flat region near a river works best (the
flood model is not accurate on slopes).
2. From the Quickstart menu, add Elevation.
3. Add the Flood element from the Add Content Menu.
The flood should be placed on the water body with
which you wish to simulate a flood.
4. The Properties box will open. Set the Height above
ground of the flood (3 feet by default).
5. Click OK to close the box and run the simulation.
Tip: The Flood disables elements interaction rule
determines what elements will be disabled. Copy that rule to
disable additional elements.
10.3.3 Water Runoff
Icon for the Water Runoff element.
Runoff simulates water running down a slope by generating a “path of
least resistance” downhill and disables certain elements. To use runoff:
1. From the Quickstart menu, add Elevation data.
2. Add the Line of Sight element from Add Content.
3. The Properties box will open. Four different properties can be
used to determine the runoff:
a. Elevation Tolerance is a technical setting that determines how
the element interacts with the elevation data. Try setting this
number higher or lower than the default 1.64 feet to see slightly
different simulations.
b. Volume sets the amount of water simulated. Default is 10,000
c. Smoothing factor is another technical setting, ranging from 010, that determines how much the simulation will average, or
“smooth” the surrounding terrain. Default is 0, and larger
numbers generally cause the runoff to go farther.
d. Show maximum inundation can be set to have the element
ignore the volume, and fill the region to maximum.
4. Click OK to close the box and run the simulation.
Tip: The Runoff disables elements interaction rule determines what
elements will be disabled. Copy that rule to disable additional elements.
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10.3.4 Line Of Sight
Icon for the Line of Sight element.
Line of sight uses elevation data to generate a region
that can be seen from a certain point and height. To use
a line of sight:
1. From the Quickstart menu, add Elevation data.
2. Add the Line of Sight element from Add
3. The Properties box will open. Five different
properties can be used to determine the line of
a. Maximum viewing distance sets the furthest
point the element will reach. 1000 feet is
b. Height above ground level sets the height
from which the simulated “viewer” is looking.
6 feet is default.
c. Centerline direction sets the direction of the
line of sight in degrees, 0 being North, 90
East, 180 South and 270 West.
d. Field of view determines the breadth of the
line of sight in degrees. 30 is default.
e. Horizontal Sampling determines the speed
versus precision of the line of sight. The
larger the number, the faster the simulation
will finish, but the lower the number the more
precise the simulation will be. 50 is default.
4. Click OK to close the box and run the simulation.
10.3.5 Antenna
Icon for the Antenna element.
Antenna elements indicate the line of sight coverage
of a radio antenna. They use the same simulation
model as the Line of sight element, but with different
values set by default to represent an antenna:
1. Maximum viewing distance is set as 2 miles.
2. Height above ground level is set as 30 feet.
3. Field of view is set as 360, the maximum.
4. Horizontal Sampling is set to 250.
See section 10.3.4 for details on these properties.
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10.3.6 Water Barrier and Change Elevation Height
Icons for the Water barrier and Change elevation height.
In this example a Flood is
simulated and a Water barrier
is in place. Without a Water
barrier the flood would have
entered the city to a larger
Water barrier and Change elevation height both have the
same behavior, but with different icons and default values.
Each can be used to alter the elevation data of a depiction,
which also affects elements such as Flood that interact with
the elevation. To use one of these elements:
1. From the Quickstart menu, add Elevation data.
2. If desired, add a Flood, Runoff or other element that
interacts with elevation.
3. Add the Water barrier or Change elevation height
element from the Add Content Menu.
4. The Properties box will open. These elements
function in the same way as the Rectangle (see
section 9.2.2), and length, width and orientation can
be set here. Additionally, height can be set, either
positive or negative.
a. Default height for Water barrier is 20 feet.
b. Default height for Change elevation height is -20
5. Click OK to close the box, alter the elevation, and
run any affected simulations.
10.3.7 Plume
Icon for the Plume element.
Plume generates a very approximate region reached by a
chemical released into the air. To use a Plume:
1. Add the Plume element from the Add Content Menu.
2. The Properties box will open. Four different properties can
be used to determine the extent of the plume:
a. Wind speed affects how far the plume will reach.
Higher wind speeds will result in a longer and narrower
plume. 5 mph is default.
b. Direction wind is from sets the direction the wind is
coming from in degrees, 0 being North, 90 East, 180
South and 270 West. Note that the plume will be
pointed in the opposite direction (West wind = East
c. Amount of release is a relative value that determines
the size of the release. Default is 100.
d. Time in hours determines how long the contaminant
has been releasing. More time results in a larger plume.
The default is .5 hours (30 minutes).
3. Click OK to close the box and run the simulation.
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Tip: To have the plume disable elements or cause route changes,
use the Interactions menu in the Tools Menu to create new
interaction rules with Plume as the cause element (see Section
10.3.8 Route – Road Network
Icons used by the Route – Road Network element.
Route – Road Network is an element which determines the
shortest route between two or more points using loaded road
network data. To use the Route element:
1. From the Quickstart menu, add the Road Network
data source.
2. In the Add Menu, select Route -Road Network using
the Mouse option.
3. Click once to start the route, then move the cursor to
successive way points and left click. When finished,
place the cursor at the end point and double click.
4. Add additional waypoints by holding down the Shift key
while left-clicking at points on the route to make it go
through certain locations.
5. Hover over the route to view the total distance.
6. Double click the route to open a label with turn-by-turn
Directions. The directions will change if you add or
remove waypoints or alter the route.
10.3.9 Road Barrier
Icon for the Road Barrier element.
Road barrier disables portions of the Road network, causing routes that
used the road network to automatically re-route. To simulate the route
barrier follow the steps below:
1. From the Quickstart menu, add the Road Network data.
2. Add a route as described above.
3. Add the Road Barrier element from the Mouse or Address
option. Be sure to place the barrier so it is covering a road.
4. The simulation will run, altering any affected routes.
5. To increase the size of the road barrier, double-click the icon to
open the properties box and change the radius property.
6. Shift click on the ZOI of the road barrier to change the shape as
described in section 9.3.
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10.3.10 Water Over Roadway
Icon for the Water Over Roadway
Water over roadway affects Route –
Road Network in the same way as the
Road Barrier described above. Follow
the instructions above for use.
10.3.11 Explosion
Icon for the Explosion element.
Explosion is circle-shaped element that disables people-type
elements in its zone of the influence. To use an explosion:
1. Add the Explosion element from the Add Content Menu.
2. Set the Radius of the flood (500 feet by default), in the
Properties box that opens when the explosion is added.
3. Click OK to close the box and run the simulation.
Tip: The Explosion disables elements interaction rule
determines what elements will be disabled. Copy that rule to
disable additional elements (see Section 7.4.1).
10.3.12 Fire Perimeter
Icon for the Fire Perimeter element.
Fire Perimeter is a variation on the Shape – user drawn
element that has an interaction rule attached that disables
people, building and vehicle elements. See section 9.3 for
more details on creating and editing the zone of influence for
the fire perimeter.
Tip: The Fire perimeter disables elements interaction rule
determines what elements will be disabled. Copy that rule to
disable additional elements (see Section 7.4.1).
10.3.13 Creating elements with behavior
Several of these elements are just different versions of each other (Line of site and Antenna,
Road barrier and Water over roadway, etc.). Some have different property values, others just
different icons.
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To create your own elements with behaviors, create a new element based on one of the above
elements, as described in section 7.3, and then use the Interactions menu to create a new
interaction rule based on the original rule, as in section 7.4. For example, you could create a
Tsunami element based on the Flood element, with a different icon and default height above
ground level, and then copy the Calculate flood when elevation data changes interaction,
setting your new Tsunami element as the Affected element.
10.4 File Types that can be imported into Depiction
One of Depiction’s advantages is the capability of combining many
different data types into a single geospatial scenario. Additional details
on the various file types that can be added to a depiction can be found
Tip: Most of the definitions of the file formats below come from
Wikipedia, a good source of more detail for each type.
10.4.1 Spreadsheets as Comma-Separated-Values files (CSV)
“A comma-separated values (CSV) file is used for the digital storage of data structured
in a table of lists form, where each associated item (member) in a group is in association
with others also separated by the commas of its set. Each line in the CSV file
corresponds to a row in the table. Within a line, fields are separated by commas, each
field belonging to one table column. Since it is a common and simple file format, CSV
files are often used for moving tabular data between two different computer programs,
for example between a database program and a spreadsheet program”.
CSV files can be created from Excel, Access or similar spreadsheet or database program. The
file is created by doing a “save as” and choosing CSV as the output type.
10.4.2 Elevation Data (.dem, .tiff, .gtiff, .bt, .adf, .hgt)
DEM: “The USGS DEM standard is a geospatial file format developed by the United
States Geological Survey for storing a raster-based digital elevation model. It is an open
standard, and is used throughout the world. It has been superseded by the USGS's own
SDTS format but the format remains popular due to large numbers of legacy files, selfcontainment, relatively simple field structure and broad, mature software support”.
GeoTIFF: “GeoTIFF is a public domain metadata standard which allows geo-referencing
information to be embedded within a TIFF file. The potential additional information
includes projections, coordinate systems, ellipsoids, datums (sets of reference points),
and everything else necessary to establish the exact spatial reference for the file”.
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10.4.3 Shapefiles
Esri Shapefiles: “The esri Shapefile or simply a Shapefile is a popular geospatial vector
data format for geographic information systems software. It is developed and regulated
by esri as a (mostly) open specification for data interoperability among esri and other
software products. A "Shapefile" commonly refers to a collection of files with ".shp",
".shx", ".dbf", and other extensions on a common prefix name (e.g., "lakes.*"). The actual
Shapefile relates specifically to files with the ".shp" extension. However, this file alone is
incomplete for distribution, as the other supporting files are required.
“Shapefiles spatially describe geometries: points, polylines, and polygons. These, for
example, could represent water wells, rivers, and lakes, respectively. Each item may
also have attributes that describe the items, such as the name or temperature.”
As stated above, shapefiles are not single files, but a set of files that each includes different
types of data relating to the dataset. A sample is shown below.
Not all these files are required by depiction, but all available files in a desired shapefile data
package should be downloaded. Shapefiles will often come in a compressed folder (.zip, for
example). Be sure to extract all the files to the same folder. Multiple shapefiles with different
names can be located in the same folder.
10.4.4 GPX: GPS eXchange
“GPX, or GPS eXchange Format is an XML schema designed as a common GPS data
format for software applications.
It can be used to describe waypoints, tracks, and routes. The format is open and can be
used without the need to pay license fees. Its tags store location, elevation, and time and
can in this way be used to interchange data between GPS devices and software
packages. Such computer programs allow you, for example, to view your track, project
your track on satellite images (in Google Earth), annotate maps, and tag photographs
with the geolocation in the Exif metadata”.
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10.4.5 GML: Geography Markup Language
“The Geography Markup Language (GML) is the XML grammar defined by the Open
Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to express geographical features. GML serves as a
modeling language for geographic systems as well as an open interchange format for
geographic transactions on the Internet. Note that the concept of feature in GML is a
very general one and includes not only conventional "vector" or discrete objects, but also
coverage’s (see also GMLJP2) and sensor data. The ability to integrate all forms of
geographic information is key to the utility of GML”.
10.4.6 Image (jpg, tif, gif, png, bmp)
These are different common formats for image files. Depiction users can import images
to be geo-aligned to the background, such as a scanned map, or as reference, such as a
photo of a point of interest. Note that for a TIF file to import properly, you must select the
Image element type when importing the file (if you select Auto Detect, Depiction will see
it as elevation data). See section 4.2, example #2 & 3 for more details. Images may also
be imported as Image2 elements and may be displayed using the label format in “set
hover text”.
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Section 11A – APRS Add-on
11A.1 Using the APRS Add-on
Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) is an amateur radio-based system for
communication of tactical information of immediate value in real time in the local area. In
addition, the information is ingested into the APRS Internet system (APRS-IS) and distributed
globally for immediate access. In addition to messages, alerts, announcements and bulletins,
the most visible aspect of APRS is its map displays. Anyone can place any object or information
on their map and distribute the maps to all users in the local RF (radio frequency) network or to
users monitoring the area via the internet. Any station, radio or object that has an attached
GPS, is automatically tracked. Other prominent map features are weather stations, alerts,
objects, and other map related amateur radio volunteer activities including search and rescue
and signal direction finding.
APRS is an add-on to Depiction that downloads APRS data to your depictions from the web service. Installing this add-on will put "APRS (OpenAPRS)" as a new
source on your Quickstart data list the next time you start Depiction.
NOTE: The performance of this add-on can be affected by changes in the data output from the
site. Please notify [email protected] if you notice any functionality changes.
The APRS add-on enables you to select response areas and visualize APRS data points and
easily manipulate geo-coded data during events and emergencies.
After installing the APRS Add-on, when you open a
depiction the Quickstart data sources lists the
APRS Stations (OpenAPRS) as one of data sources
that you can download.
 Select the APRS Station (OpenAPRS) option
by clicking in the checkbox next to the item. A
checkbox appears in the box.
 Click the OK button.
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The elements downloaded from OpenAPRS are
displayed in the depiction.
Click the info hyperlink, the information page for
the APRS data is displayed. It provides all the
information available for the downloaded APRS.
Click the Element Info button to open the
Element Properties dialog. You can add new
information, delete information, or edit existing
information for the selected APRS data.
Data is downloaded from the website.
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
11A.2 Installing the APRS Add-on
APRS is an add-on that you can purchase
separately. After you download the add-on, the
APRS installer icon appears on your computer.
Double-click the APSRInstaller.msi icon. The
Open File – Security Warning appears.
This message warns you about the risk of
installing files that may potentially harm your
computer. You have to options:
 Run: If you are aware and trust the publisher
and know what the file is meant for, click the
Run button to start the installation process.
 Cancel: If you are unaware and do not trust
the publisher and do not know what the file is
meant for, click the Cancel button to cancel
the installation process.
In this instance, click the Run button.
The Welcome to the Depiction, Inc. – APRS
Add-on Setup Wizard dialog open. This wizard
guides you through the installation process.
 Click the Next button to continue the
installation process.
The License Agreement dialog appears.
 Read the End User License Agreement.
You can scroll down using the slider on the
right side of the agreement text.
 Select one of the following options:
 I do Not Agree: Select this option if you
do not want to accept the agreement.
However, you will not be able to proceed
and the installation process will be
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I Agree: Select this radio button to accept
the agreement.
As soon as you select the I Agree radio button,
the Next button is enabled.
 Click the Next button to continue installation.
The other options are:
 Cancel: Click the Cancel button to stop
installation and quit the wizard.
 Back: Click the Back button to go back to
the previous screen.
When you click the Next button, the Select
Installation Folder dialog appears.
 Select the folder where you want to install the
APRS add-on.
 Click the Browse button to select a location
on your computer.
 The Disk Cost button provides information
about the space required and space available
for installing depiction in the selected folder.
 Select one of the following options:
 Everyone: Select this radio button to
enable everyone to use the add-on.
 Just me: Select this option to restrict the
use to just yourself.
 Click the Next button.
 If you click the Disk Cost button, the
Depiction Inc. – APRS Add-on Disk Space
dialog appears. It provides the following
 Volume: Displays the volume name and
 Disk Size: Display the size of the volume
in gigabytes (GB).
 Available: Displays the space available
on the volume.
 Required: Displays the amount of space
required to install Depiction.
 Difference: displays the difference
between the available space and the
required space.
 Click the OK button to close the dialog box.
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When you click the Next button on the Select
Installation Folder dialog, the Confirm
Installation dialog appears.
Click Next to continue the installation.
The Installing Depiction, Inc. – APRS Addon dialog appears. It displays the progress of
the installation process.
When the process is completed, the Next button
is enabled.
 Click the next button.
Section 11A – APRS Add-on
The Depiction, Inc. – APRS Add-on
Information dialog appears. It details the
APRS add-on utility and what you can do with
Click the Next button.
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
The Installation Complete dialog appears.
Click the Close button to close the installation
Section 11A – APRS Add-on
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Section 11B: Preparedness Add-on
11B.1 Using the Preparedness Add-on
The Preparedness Add-on encourages personal and community disaster preparedness. This
Depiction extension includes elements, icons and Quickstart data sets to help individual and
families prepare for disaster. Additionally, there are over thirty new elements designed to help
families and communities make interactive disaster plans using Depiction. Keep track of your
emergency kit, make an emergency evacuation plans, and research natural hazards in your
area. See the preparedness elements below:
11B.2 Preparedness Quickstart Data Sources
Historical Hurricane Tracks: These lines indicate the path, date, name and intensity of storms
from 1851 through 2006, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
records. Additional information: for more
Tornado tracks: These lines indicate the approximate path, date and intensity of historical
tornado events; compiled by NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) Storm Prediction Center
(SPC). Additional information:
Wildfire data: Names and perimeters of recent wildfires in the U.S. provided by the Geospatial
Multi-Agency Coordination Group or GeoMAC and hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey
(USGS). Additional information:
Section 11B: Preparedness Add-on
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Recent Earthquakes: Recent magnitude 1 or greater earthquakes from around the world
recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) using a variety of global data sources and
partners. Additional information:
11B.3 Installing Preparedness Add-on
Steps to install the Preparedness Package are as follows:
Click Run as soon as the first dialogue box prompt appears.
Preparedness Add-on Setup Wizard appears, click Next.
Depiction, Inc. End User License Agreement appears. After
reading it, click Next to continue.
Select Installation Folder dialogue prompt appears, click
Next, or choose your destination folder and then click Next.
Confirm Installation dialogue box appears, click-Next.
Section 11B: Preparedness Add-on
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Installation Complete dialogue box appears, click Close.
11B.4 Preparedness Add-on in Depiction
When you start a new depiction after installing the
Preparedness Add-on, you will see new options in
the Quickstart data sources (as discussed above, to
highlighted at left).
When you add new elements, you will see the
Preparedness Add-on elements below the Depiction
Default elements (shown collapsed at left).
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Section 11B: Preparedness Add-on
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Appendix A: Depiction Glossary
The following terms are used in Depiction and this manual.
Add-on Elements
Coverage dataset
Default element
Elements included with any of the Depiction Add-on packs (i.e.,
Depiction Preparedness Add-on).
A text box which has no interaction or behavior but is displayed in a
depiction. Useful for explanations about elements within a depiction, or
to add explanatory comments on the depiction map itself.
What an element can do by itself or in relationship with (or interacting
with) other elements.
A file or folder used by Depiction to store information obtained from the
internet for later offline use or more rapid processing of data (e.g.,
background tile images, road network and elevation tiles, and geocoded
The background display in Depiction.
A single set of information (i.e., elevation, road network, imagery) that
covers an area, as opposed to a single point or line.
Comma Separated Value. Common data exchange format for database
and spreadsheet programs. Data for each unique point is contained in a
single line of ASCII text, with sub-elements separated by a comma (,).
CSV data files are not program specific regardless of the program used
to create the data. For details on how to use CSV files with Depiction,
see the Add Content section.
The standard Depiction elements included in every copy of Depiction.
The list of user created elements that were available at the time a
depiction was created. If the depiction is saved and shared these
elements will be included with the file.
An area, set of elements, and set of Revealers™ used to display and
analyze information. A file created with Depiction.
The core building block of a depiction. The smallest distinguishable part
of a depiction. Each element is made up of properties and behaviors.
Everything in Depiction is an element except for background imagery
tiles and annotations.
The common properties and behaviors that define a group of elements.
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Hover text
Pairing line
Point data
Extracting one or more element(s) from a group using a particular
property value. Depiction allows filtering using the text in element hover
The process of aligning an imported image to the map or imagery
already in a depiction file.
The process of converting an address (or landmark name, city, or state)
into latitude/longitude coordinates that Depiction can locate/place on the
map. Requires an internet connection.
Geography Markup Language. An XML file with a geography
component. Used to share GIS data with other applications. GML files
are best suited to export/import and share line and polygon data.
Data file of latitude/longitude data created by GPS devices used to
export raw GPS receiver logs. Can be imported into Depiction.
The text displayed when the mouse pointer is over an element.
Alpha-numeric string that refers you to a document or URL (if internet is
available): e.g.,
A specification for how changes in one element affect a set of other
elements that its zone of influence overlaps.
A collection of elements and interactions available when building a
Depiction. Depiction comes with a set of standard elements and
interactions. You may add to them by saving an element or interaction to
your library.
A geographical position in the world.
National Agriculture Imaging Program satellite imagery. Available as a
Quickstart dataset within Depiction (requires internet access).
The line that connects an element to its hovertext box. Clicking on the
pairing line will allow you to access an element information box.
Elements that are single points placed onto the depiction background.
Each point element has additional data that is the user can edit and
(see Shapefile) A shapefile containing of several separate lines.
An attribute field of an element and the value in the field.
Public data made available by Depiction for a given depiction location.
A way to control where to display one or more elements or sets/subsets
of elements.
A set of geographic data files containing information about distinct
elements (location data, type, content, description). Can contain point,
line, and polygon data and descriptions.
Property of an element used to associate it with a group. Depiction
assigns a tag to each element denoting its source. Users can assign
additional tags.
Appendix A: Depiction Glossary
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
User created
Depiction elements created by a user (created from an existing
Depiction element).
Web Feature Service. Requires internet access.
Web Mapping Service. Requires internet access.
Zone of Influence. A geographical extent of an element's impact on or
susceptibility to other elements.
Zenith order. In DISPLAY CONTENT, the order in which overlapping
elements are displayed. The last elements to be enabled (“turned on”)
will display on top of any other overlapping elements at the same point
on the map.
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Appendix B: GIS 101: Understanding Concepts and Terms
When you look at a satellite image of your house on an online map,
get directions from your car’s GPS receiver, or find the nearest
restaurant using your smartphone, you are making use of a
Geographic Information System, or GIS. Essentially, any electronic
map is the product of GIS technology. These everyday uses just
scratch the surface of what is possible for GIS, and are the first few
examples of enormous capabilities that new technology is now
making available to the everyday user. Much like word processors
and desktop publishing software let us all create our own documents,
or Photoshop and other such tools let us all be photo editors, new
software like Depiction is bringing powerful mapping capabilities to
Depiction is designed
to help users get the
job done without necessarily
knowing all this background
information. However, if you
want to gain a deeper
understanding of some of the
concepts behind Depiction,
and GIS in general, read on.
One inherent problem in the movement of complex technologies from the expert to the everyday
is that there are many new, technical concepts that most of us never had to deal with before.
Consider—until the first generally available word processer, how many people knew, or needed
to know what a “font” was, or worry about “page
margins” or what it meant to “justify” a paragraph? In the
The leader in the GIS market is
same way, there are terms, concepts and details that
the Esri ArcGIS product line.
are useful for even the everyday user of GIS technology
Products like these are powerful,
to understand. From latitude and longitude to data
sophisticated tools that can do just about
formats to geo-alignment, understanding a few of these
anything you want them to—if you have
enough expertise and computing
concepts will help the everyday users make better use
resources. Most large companies and
of this emerging technology.
What is GIS?
governments with needs for
sophisticated, precise, engineering-level
maps use ArcInfo or other similar
products, usually with a staff of technical
experts running the program and
providing the services to the
organization. Depiction is not one of
these tools, and does not have all of the
same capabilities. It is a great way to
make use of the information generated
by these systems, and to rapidly do
many of the routine tasks that otherwise
A geographic information system, or geospatial
information system, or GIS, is a system that captures,
stores, analyzes, manages and presents information
with reference to a location. For example, when you
search for nearby restaurants using an online map
system like Google Maps, Mapquest or Bing Maps, you
will be presented with many restaurant locations, each
of which is associated with data about that location—the
name of the restaurant, the phone number, what type of
food it serves, user reviews and more. You are using a GIS—in this case, one that someone
else has built and linked with data.
More powerful tools enable GIS users to do far more complicated tasks—simulate floods, map
earthquake intensity, manage disaster response, analyze population trends, search for natural
resources, fight wars and more.
Appendix B: GIS 101: Understanding Concepts and Terms
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
A GIS is accessed using GIS software—this can be web-based software, like the websites
mentioned above, or desktop software like Depiction or Microsoft Map Point. Some software
simply lets you view data that others have put together, like Google Maps or the Depiction
Reader. Others, like Depiction or ArcGIS let you get in and work with location-based
information, and even create your own.
Latitude and Longitude
Latitude and Longitude (sometimes shortened to ‘lat/long’) are
geographic coordinates that can describe any point on earth. This
is similar, on a very basic level, to coordinate systems used in
games played on a grid, like Chess or Battleship. You have one
number, letter or “coordinate” that tells you where you are
horizontally (left-right in the games, or east-west on a map—
longitude), and one that tells you where you are vertically (updown in the game, north-south on a map--latitude). In Battleship, a
coordinate might Be D3—four blocks over and three down. In
latitude and longitude, it might look something like 38.8895563, 77.0352546. To learn more about latitude and longitude, the
United States National Atlas has an excellent overview.
Using latitude and
longitude is the most
accurate way to put data into
Depiction. You can always
see the latitude and longitude
within Depiction in the display
on the lower left.
You can also copy any
location’s coordinates to the
clipboard from the right-click
Geographic Coordinate Formats
There is one very important difference between
geographic coordinates and grid coordinates—the
earth is not a square! This means that, instead of a
series of regular letters or numbers that identify
identical grid squares, latitude and longitude are
counted as degrees, much as one measures angles
or a circle. Those degrees can then be further broken
up into minutes and seconds. There are 60 minutes
in a degree and, naturally, 60 seconds in a minute.
You will frequently see latitude and longitude written
as 38°53'22" N, 77°02'07" W. As in the previous
section, it can also be written as a decimal, instead of
using minutes and seconds. Other formats may use
some combination of degrees, minutes and decimal
notation, such as 38° 53.37338, -77° 02.11528.
Depiction understands most latitude
and longitude formats. You can
switch between several different ways of
noting latitude and longitude, or the UTM
system, from the Settings menu under
The ‘degree’ symbol can sometimes cause
problems when using Depiction with other
programs, so it is recommended to use
decimal notation when possible.
Latitude is measured from the Equator to the North and South Poles—it is at 90 degrees from
each pole, so latitude goes from 90° North to 0°, to 90° South (often, you will see this written as
-90). Longitude is more typically like a circle, with 360 degrees. In this case it goes from 0°
(called the Prime Meridian), to 180° on the opposite side of the earth, and then back down to 0°.
In the Western Hemisphere, which contains North and South America, a longitude will be with a
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Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
‘W’ (77°02'07" W), or as a negative number (-77.0352546). In the Eastern Hemisphere, it will
have an ‘E’ or be a positive number. Again, the United States National Atlas goes into more
There are other geographic coordinate systems, in addition to latitude and longitude. One
common system is called the Universal Transverse Mercator system or UTM. This was
developed by the US military in the 1940’s and divides the world up into squares of 1 meter by 1
meter. A coordinate in this system will look something like “18S 323482 4306489”. This means
that within grid 18S, the point is 323,482 meters east, and 4,306,489 meters north of the
equator. Idaho State University has a helpful page that can help you learn more about the UTM
Of course, most of the information about location that we
use in our day-to-day life does not use latitude and
longitude, or any other geographic coordinates. Instead,
we usually use something like street addresses. The
process of converting geographic information of one type,
such as address or zip code, into geographic coordinates
is called geocoding, and can be done by various software
services in different ways.
Often, this is done by taking an address, matching it to a
street and block, and then calculating the position of the
address based on the building number. For example, 850
Main Street would be placed halfway between the ends of
the 800 block of Main Street, while 825 Main Street would
be placed one-quarter of the way down it. This is often not
actually the case—not all address systems are set up the
same way, and frequently street addresses are not where
one would expect them to be based on their number. And
of course, street addresses geocoded in this manner are
shown as a point along a street, whereas a building can
take up a large amount of room and is not located directly
on top of a street.
Addresses can be geocoded
using Depiction either one at
a time, using the Add by Location
feature, or from a spreadsheet (in
comma separated value format, or
CSV) by using the Add by File
feature. Depiction uses a service
provided by USC for most of its
geocoding, which means you must
be online to geocode in this manner.
Tip: After geocoding a set of
addresses in Depiction, you can
export the new elements as a CSV.
This will include the coordinates of
your locations, which Depiction can
read much faster, and without the
Internet, in case you need to bring
the data into Depiction again. This is
particularly helpful if you have
manually adjusted any of the
locations, which is recommended.
Other problems can arise when addresses are ambiguous, such as 850 W Main Street versus
850 Main Street, or when they are newly established and have not been added to the geocoding
database. Additionally, multiple towns may have the same street name, and some cities even
have multiple versions of the exact same street address.
Appendix B: GIS 101: Understanding Concepts and Terms
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Because of all this, care must be taken both with the information used to geocode an address—
using the postal code is the best way to ensure more accurate geocoding—and with the use of
the information after geocoding. Comparing the results with
Geo-aligning an image in
maps, imagery and/or eyewitness reports is recommended.
Geo-aligning & Georeferencing
Geocoding is one way to “georeference” an object, usually a
building—that is, to define its location using geographic
coordinates. Other types of information, such as an aerial
photograph, or a static map image, require different kinds of
georeferencing. Different software packages can do this in
many different ways, but the simplest way to do this is by
geo-aligning an image, manually stretching it and rotating it
until it is aligned with other maps, imagery or data that is
already georeferenced. Depending on the scale and
accuracy of your maps and imagery, this can be done with
varying degrees of accuracy.
Zooming In and Out
When you zoom in using an online map, you are able to
see more detail in the maps and imagery. How does that
Most online mapping programs have separate map
images for each time you zoom in, called a “zoom level.”
Often, each zoom level is made up of smaller images,
called “tiles.” This can be true whether using aerial
imagery, street maps, topographic maps or some
combination. Google describes their zoom level system
this way:
Maps on Google Maps have an integer "zoom level"
which defines the resolution of the current view. Zoom
levels between 0 (the lowest zoom level, in which the
entire world can be seen on one map) to 21+ (down to
individual buildings) are possible within the default
roadmap maps view.
Google Maps sets zoom level 0 to encompass the entire
earth. Each succeeding zoom level doubles the
precision in both horizontal and vertical dimensions…
Appendix B: GIS 101: Understanding Concepts and Terms
Depiction is fairly easy, and
can be done rapidly depending on how
accurate you are looking to be. Add an
image file from the Add menu, and
then find the image to be geoaligned in
the Manage Content menu. Clicking
“geo-align” will let you stretch, scale
and rotate your image to align it to
your background, and to change the
transparency so you can easily
compare them.
Depiction’s background
sources also have various zoom
levels. If you are connected to the
Internet, and zoom in enough, you will
see new tiles come in and give you a
higher resolution.
However, the Quickstart data sources
you are presented with when creating a
new depiction, including OpenStreetMap,
NAIP aerial photography, topographic
maps and others, do not work this way.
If you choose one of these sources,
Depiction will download an image at the
zoom level of your entire depiction. If you
zoom in on this image the resolution will
not improve. It is a single, static image.
For that reason, you may not want to
choose these Quickstart sources, but
instead use them as background tiling
sources which can be set in the bottom
left display, above the coordinates.
These images are “cached” meaning that
they are saved to your hard drive, and so
are available if you are not connected to
the Internet. However, they are not
included in a depiction file. If you plan to
put a .dpn file on a computer without
Internet access, you will want to include
a static Quickstart image.
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Note: not all zoom levels appear at all locations on the earth. Zoom levels vary depending on
location, as data in some parts of the globe is more granular than in other locations.
Other map providers and GIS programs, including Depiction, use a similar system. Typically the
raster data is stored as multiple different images, called tiles, that line up to form a seamless
picture. This is called “tiling,” and databases that provide images in this way are called “tiling
sources.” Programs and websites that let you zoom in and out to see different levels of imagery,
such as Google Maps or Depiction, make use of tiling sources.
Map Projections
As mentioned above, and as you are probably already aware, the
world is neither flat nor square—this causes complications when
rendering the world as a two-dimensional map, whether on paper or
on a screen. This is done by “projecting” the three-dimensional
globe onto a two dimensional surface. The different methods of
doing this are called “projections”. There are many different
projections, none of which is perfect and each of which introduces
different distortions to the map. Because of this, different
projections are used for different map scales and map purposes.
The US Geological Survey provides this page which details the key
characteristics and uses of different map projections.
This adds a complication to the use of geospatial data. Different
map data will be in different projections, depending on what
purpose the data was originally created for. Keeping projections
straight is important when using traditional GIS software.
Most online mapping services use a version of the Mercator
projection, because it displays lines of latitude and longitude as
straight lines at right angles. This means that there is no
navigational distortion—i.e., the direction of a straight line between
two points on the map will be accurate, which is not always true of
other projections. However, areas and shapes of large areas will be
distorted, and will be especially distorted near the poles.
Like most online
maps, Depiction
uses a version of the
Mercator projection.
However, Depiction users
typically do not need to
know this, as the software
will automatically convert
GIS data into this
projection, assuming the
original projection is known.
Occasionally, GIS data will
be made available without
projection information, in
which case Depiction will
attempt to import it anyway,
though it may not be
Tip: To see the effects of
the Mercator projection,
watch the scale as you
move north to south—it will
change, because of the
way the three-dimensional
earth is being displayed in
two dimensions.
Data Formats
There are three basic types of GIS data: vector data (points, lines
and polygons), raster data (images) and grid data (typically used for
elevation). Wikipedia has a thorough list of different kinds of GIS
data formats.
GIS data can be stored either in a file or in a database. Different
GIS software programs can view, import and/or edit different data
formats depending on their capabilities. Files are usually stored on
Depiction can view
and edit many
different kinds of data in
many different formats,
focusing on data formats
that are most common and
most useful to non-experts.
Appendix B: GIS 101: Understanding Concepts and Terms
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
a hard drive, either on the same computer as the software program, or on a drive accessible
over a network. Files can also be uploaded to some online GIS programs such as
Geocommons. Most online mapping programs, and many desktop mapping programs, pull
information directly from a database.
Vector Data
GIS data that represents geographical features as geometric shapes are vector data. Vector
data includes points, lines and polygons.
Points use a single coordinate to mark a single location with no length or width, and, depending
on the map, can mark things like buildings, points of interest, reports, and much more. This is
the simplest type of GIS data, and is typically represented by an icon. Lines and polygons are
similar two-dimensional features, except that a line goes from point to point and can measure
length, while a polygon is closed and can measure area and perimeter.
Note the three types of vector
data in these two images—a
closed polygon representing a
boundary (white line), a line
representing a river (blue line)
and three points representing
hospitals, designated by icons.
Though the zoom level has
changed, the vector imagery
retains the same resolution, with
no need for tiling,
because it is based on geographic coordinates.
The most common form of GIS vector data is the
shapefile, a file format developed by Esri in the 1990s. A
shapefile is actually a file package, including at least
three files with the same name, but different extensions—
for example, schools.shp, schools.shx and schools.dbf.
Many shapefiles include a .prj (projection) file as well,
and there are others.
Much of the data useful to Depiction
users is found in shapefile format,
usually on the websites of state or local
government. To add a shapefile to
Depiction, just drag and drop the .shp file
into the program, or add it using the Add
Shapefiles include both the geographic data for shapes, lines
and/or polygons, and attributes or properties of that data. For
example, a shapefile that contained the boundary of a county
could also include the name of the county, the name of the state
in which the county was located, the county seat, the population
of the county and other information. This information can be used
or displayed in different ways using different GIS tools, and can
also be displayed in a spreadsheet or database format.
Appendix B: GIS 101: Understanding Concepts and Terms
Vector data
property fields can be
used for many things in Depiction:
displayed as labels or hovertext,
used in filtering to display certain
elements, behaviors, or used to
colorize based on a numerical
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Shapefiles are typically only created by GIS experts using relatively complex software, such as
those described in the “What is GIS” section. .
Depiction can load many KML
Vector data is also frequently stored in KML or KMZ
and KMZ files, but not all of them—
files, which use a format originally developed by a
on what kind of data they
company that is now a part of Google, and is designed
include. Most of these files that include
for display in Google Maps or Google Earth. KML and
vector data can be read by Depiction.
KMZ files do not usually contain the same property
information as shapefiles and other vector formats do,
though they usually do contain a description label designed for display in a Google program.
Additionally, not all these files include vector data—some point to custom data feeds, or raster
images. KML and KMZ files are typically created using Google Earth or a more complex GIS
GML is a format that combines some of the ease-of-use of KML
files with the data capabilities of shapefiles. It is an Open
Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standard, meaning that it is an
openly available format that can be used by many different
programs. GML uses a way of storing data called XML, and can be
edited directly using a text editing program.
Depiction can both
import and export
data in GML format.
Depiction can load
Many GPS devices can generate vector data in a format called
data from GPX files.
GPX. This consists of many data points called “waypoints” that can
either be taken together as a line, used as a “track” or “route” in
GPS devices and GPS software, or viewed separately as points. GPX tracks can also include
elevation data. GPS devices can also generate files that only contain waypoints—this point data
is stored in a very flexible format called CSV.
CSV stands for Comma Separated Value, and many
kinds of software, in particular Microsoft Excel and other
spreadsheet and database programs, can produce data
in this format, which is used for much more than GIS
data. CSV is a relatively simple format—columns are
separated by commas and rows are separated by line
breaks. It typically only stores point data—each row has
geographic coordinates stored in one or two columns
that associate the rest of the data with that location.
There are various ways to bring in vector data from a
database. One of the most useful of these is the Web
Feature Service (WFS), which, like GML, is an OGC
standard. Like GML or shapefiles, it brings in shapes,
lines and polygons, as well as the attributes or
properties associated with them. A WFS can provide
access to multiple layers of vector data.
Depiction can both import
and export data in CSV format,
which lets it interface easily with many
other programs. It can also add nonGIS data from CSV files, if an address
is present, using the CSV Import
Wizard. See “Geocoding” above for
more information.
Depiction takes much of the
complexity out of bringing in data
from databases. Quickstart data is publicly
available information from databases
around the web that can be brought into
Depiction automatically. Depiction also can
access WFS sources using the Web
Services portion of the Add menu.
Appendix B: GIS 101: Understanding Concepts and Terms
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
Different mapping services and GIS programs bring in vector data from databases in different
ways. Often, GIS experts must do their own custom programming in order to get specific data
out of a database in specific ways. Much of the time spent using traditional GIS tools is a part of
this process.
Raster Data and Images
Raster data is any data that is represented by pixels, or grid squares. Each square has a color
value—taken all together, these squares make up an image. Depending on the resolution of the
image, the image will look better at different zoom levels, as described above.
Raster images can be aerial or satellite photographs or they can be rasterized versions of vector
data, and sometimes it is data originally generated in a grid/pixel format with different colors
representing different information. Photographs may be “true color” photographs, or the colors
may represent other information, such as infrared or ultraviolet wavelengths of light which would
otherwise be invisible, called “false color”.
Raster data can be stored in any image format, many of which
may be familiar to you—JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP and TIFF are
common formats. Many of these formats and others can have
data files associated with them that ties them to a specific
location—see “Geo-aligning and Georeferencing” above for
more details. “World files” are one example. Other specialized
image formats, such as GeoTIFF and MrSID, have this
georeferencing built right into them.
This OpenStreetMap raster image of
Washington, DC is generated from
vector information in a database.
Depiction can import the
standard image file
types: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
and TIFF. Users can then
geoalign those images based
on other available maps and
data available.
This National Land Cover Database uses
different colors to represent the type of
land beneath each pixel.
Appendix B: GIS 101: Understanding Concepts and Terms
NASA Landsat 7
imagery and National
Land Cover Database
are all available as
Quickstart data in
Depiction. Vector data for
OpenStreetMap roads is
also available, and both
the Landsat and
OpenStreetMap raster
imagery are available as
tiling sources, in addition
to maps and imagery
from the USGS and the
National Agricultural
Imagery Program.
Images like the NASA
tsunami imagery can be
easily geoaligned.
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
This NASA Landsat photograph of
Washington, DC is true color.
This NASA photograph of tsunami
damage in Japan is “false color”, to help
show the water and land more distinctly.
Like vector data, there are many ways of accessing raster data that may be stored in a
database. When zooming in and out between different levels, this is often the best way to
access raster data, because different zoom levels use different images with different
resolutions, as described in “Zooming in and Out” above.
Other times, only one particular resolution is desired or available. This is often the case with
satellite images of specific events, such as the tsunami image above, or of raster data that
specifically ties pixel color to other information, such as the land cover image above. This
information may come from a database, or from a file as described above.
One way to bring in raster data from a database is by
using a Web Mapping Service (WMS), which, like WFS
and GML, is an OGC standard. A WMS can provide
access to multiple layers of raster data.
Elevation/Grid Data
More than just color can be put in a grid or even
raster format. Elevation data, in particular, is
frequently stored in a grid format, where each
square or pixel is associated with a measurement
of height above sea level. Different GIS programs
use this data to create images of terrain, or to run
various calculations or simulations.
Depiction can also access WMS
sources, like WFS, from the Web
Services section of the Add Content
Depiction uses elevation data for
various simulations, including flood,
runoff and line-of-sight modeling, and also
generates a two-dimensional image of terrain
using the data. The higher resolution the
elevation data put into Depiction is, the higher
quality all these things will be. However, highresolution elevation data can take up a great
deal of system memory.
To the right, you can see a raster image
generated by Depiction using elevation data. The
data itself consists of measurements associated
with grid locations, and the image provides a
visual of that data. On the far right is a flood
simulation created by Depiction using that same
underlying elevation data.
The data points represent measurements taken by satellites using radar at a set distance apart,
depending on the resolution of the data. Resolutions are typically measured in arc-seconds or
meters. Arc-seconds are one sixtieth of an arc-minute, which are, in turn, one-sixtieth of a
degree—which is, as you may recall, how latitude and longitude are measured. Common
resolutions include:
3-arc second or 90-meter resolution: NASA has produced a worldwide dataset of
elevation data called SRTM at this resolution. Google Earth uses SRTM data to
generate its three-dimensional views.
Appendix B: GIS 101: Understanding Concepts and Terms
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
1-arc second or 30-meter resolution: The USGS
The NED 30-meter data is
National Elevation Dataset includes this
available in Depiction as a
resolution for the entire United States. A joint
Quickstart data source.
project of NASA and the Japanese government
has produced the ASTER-GDEM dataset, a
worldwide dataset, though it is not of the same quality as the USGS data.
 1/3-arc second, or 10-meter resolution: The National Elevation Dataset has this
resolution of data for most of the continental United States, Hawaii and parts of Alaska.
 1/9-arc second, or 3-meter resolution: This very high resolution data is not widely
available, though the National Elevation Dataset does include some data at this
1/9-arc second data is typically obtained using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), a form of
radar that uses lasers. This process can create even higher resolution datasets that is
sometimes available on the Internet.
Elevation data is stored in a variety of file formats.
Some of the most common include GeoTIFF (also
used for imagery), Digital Elevation Model (DEM)
file packages and ADF file packages. Like
shapefiles, these files are usually file packages,
rather than a single self-contained file.
Each of the sources listed above
makes their elevation data
available in at least one of the common
formats listed here, each of which
Depiction can load, in addition to the
Quickstart data available automatically.
The world is complex, which means that mapping is a complex topic. Digital mapping and GIS
are even more complex, but the advance of software technology is making these ideas steadily
more and more accessible to regular people, even without understanding the sophisticated
methods underlying the programs they use. However, understanding some of the basic
concepts of mapping and GIS, such as geographic coordinates, map projections and data
formats, can help anyone make better use of available tools.
Appendix B: GIS 101: Understanding Concepts and Terms
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
GIS 101:Bibliography
CGIAR - Consortium for Spatial Information. “SRTM 90m DEM Digital Elevation Database”, August 19,
Depiction, Inc. Depiction Users Manual, n.d.
Dramowicz, Ela. “Three Standard Geocoding Methods - Directions Magazine.” Directions Magazine,
October 24, 2004.
Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Center. “ASTER GDEM”, June 29, 2009.
Environmental Systems Research, Inc. “ArcGIS Desktop Help 9.2 - What is raster data?”, September 22,
———. “ESRI Shapefile Technical Discussion”, July 1998.
Foster, Dan. “GPX: the GPS Exchange Format”, n.d.
“GIS file formats - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, March 29, 2011.
Google. “Google Static Maps API - Google Code”, n.d.
———. “KML - Google Code”, n.d.
Ohio State University. “What Is CSV? / Converting Spreadsheet Data To CSV Format”, April 8, 2004.
Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. “OGC® Standards and Specifications | OGC(R)”, March 21, 2011.
Riesterer, Jim. “Universal Transverse Mercator System”, n.d.
United States Geological Survey. “Map Projections Poster”, August 3, 2006.
———. “Seamless Data Warehouse”, n.d.
US Department of the Interior. “Latitude and Longitude.” National Atlas of the United States of America,
January 26, 2011.
Appendix B: GIS 101: Understanding Concepts and Terms
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
About Depiction, 69
add a new property, 38
Add Address, 22
Add File, 22
Add Image, 25, 26
Add Mouse, 21
Add-on Elements, 106
Add-on Information, 100
affected elements, 5, 6, 61, 62
Annotation, 71, 106
Annotations, 71, 106
Antenna, 89
Antennae, 89
Apply, 35
APRS, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100
APRS Add-on Setup Wizard, 97
APRS installer, 97
Author, 18
Automatic Packet Reporting System, 95
Available, 98
Background, 71
Behaviors, 5, 106
Brightness, 37
Bring to view, 33
by tags, 32, 33
by types, 32, 33
Cache, 106
Canvas, 106
Cause, 62, 63
cause element, 5, 6, 61, 63
Center on region center, 76
Change elevation height, 89
change the icon, 37
change the size, 52
Circle element, 72
Close, 33
Closing Depiction and Exiting, 20
Colorize, 35, 41
Comma Separated Value, 43
comma-separated values, 92
common operating picture (COP), 4
Confirm element deletion, 42
Confirm Installation, 99
Coordinate format, 56
Copy interaction, 61
Copy Interaction, 63
Copy location, 75
Count, 52
Coverage dataset, 106
CSV, 23, 33, 43, 44, 45, 85, 106, 115
CSV Import Wizard, 23
Data Formats, 113
database manager, 32
Default element library, 106
Delete, 33
delete an element, 42
Delete revealer, 50, 52
Delete the properties, 40
delete the tag, 35, 39
DEM, 93
Depiction, 106
Depiction elements, 106
Depiction Glossary, 106
Depiction's Live Reports, 46
Description, 18
Difference, 98
Disk Cost, 98
Disk Size, 98
Display Content, 48
Display menu, 48
Do not change colors, 41
Draggable, 76
EID, 81, 82, 84
Element, 107
Element definition, 107
Element Definition Editor, 9, 57, 58, 59, 60, 76
Element Info, 96
Element Information Properties, 66
Element selected, 50
element update, 46
Element with a behavior, 86
Elements, 5, 16, 32, 33, 34, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42,
43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 54
Elements with Behavior, 86
elevation, 66, 87, 88
Elevation/Grid Data, 117
Email, 28, 33, 46
Email Tags, 83
End User License Agreement, 97
EULA, 69
Everyone, 98
Exit, 16
Explosion, 91
Export, 61, 64
Export to CSV, 45
Export to GML, 33, 43, 44, 45
eye icon, 50, 52
File, 17
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
File information, 16, 18
File name, 17, 44, 45, 64, 65
Files of type, 65
Filter Tags, 78
Filtering, 107
Fire Perimeter, 91
Flood, 87, 89
geo-align, 33
Geo-align, 14, 107
Geo-Align, 33
Geo-aligning, 68, 112
Geocode, 107
geocoding, 111
Geographic Coordinate Formats, 110
geographic information system, 109
Geography Markup Language, 33, 43
Geo-locate element, 76
georeference, 112
GeoTIFF, 93
Get high-res imagery, 76
Getting Started, 12
GIS, 109
GML, 33, 43, 44, 107
GPS, 115
GPX, 94, 107
grid data, 113
Hardware Requirements, 10
Help, 68
Help and Options, 13
hide the revealer, 50, 52
Historical Hurricane Tracks, 101
hover text, 32, 40
Hover text, 107
Hyperlink, 107
I Agree, 97
I do Not Agree, 97
Image, 94
Import, 61, 65
Include menus and controls, 19
information bar, 52
Installation Complete, 100
Installation Folder, 98
interaction rules, 16
Interactions, 5, 6, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 107
Just me:, 98
KML, 115
Known issues, 84
label, 40
Latitude and Longitude, 11, 22, 110
Library, 107
License Agreement, 97
Licensing, 69
LiDAR, 118
Line – user drawn, 73
Line of Sight, 88
Line Of Sight, 88
List by, 48
Live reports, 79
Live Reports, 28, 46, 77
Location, 107
lock icon, 52
Look in, 17, 65
Manage Content, 32, 33, 40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46
Map Projections, 113
Measurement System, 55
NAIP, 107
Navigation Widget, 74
need to geo-align, 80
New, 16, 17
New Depiction, 11
No color, 37
Number of copies, 19
Number of digits after the decimal, 55
Open, 5, 16, 17, 65
Open Depiction, 13
OpenAPRS, 95
Opening a New Depiction, 17
Opening an Existing Depiction, 17
Outgoing email server, 46, 83
Pairing line, 107
Password, 46, 83
Permanent hover text, 40
permatext, 76
Plume, 90
Point data, 107
Polyline shapefile, 107
Pop3 account, 78
POP3 Server Address, 77
Preparedness Package, 101
presentation, 48
Print, 19
Print, 16
Printing a Depiction, 19
Printing options, 19
Properties, 35
Property, 108
Proxy Password, 57
Proxy User Name, 57
QuickAdd Toolbar, 71, 73
Quickstart, 12, 30, 66, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 95, 108
radio frequency, 95
raster data, 113, 116
Recent Earthquakes, 102
Rectangle, 8, 72, 89
Refresh rate, 79
Remove colors, 41
Depiction User Manual – Version 1.4.3
remove tag icon, 39
Required, 98
Revealer, 13, 48, 50, 51, 74, 108
Revealer Window, 13
Right-click Menu, 75
Road Barrier, 91
Route network, 90
Route road network, 5
Run, 97
Run update program, 66
Samples, 15
Save, 16, 17, 61, 64
Save As, 16, 17, 64
Save as type, 17, 44, 45
Save Changes, 64
Save in, 17, 44, 45, 64
scale, 75
Select Color Attributes, 37, 42, 71
Select Installation Folder, 99
Select Printer, 19
Select tool, 9, 70
Send as Email, 46
Set hover text, 35
Set properties, 35
Set tags, 35
Setting, 54, 55
Shape, 52
Shape - user drawn, 73
shapefile, 85, 93, 108, 114
Show all, 32, 48
Show always, 48, 49, 59, 60
Show in revealers, 48, 50, 51
situational awareness, 4
Software Requirement, 10
SRTM, 118
Start color, 42
subject line, 80, 81
Tag, 108
Tags, 39, 46
Title, 18
To welcome screen, 16
Tools, 5, 54, 55, 57, 61, 63, 64, 65, 66
Tornado tracks, 101
Transparency, 37, 52
Transperancy, 26
Tutorials, 14, 68
undo, 35, 39
Update, 66, 67
Use authentication, 46, 83
Use SSL, 46
User created elements, 108
User name, 46, 83
vector data, 113
Vector data, 114
view, add, or delete hover texts, 40
view, add, or delete tags, 39
View/Edit:, 33
Volume, 98
Water Barrier, 89
Water over roadway, 91
Water Runoff, 87
Web Feature Service, 115
Web Services, 30
Welcome, 10
Welcome Screen, 10, 16
WFS, 30, 108
what-if possibilities, 4
Wildfire data, 101
WMS, 30
Your revealers, 50, 51
ZOI, 72, 73, 91, 108
zone of influence, 5, 61, 62, 72, 73, 86, 87, 92, 107
zoom, 112
Z-order, 108
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