This section will guide users towards:

  • Navigating IHP-WINS independently to find layers, maps and documents by using different routes, filters and search functions (Section I);
  • Finding and understanding detailed information of layers, maps and documents, such as metadata, responsibility and usage (Section II);
  • Downloading layers and documents from IHP-WINS in different file formats (Section III);
  • Producing maps using already existent layers, as well as saving and printing maps (Section IV).


I.1. Finding layers, maps and documents

Users can use different routes, filters and search functions to find information on WINS, whether it be layers, maps, and documents. To access layers, maps, and documents, use the quick-link Layers/Maps/Documents in the menu bar in the header.

Specific layers, maps, and documents can be found by typing in the Search-field (e.g. a country name or thematic area) in the header.

A list of results of layers, maps, or documents will appear (Figure 1). This list can be sorted according to when the data was shared (Most recent and Less recent), alphabetically (A-Z and Z-A), or by order of importance (Most Popular).

Figure 1: Sorting information (also applies to Maps and Documents)

I.1.a. Filtering layers, maps, or documents

Using the left-side panel, layers, maps, or documents can be filtered according to:

  • Categories: There are nine Categories on IHP-WINS. Seven of them correspond to the IHP’s work areas (Ecohydrology, Groundwater, Water Education, Water for urban and rural settlements, Water quality, Water scarcity, and Water-related disasters). Two categories were added to them: SDGs, and Cross-cutting (for content that falls in neither of the other eight). The number next to the name of the category indicate the number of layers, maps, or documents that fall within this category. Click/unclick on one or more category name(s) to filter the results.
  • Text: In the field, enter text to filter out the results. As you enter text, you will get a list of the layers/maps/documents that match you text search.
  • Keywords: Several keywords can be used to describe a layer. Click/unclick one or more keyword(s) to filter the results. Selecting several keywords will refine your search.
  • Extent: You can filter results y zooming in on your area of interest. The system will retrieve any layer, map, or document containing information on this area (Figure 2)
  • Figure 2: Filtering results with the extent tool)

  • Responsibles: Here are displayed the name of people who uploaded the layers, maps, or documents.
  • Date: This filter allows user to restrict results to a chosen time period. The system will retrieve any content with available information in this time period.
  • Regions: Using this filter, user can enter the name of their continent/region/country/location of interest.
  • Type (only applies to layers): IHP-WINS hosts both vector and raster layers.


I.2. Accessing and understanding information of layers, maps, and documents

Once you have found the layer, map, or document you are interested in, you can click on it to access the content and its related information. Visualization of documents and of layers and maps differ slightly.


I.2.a. For documents

On the page of a document, the resource is either directly displayed on the page or accessible by clicking on the link provided under the tittle (Figure 3).

Figure 3: A document's page

There is also a tab section below the document, where you can first view Info about the document, i.e. its metadata. The metadata consist the ID card of the document, by providing its tittle, abstract, date of publication, source, etc. The metadata also indicates the user who is responsible for uploading and managing this content on WINS, as well as the group to which it is linked.

The tab section also allows you to Share the document through social media or email, use the Ratings system, and leave Comments.


I.2.b. For layers and maps

The page for a specific layer or map offers two distinct spaces (Figure 4):

  • a Viewer which allows you to visualize the georeferenced information;
  • a tab section below the Viewer where, as for any document, you can first view Info about the layer or map (i.e. its metadata). The metadata consist the ID card of the content, by providing its tittle, abstract, date of publication, source, etc. The metadata also indicates the user who is responsible for uploading and managing this content on WINS, as well as the group to which it is linked. The tab section also allows you to Share the layer or map through social media or email, use the Ratings system, and leave Comments.

Figure 4: The Viewer and tab section on a layer's page (also applies for map's page)

The Viewer provides different tools for displaying the layer or map (Figure 5):

  • the Layer switcher, to choose between different base maps, including satellite imagery of roadmap;
  • the Pan map tool, to move the layer or map around by holding down the mouse button and moving the cursor. This is also possible by using the arrows on the left side of the map;
  • the Zoom in/out buttons and Zoom to previous/next extent. Note that you can also zoom in and out by using the Zoom slider on the left side of the map, or by selecting a scale with the Scale bar in the bottom right corner;
  • the Zoom to the max extent tool, to display the entire layer within the Viewer;
  • the Show legend option, to open a pop-up window with the legend.

Figure 5: Viewer tools for displaying the layer/map

The Viewer also provides two tools for analyzing the layer or map. The first one is the Get feature info which retrieves any information available for a dedicated object of a layer or map upon clicking on this element, by opening a pop-up window with the information (Figure 6).

Figure 6: How to get feature info from a layer or a map

The second analysis tool is the Measure one, to evaluate distances or areas (Figure 7).

Figure 7: How to use the Measure tool


I.3. Downloading documents and layers in different file formats

Unless otherwise specified, all information shared publicly on WINS is available for download by users of the platform, whether they have registered an account on the platform or not.


I.3.a. For documents

You can download document simply by clicking the blue button Download document in the right corner of a document’s page. It will automatically download the content to your computer. You can also download a document’s metadata by clicking the Download metadata button (Figure 8).

Figure 8: How to download a document

I.3.b. For layers

It is possible to download data of vector layer in different file formats (KML, GeoJson, Excel, CSV, Zipped Shapefile, etc.) as well as the data of a raster layer (GeoTIFF, ArcGrid, KML, PNG, JPEG, etc.), by using the blue button Download Layer at the top right corner. This allows you to use offline with other GIS software. You can also download a layer’s metadata by clicking the Download metadata button (Figure 9):

Figure 9: How to download a layer


I.4. Using published layers to create maps, saving and printing maps

All the layers shared publicly on WINS are available and can be used by the users to produce maps, whether they have an account or not. Those maps can be saved and printed.


I.4.a. Select one or many layers to produce a map


In order to produce your map, you have to choose the layer(s) which interests you (See Section I.1.). In order to choose the layer(s), two options are available:

  • From a layer’s page. On the right side of the page, click on the blue button Create a Map (Figure 10). This give you access to the Map Viewer, where you can find your selected layer.

Figure 10: Create a map from a layer's page

  • From the Layers menu. Click on the Select button that can be found on the right top corner of each layer’s miniature. You can choose as much layers as you want. The selected layers are located on the top left corner of the page in the Selected Layers tab. You can unselect layers by clicking on the cross on the right side of the layer’s title. Once the selection is done, use the button Create a Map, which is below the selected layers’ list (Figure 11). Thus, you will access to the Map Viewer, in which you will find the selected layers.

Figure 11: Create a map by choosing layers

I.4.b. Producing a map


The map creator contains different elements (Figure 12). We can distinguish the Map Viewer, the Toolbar and the Edition column.

Figure 12: The toolbar, the Viewer and the Edition column in the map creator

The Viewer permit the display of georeferenced information. It provides tools on the top of the map that allow zooming in and zooming out on the layer. Changing scales can also be made thanks to the different levels of scales that are providing on the bottom right corner of the map.

The toolbar provides different possibilities:

  • Map: permit the WINS registered users to save their modifications on a new map that they can publish on WINS with the Publish Map option. A title and an abstract should be provided with the map during it registration. Then, the metadata has to be filled. The contributors can also download their map with the Save Map option;

  • Print: permit to all the users to export the map that they are creating in a PDF file and then print it if necessary. In the Print Preview (Figure 13) the users can also change the PDF file, the resolution, add a title and a comment and choose to make appear the legend or not. With the four arrows on the top left side corner of the map or with the mouse, users can move the map. The scale bar on the bottom right side corner permit change the scale of the information. Once the map is done, click on Print on the bottom right corner or the window;

Figure 13: The Print Preview tool

  • Identify: open the Get Feature Info tool that permit to retrieves any information available for a dedicated object of a layer or map upon clicking on this element, by opening a pop-up window with the information on the selected layer. This tool is also in the layers’ Viewer (See Figure 6 above);

  • Query: Open the attribute table from the selected layer in a new window on the bottom of the page. Thus, the user can read the attribute table and doing researches thanks to the Query tool. This tool permit to make a query by attributes from the attribute table with the different modes (equal to, between X and Y, greater than, lesser than, etc.). Once your query is done, click on the Query button at the bottom of the page. Thanks to that, your attribute table will only be composed by the elements of your query. Different data are present on the table and permit to obtain information on a layer’s element. The attribute table is composed of several pages. If you want to change the page, click on the blue arrow Next page. You can select an element in order to highlight it on the Viewer by clicking on it. To deselect the selection and your request elements, click on Cancel (Figure 14);

Figure 14: Make an attribute request from the map creator

  • Measure, to measure the lengths or the areas.


The Edition Column of the map make a list of the the layer(s) that you have selected to create the map and their corresponding legend. The user can display or not the layer(s) on the map by clicking on the small box next to the title in the Overlays tab. The user can change the base map. Seven choices are at disposition in the Base Maps tab.


The different layers are automatically include in the Edition column. You can change their orders to make appear a layer on the foreground or in the background, depends on your needs. To do that, select a layer by clicking on its title, then make it move with the mouse to the top if you want it to be on the foreground (Figure 15).

Figure 15: Changing the layer's display order

A layer can also be put as a base map. In order to do that, select the layer by clicking on its title, and then make it go to the Base Maps tab. If you want to put back the layer in the layer’s box, select the chosen layer by clicking on its title then make it go to the Overlays tab (Figure 16).

Figure 16: Insert a layer as a base map

Some other tools are available on top of the Edition column (Figure 17):

Figure 17: Tools that permit the map personalization

  • Add new layers with the Add layers tool. With the Add layers option, the user can search a layer. An abstract of each layer is available by clicking on the + logo. To insert a new layer, the user can whether double clicking on the selected one or selecting a layers then clicking on Add layers on the bottom of the column. Once the layers are selected, you can click on Done. You can also filter the layers by clicking on Find layers, then writing some keywords in the search bar (Figures 18 & 19);

Figure 18: Add layers with the Add Layers tool

Figure 19: Add layers with the Find Layers tool

  • Remove Layer, to delete layers that you have selected. Once you have clicked on the layer you want to remove, click on the Remove layer tool (Figure 20);

Figure 20: Remove layers from the map

  • Layers properties, to change the layers display. Click on the layer then on the Layer properties tool. Different tab sections will appeared. On the first one, Aboutyou can change the layer’s title. On the second one, Display you can change the display, the opacity of the layer or its format, by choosing or not to have a transparent layer (Figures 21);

Figure 21: Changing the opacity of a layer

The user can also filter the layer’s information by clicking on the Limit with filters case. At first, choose the element you want to filter in the attribute table. Then, chose a mode from those who are proposed (equal to, between X and Y, less than, greater than, etc.), then chose the limit value that you want. You can click on Query on the header on the top of the page (Figure 22) to help you in the selection of data and to know the codes and values in the attribute table.

Figure 22: Filtering the layers information with the Limit with Filters tool

  • The scale can also be used in order to filter the information by clicking on Limit by scale. Then you will be able to enter a minimal value (Min Scale) and a maximal value (Max scale) in which the layer will not display on the viewer during your changing scales. The layer will only be displayed with the selected values with this tool (Figure 23);

Figure 23: Filtering the layers depending on your changing scales