User Guide



A user's profile contains information about a given user.

Anyone can visit any other user's profile page to see basic information about that user as well as projects they've been a part of.

The profile page works differently when the logged in user visits their own profile. The user visiting their own profile can see projects that have not yet been published in addition to their public projects.

To visit your own profile page, click on your profile picture on the top left side of the screen. On the dropdown, click "profile".

Files allows for a small amount of file storage.

When visiting your own profile page, click on the "files" button located near the middle of your screen.

Once you've uploaded a file using the "upload" button, you can come back to that same page to revisit all your stored files.


The setting page can be accessed by clicking on your profile picture at the top left of your screen and clicking on "settings" from the dropdown.

The settings page will allow you to change the information you entered when you first created an account.


For authenticated users, notifications will appear under the bell icon in the top navbar.

If a user does not have any new notifications, the bell will appear as normal. When there are new notifications to be viewed, an orange circle will appear on the bell with a number inside of it indicating the amount of new notifications.

If one feels as though there are too many old notifications in the dropdown, they may clear them by clicking on "dismiss all".


Refined Range Mapping

The Refined Range Mapping app is designed primarily for species experts to collaboratively create more specific maps of where species are found.


There are three possible statuses one can have on a given map: creator, editor, and visitor. One's status on a given map may be found in the bottom left corner of the screen.

A creator status is reserved for a single user per map. Only the user who originally created the map can have this status. All map functionality is available to map creators.

Editor status is granted when a map's creator shares a map with other users using the share tab (only available to map creators). Editors can suggest edits and may view a map before it is published. Editors cannot directly make changes to a map (they may suggest them, and then the decision is up to the map's creator).

Visitors cannot make any changes--directly or indirectly--to maps. There are no map visitors on private maps. Visitors with accounts may, however, comment on and rate maps.

Map Info

A map creator can change a map's name and update information about the species to which the map pertains.

A map's name is located in the top left corner of the screen. For map creators, this also doubles as an input so that a map's name can be changed at any time.

The rest of a map's information can be filled out or viewed in the information tab: . Similar to the map's name, each of the fields will double as inputs for map creators (including the image).

GBIF Search

GBIF is an international organization that makes biodiversity data publicly available.

Searching for an endangered species in this input will check against GBIF's database to overlay a non-permanent layer of that species' known locations on the map.

Once a GBIF layer has been added to the map, it can be removed in the GBIF tab. The species name will have a delete button next to it which will remove the layer.

Uploading datasets

Uploading a dataset is incredibly easy. Click on the icon, and then on the subsequent rectangular button. Once you've selected a dataset, click on the small upload button to the right of the button you clicked to select a file.

The Refined Range Mapping app accepts four different file types to upload to the map: geoJSON, KML/KMZ, Shapefiles and Raster files.

Note: Raster files do not have the same editing functionality as vector data types.


The history tab is the same to all users on a map, regardless of status. It's function is to display all major events that have happened during a map's existence. This tab tracks all file uploads, additions and edits to a map, so that users can see how it has evolved over time.


Any user with an account can comment on a map they have access to.

Any user can delete their own comments.

Share Map

A map's creator can share their map with any other user. Once user A shares a map with user B, user B becomes an editor on that map.

A map's creator can share their map with as many users as they'd like.


A map can be published or unpublished at any time.

Unpublished maps are private pieces of work that can only be seen by a map's creator and editors.

Published maps can be seen by anyone, even users without accounts. Published maps will appear in searches and on the publicly listed maps in the Refined Range Mapping dashboard.


Maps can be rated by any user with an account. Maps can be rated on a scale of 1-5 (five being the highest rating).

To rate a map, simply click on a star. The number of gold stars indicates the rating out of five you have given that map.

Base Map and Layers

The default base layer of this map is provided by Mapbox. The map is projected using web Mercator EPSG 3857.

Users can also view their map projected onto a satellite view provided by google maps. One can toggle between the mapbox and google base maps on the left-hand side of the screen.

Using the checkboxes on the left-hand side of the screen, users can also view a map without user-added geometric features or without proposed edits.


Drawing tools are available to both creators and editors, though they work differently for both. These tools are found in a single column on the left hand side of the screen below where one can toggle features on and off.

There are four different drawing tools: lines, polygons, rectangles, and points.

To use on of these tools, click on the appropriate icon and begin drawing on the map using your mouse or a trackpad. When finished, you can save the feature, or undo the work you've done since you clicked on the draw button by clicking "delete". When drawing polygons, you can also delete the last point you placed if you made a mistake.

When a map's creator uses any of the drawing tools, any of the changes will be permanent (at least until manually deleted) once the "save" button is clicked.

When an editor draws a feature on a map, it will not automatically become permanent. Instead, it will be displayed in green until the map's creator decides whether to reject or accept the feature.

Edit and Delete

The edit and delete (displayed as a trashcan) tools can be found directly to the right of the draw tools. Either of these tools can be used on any geometric feature displayed on the map.

The editing tools are similar to the drawing tools in that they operate differently for map creators than they do for map editors. For creators, the changes are automatically made permanent once the "save" button is clicked. Editors must wait to have their proposed edits approved by the map's creator.

For polygons and lines, white squares will appear at each vertex once the edit button is clicked. These can be dragged to change the shape.

Points and rectangles can be dragged across the map once the edit button is clicked. Rectangles can be resized as well, though they must still be rectangles.

Proposed Map Edits

Each geometric feature is handled separately in's Refined Range Mapping app. Both editors can create comment threads on specific features. Click on any feature to summon a small comment box unique to that feature.

Changes that make any reductions to the amount of data displayed on the map are displayed in red. Changes that add to it are displayed in green. This applies to both entire features as well as parts of features that have either been reduced or expanded.

A creator reviewing proposed edits can make a decision on whether to reject or accept those edits by clicking on the feature (or section of a feature) in question. Two buttons will appear corresponding to those choices, respectively. Once on of those buttons is clicked, the map's creator will still be asked to confirm their decision.


Any user can create a map and name it whatever they want. As such, has established a certification system.

Users from certain government agencies may certify a given map under a given law. For example, a California Condor range map can be granted a certification under the Endangered Species Act. This certification is the best way to let visitors to a map determine which maps with the same name have been legitimized by a government agency.

If you are a user from one of the approved government agencies, you may certify a map in the information tab.


Badges apply to users. Any badge a given user holds will appear on that users profile as well as some of the content they produce.


Only authenticated users can apply for badges. To apply for a badge, click on your profile picture thumbnail in the top right corner of the screen. A dropdown menu will appear. Click on "Apply for badge".

Species Experts

A species expert badge indicates that a user has an expertise with regards to a specific species.

Users with a Species Expert badge can endorse certain maps from the Refined Range Mapping app. These users can endorse maps regarding species found in the same taxonomic class as the species they have an expertise in.

For example, if I have a Species Expert badge for red wolves, I can endorse any map reflecting the range of any mammal.


Curator status is granted to users by site administrators. In order to become a curator, a user must already have a Species Expert badge. If a user has a species expert badge, the option to apply for a curator badge will appear in the dropdown accessed by clicking on your profile thumbnail on the top right of the screen.

Curators are extremely important to They review badge applications and recommend them to either be accepted or denied. Additionally, they may also recommend that a badge be revoked.