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Public Health Emergency

U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services


FAQ Library: User Manual

 Users Guide
The GeoHEALTH Platform (GHP) allows us to share maps, applications, and other geographic information with our Federal, State, Local, Territorial and Tribal Health Departments as well as with our NGOs for use in Planning, Awareness, Response and Recovery for incidents and events that might affect the citizens of the United States. The GHP puts GIS in the hands of people who might not otherwise have any experience with it. For example, the GHP includes geographic viewers designed for those who are just beginning with GIS. Experienced GIS users can connect to the GHP to access the services for use in their own systems.
Accessing the GeoHEALTH Platform.. 3
Accessing the Web Maps. 3
Accessing the open source data. 3
Accessing the secure data services. 4
Using the social media links. 4
Browsing the Gallery. 4
Sorting what you see. 4
Searching for data and web maps. 5
Search tips. 6
Using the Map. 6
See map details. 7
Edit features. 7
Navigate. 7
Share. 8
Print. 8
View pop-ups. 8
Measure. 8
Access bookmarks. 8
Locate addresses and places. 8
View data over time. 8
Change transparency. 8
Understand map scale. 9
Apply filters. 9
Create filters. 10
Using My Content. 11
Sharing your maps/data. 11
Show tables in the map. 11
Show a table. 11

Accessing the GeoHEALTH Platform

GeoHEALTH ( is ASPR’s secure Geographic Information System (GIS) based, electronic, interactive mapping application. This application incorporates information from numerous sources both internal and external to HHS. It includes other federal and public agencies such as (NOAA, USGS as well as other NGOs) into a single visual environment for enhanced situational awareness, assessment, and management of resources for planning, response to natural, man-made or pandemic events. This system supports functions such as policy analysis, planning, course of action comparison, incident management, and training. It supports the needs of decision makers at various levels within HHS and other federal agencies to provide enhanced situational awareness at a level of granularity needed for all responders including regional emergency coordinators and teams in the field. It is also able to display and provide details on medical care sites, resources and mobilization points and provide analytical tools for planning and preparedness efforts. During a large event such as an improvised explosive device (IED) or hurricane, there is the need to immediately determine medical care sites, resources and mobilization points and modify information as it becomes available and changes. Rapidly changing conditions and the potential need for a large regional or national response requires extensive pre-planning and a highly flexible system as well as the ability for data from the field to seamlessly get to aid in leadership physically removed from the scene to aid in the planning of the event’s response.
GeoHEALTH is able to display many different datasets and information feeds including local data feeds to help all involved work with a more complete aggregation of data, thus allowing for more coordinated decision making and response. With the dynamic nature of the GeoHEALTH Platform, individual users are able to define and incorporate the data layers that they need for a specific event or need. Accounts to access GeoHEALTH are created on an individual basis (no group access accounts will be generated). Each user account will be associated with a group. Layer access is based on the user’s group and ownership/access of the data. Therefore, there will be data layers and functions available to some users and not others. This permits secure Law Enforcement Sensitive data and FOUO data to be viewed in the GeoHEALTH Platform by the appropriate persons. State and Local health departments as well as emergency management agencies, may apply for accounts.

Accessing the Web Maps

An ArcGIS web map is an interactive display of geographic information that you can use to tell stories and answer questions. Maps contain a basemap; layers; an extent; a legend; and navigation tools such as zoom, pan and place finders. Maps can be opened in standard web browsers, mobile devices, and desktop map viewers. They can be shared through links, embedded in websites, and used to create browser-based and device-based apps.

            Accessing the open source data

The following list shows what layers you can add to a map. When you save the map, any items you've added are saved with the map and the map appears in your My Content as long as you have the appropriate account to log into the GHP.
·         ArcGIS Server services such as features, imagery, tiles, and streams (URL)
·         Comma-separated values (CSV) file (.csv)*
·         GPS exchange format file (.gpx)
·         Keyhole markup language (KML) file (.kml, .kmz)
·         Map notes (created in the map viewer)
·         Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Service (WMS) (URL)
·         Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Tile Service (WMTS) (URL)
·         Route (created in the map viewer)
·         Shapefile (.zip)*
·         Text file (.txt)*
·         Tile layer (URL)
*The GHP does have a hosting server to add a zipped shapefile or CSV or text file containing addresses to the map viewer. Additionally, a custom geocode utility service is available to add a CSV or text file containing addresses.

            Accessing the secure data services

In order to access data sources that have any type of restriction you’ll need to apply for a data access account. This is done by going to the GIS portal page (https://gis/ and clicking on the Request Access button. This will allow you to supply your name, department where you work and reason that you feel you should have access to restricted data and what type of data you are looking for. Once we received your request and process it you will receive an e-mail with the resolution to your request. Approvals will come in 2 e-mails one with your account name and the other with the additional information you’ll need. If you were declined to have access an e-mail will be sent with the reason for your denial in case there was a misunderstanding.

            Using the social media links

If you’d like to connect with the GIS staff, Fusion Team, ASPR or HHS the social media links of the main page of the GHP are there for your use. (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Flicker as well as links to the, GIS Portal, ASPR Portal). There is even a link to contact the GeoHEALTH staff if needed.

Browsing the Gallery

The gallery is a place to browse featured maps, web mapping applications, and data layers.

            Sorting what you see

When you enter the Gallery you will have the ability to view all of the items shared with the public. From here you are able to just browse the items as they are listed or sort them in many ways. The Sort By function in the top right corner of the list allows you to sort all of the items displayed by, Most Recent, Most Viewed, Highest Rated, Title or Owner. If you want to only browse a certain type of items such as web maps or layers then you’ll need to select the appropriate option on the left side of the display and then your list will only contain the matching data types. Most of our data is stored in either Web Maps or Layers.

                Searching for data and web maps

The site has a powerful search function that allows you to quickly find specific maps or data you need for your work. The search results help you determine the usefulness of each item and find related items. When performing a search the best match is always returned. You can search a specific field by typing the field name followed by a colon and the term you are looking for (for a term with multiple words, use double quotation marks, such as county:"washoe county").  Boolean operators allow terms to be combined through logic operators. The website supports AND, plus sign (+), OR, NOT, and minus sign (-) as Boolean operators. Boolean operators must be ALL CAPS.
Boolean operator
The AND operator is the default conjunction. This means that if there is no Boolean operator between two terms, the AND operator is used. The AND operator performs matching where both terms exist in either the given field or the default fields. This is equivalent to an intersection using sets.
The OR operator links two terms and finds a match if either of the terms exists. This is equivalent to a union using sets.
To search for an item that contains either the term recent fires or just fires, use the query"recent fires" OR fires.
The plus sign, or the required operator, requires that the term after the symbol exist somewhere in the given field or the default fields.
To search for items that must contain fires and may contain recent, use the query recent +fires.
The NOT operator excludes items that contain the term after NOT. This is equivalent to a difference using sets. To search for documents that contain California but not imagery, use the query California NOT Imagery. The NOT operator cannot be used with just one term.
The minus sign, or the prohibit operator, excludes items that contain the term after the symbol.
To search for documents that contain California but not imagery, use the query California -Imagery.

Search tips

·         When doing a field search, use a colon (:) after the field name, for example, owner:HHS.
·         Use double quotation marks to surround terms with multiple words; for example, "map services" returns items with the term map services in a field, whereas map services returns items with either maps or services in a field.
·         You can build a search string by linking fields together in your search string with the AND operator, for example, owner:HHS AND tags:streets.
·         Use uppercase for search operators: AND, OR, and so forth.
·         Sort your results with the available filters for most popular, highest rated, added today, and so forth.
·         In addition to searching for content through keywords, you can also use the gallery to browse featured items.
·         If you want to search for layers with a specific extent to use in a map, use the map viewer. Open a new or existing map, set the extent you want, click the Add button, and click Search for Layers.

Using the Map

Click Map to open the map viewer that you can use to build interactive web maps and share them with others in your organization. You choose a basemap, an area of interest, and add information layers. These layers can be GHP services, KML documents, or the web. You can also create features and add features from text files, GPX files, and shapefiles. You can change symbols and configure pop-up windows. The GHP includes many preconfigured map viewer applications for viewing and saving (with the correct account type) web maps. Think of the map viewer as a canvas in which you combine GIS information and services to make your own map. You can save your maps, share them with others, embed them in apps.

See map details

Details includes options to see information about the map, the map contents, and a legend.
The About button   displays descriptive information about the map such as a summary, who owns the map, the last modification date, user ratings, and a link to more detailed information.
The Contents button   displays the list of the layers in the map. Click the name of the group layer to see the individual layers within the group. Uncheck the box to the right of the name to turn off (not display) the layer. Check the box to the left of the name to turn on (display) the layer. Click the arrow to the right of the layer name and click Show Item Details or Description to open a page with detailed information about the layer.
The Legend button   displays a legend for layers in the map. You will not see a legend for basemaps, layers that are not accessible externally, or on layers where the map author has hidden the legend.

Edit features

If you see an Edit button, you are viewing a map with an editable feature layer. Use the option to add, change, or remove the features in the map.


To zoom, use the Zoom in button   or the Zoom out button  , the mouse and scroll wheel, or the arrow keys on the keyboard. To zoom in, you can also press and hold the Shift key and drag a box on the map.
To zoom the map to its initial extent, click the Default extent button  . You can also browse the map to a predefined extent through a bookmark.
To pan, use your mouse and scroll wheel or the arrow keys on your keyboard.
To find your current location, click the Find my location button  . You may need to authorize the site to access your location information. Your results may vary based on your connection type, Internet Service Provider, physical location, network, and browser.
To open an overview map, click the arrow   in the upper right corner.
If you have a touch screen, you can take advantage of multitouch gestures by dragging two fingers to pan and zoom the map. The default behavior is to pan. To zoom, press and hold the Shift key to zoom in or out. Dragging two fingers toward you zooms in; dragging two fingers away zooms out.


Use the Share button to share a map through a link or by embedding it in a website or web mapping application.


Use Print to create a printer-friendly image of your map, this requires a GHP account. Layers that are not accessible externally, KML, and time-aware layers do not appear on a printed map. If you print a map using your browser print button, other layers and logos may be missing as well.

View pop-ups

Pop-ups bring to life the attributes associated with each feature layer in the map such as hiking trails, land values, or unemployment rates. They display images and charts and can link to external web pages.


Use Measure to measure the area of a polygon, the length of a line, or view the coordinates of a point.

Access bookmarks

Use Bookmarks to access a set of predefined locations on the map. If you are a map author, you can create bookmarks.

Locate addresses and places

Use the geocoder at the top of the map viewer to find locations on the map such as addresses, places, intersections, cities, points of interest, monuments, and geographic entities. The geocoder shows suggestions as you type if your portal is using the default World Geocoding Service hosted in ArcGIS Online. Your map is automatically zoomed to the closest match and a pop-up appears at the location. If the location isn't what you wanted, click the Not what you wanted? link in the window and select a different location from the list.

View data over time

If you see a time slider at the bottom of the map, you can play the map to see how the information changes over time.

Change transparency

Changing the transparency, or opacity, of a layer in a map allows you to see more or less of the underlying layers. The transparency of any layer can be adjusted from 0 percent to 100 percent. The more transparent a layer is, the less visible it appears on the map and the more visible the other layers appear. By default, the basemap is 0 percent transparent (which means it is fully visible, or opaque). If you want to focus attention on the data layers in your map, you might consider making your basemap more transparent. Similarly, you could highlight a specific layer by making it fully visible and adding transparency to the other layers.
1.       Open the map in the map viewer.
2.       Click Details and click Contents.
3.       Browse to the layer whose transparency you want to adjust.
4.       Click the arrow to the right of the layer name.
5.       Click Transparency and move the Transparency slider to the left (less transparent) or right (more transparent).
6.       If you own the map, click Save to save the transparency setting to the map.

Understand map scale

The scale bar shows the scale of the map which is set by the basemap. If you zoom beyond the visibility of the basemap, the map may not draw correctly. United States standard sets the units to miles, feet, and inches.

Apply filters

A filter presents a focused view of a feature layer in a map. By limiting the visibility of features in a layer, you can reveal what's important. For example, you might create a filter on a hospital layer so only large facilities appear on the map. This filtered view can aid in patient movement.
As a map author, you can also set up interactive filters that help your audience explore data themselves. By providing prompts and hints about the available values in the layer, you can guide your audience toward other filters they might want to apply on the features. For example, you might set up an interactive filter on a schools layer so your audience can choose to see elementary, middle, or secondary schools. By default, the layer shows elementary schools. By reading the prompt and hint you've supplied, your audience knows they can change the value to middle or secondary to see different types of schools on the map.

Create filters

You can create filters on hosted feature layers, ArcGIS Server feature service layers, and ArcGIS Server map service layers that have associated attribute data; you cannot create filters on map notes or features imported from a file. Only the features that meet the expression criteria will be visible in the map.
1.       Open the map in the map viewer.
2.       Click the Contents button in the Details pane.
3.       Click the arrow to the right of the layer name and click Filter. The Filter window appears with a Create tab.
4.       Create your definition expression.
·         Expressions use the general form of <Field_name> <Operator> <Value, Field or Unique>.
·         You can create one expression, multiple expressions, or one or more sets of expressions. A set is a grouping of expressions, for example, Type is elementary and Enrollment is at least 400.
·         If you have more than one expression, choose to display features in the layer that match All or Any of your expressions. All requires that each of the criteria you have specified must be true. Any means that only one of your expressions must be true for the features to display.
·         For the field part of the expression, click the Field drop-down arrow and choose the field you want to query against from the list.
·         For the operator part of the expression, click the Operators drop-down arrow and choose an operator from the list.
·         If you want to filter based on a specific value, choose Value and enter a value in the field. The input box varies depending on the field type.
·         If you want to compare the value in one field versus the value in another field, choose Field, click the drop-down arrow, and choose the field for your expression.
·         If you want to filter based on a specific value in the field you've selected for your expression, choose Unique and select a unique value from your field.
·         If you created an expression based on values or a unique value, you can set up an interactive expression. You cannot ask for values on expressions based on a field. Click the box to the left of Ask for values. Enter information about the value in the Prompt field and a hint in the Hint field.
·         To delete an expression in the filter, click the Delete button   to the right of your expression.
5.       Click Apply Filter to enable the filtered view on the map.
To undo the filter and show all the features in the layer, click Remove Filter.

Using My Content

Use the My Content section to look for shared/saved maps and data that were loaded or saved by an account that has application access. To add and share data and web maps, files and content from the web you will need application access. All your items are accessible through your personal My Content page once they have been saved. This area is not able to be seen by other users unless the item is shared by the owner.

Sharing your maps/data

If you decide that the data you have in the My Content section is needed by another person/user. Then this will need to be shared. Based on the role of your application access account you’ll have the ability to share out your data or web map to others in roles available to you. To share your data click on the check box to the left of the data name and then you will be able to press the Share button and determine what roles will have access. This needs to be set even if you are going to send out the link for the data.
If you send a link to your web map you will need to understand that those that are receiving your product may not have access to the same data you do and therefore the map that you are sending will not be complete and display as you see it.  There is no way to check this you’ll just need to know your audience and if they are in a similar role than generally their permissions to the restricted data will be the same and there should be no issues.

Show tables in the map

To see information about features in a layer, you can display an interactive table at the bottom of the map. Seeing a tabular view of the data can be a quick way to analyze information and start making decisions. You can sort, resize, reorder, and hide the data, as well as select specific attributes to see on the map. For example, you could show a table for a crimes layer and see the different types of crime that your district had responded to over the last two years. You might rearrange the columns so types and date are next to each other, hide some of the columns of data not relevant to your task, and zoom the map to a specific crime you want to investigate further.
Showing tables can be a useful way to see which features will display in your map.

Show a table

1.       Open the map with the feature data you want to see in a table.
2.       Click Details and click Contents.
3.       Browse to the feature layer and click the arrow to the right of the layer name.
4.       Click Show Table. The table appears at the bottom of your map.
5.       Click Hide Table to close the table view in the map.
6.       Table options
Once you've displayed a table, you can resize the table, select a record and zoom to it on the map, and hide/show columns.
To see a feature on the map, click a record (row) in the table, click the arrow to the right of Table Options, and clickZoom To Selection.
To see multiple features on the map, hold down the Shift key and select multiple records or range of records. Hold down the Ctrl key to select two or more nonadjacent records.
To clear a selection, click Clear Selection. This option is useful to unselect all selected records.
To hide or show attribute fields, click the arrow to the right of Table Options and click Show/Hide Columns. Check boxes to show attribute columns. Uncheck boxes to hide them.
To rearrange the columns, drag the column headers left or right.
To resize the table vertically, drag the splitter bar centered above the table title up or down.
To hide the table, click the X in the upper right of the table or click Hide Table from the layer menu.