SMS Map Skills: Using Generic Layer Tools to Create Farmstead Maps

Farmstead Map


The SMS Generic Layer type is a unique set of tools that can extend your maps beyond the everyday download and display of other layer types. In any conventional mapping programs data is either Point, Line or Polygon type data and map layers are usually comprised of only one type of data. In the SMS generic layer we can actually create all three types and store all three types within this same layer.

One of the uses for this “do everything” layer is to create Farmstead maps. Whether the map is to become part of a Nutrient Management Plan or to document facility locations.

  1. To set up, we stage any background layers such as adjacent field boundaries and imagery layers.
  2. Create a new generic layer and working from the generic editor window, zoom to find your best view for drawing.
Bring up Backup Imagery

3. Starting with the left hand menu select a the ADD tools. To create silo and storage bins select Add Circle. The diameter measurement tool expands as the circle tool drags from center out, enabling a precise measurement of the known dimensions to be created. Once drawn, the circle can be selected and moved into the most precise position.

Add Circle Using Radius Guide

4. Alternating between the different tools to draw point objects using the best geometric representation for the entity. Obviously polygons are required if you will to calculate area and lines if length is desired. Anything from a well head to an entire field can be represented by a point depending on the intended purpose of the map. In the example below barns are rectangles, the well is a point, the driveway/entrance is a line and solos and storage are circular polygons.

Points, Lines and Polygons in Generic Editor

5. Once the drawings are complete the more important aspect is the ability to attach information to these features. While in the generic editor mode select the data grid. There will be a line item for each feature. From the right hand menu select add attribute and select an appropriate data type for the information you want to enter; numerical, text, date and more. For this example a description attribute is ready to house text for each feature.

Add Attribute in Data Grid

6. Once the attribute is added then your data is enterable. By highlighting one row in the data table the corresponding map object is highlighted in the reference map lower right corner.

Enter Data
Each Data Line Corresponds to a Mapped Entity

7. Once attribute data has been assigned then a legend can be applied. In this example we select the attribute “Description” from the drop down above the legend and the unique values in the data are presented.

Apply Legend

8. If the data from this layer is to be exported as a shapefile to share, SMS automatically creates a set of shapefiles for the points, one for any lines and one for the polygon entities.

Generic Export Automatically Makes Shapefile Sets

9. In addition to the legend to express information about the mapped features, labeling is often employed in presentation. All layers in SMS have access to the many labeling options found in  the Edit Layer Options menu. Placement rules, font styles and all other labeling behaviors are accessed via this menu. If a menu behavior is to be used on multiple layers of the same type, then the settings can be saved as the defaults.

Edit Layer Options for Extensive Customization
Best Label Placement Depends on Scale

10. Finally, the features can be presented in any number of printable layouts. Adding multiple views to showcase the Farmstead features in relation to the larger geography, adding pictures or company identifications to communicate and document.

Custom Layouts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s