Create a Custom Query and Buffer
In this section the user will learn how to create a custom query that will locate specific aspects of a feature in the map view using the
‘Query Builder’ map tool, such as selecting properties where the Unitclass is ‘VL’ (Vacant Lot). This map tool also allows the user to create a
buffer around a feature, select only those features that are within the buffer area and export the selected data.
The ‘Query Builder’ map tool is used to select an ‘Operational Layer’ and perform a custom query for any of the layers and attributes (fields)
that are within that ‘Operational Layer’. This map tool also allows the user to select a feature and create a buffer around the feature which
will identify only those features selected by the buffer.
Use this icon to perform a custom query on specific features or buffer features to export to a file. To open the
‘Query Builder’ map tool, position the cursor over the ‘Map’ menu and select the ‘Query Builder’ map tool as shown in
Figure 10.0. The ‘Query Builder’ map tool will open as shown in Figure 10.1.
Figure 10.0 – ‘Map’ menu
Figure 10.1 – ‘Query Builder’ map tool
How to use the Query Builder Map Tool
The tools used by the ‘Query Builder’ map tool are as follows:
Query Map Services – This icon enables the user to use the ‘Map Service’, ‘Attribute Filter’, and ‘Spatial Filter’ tabs that are
available in the ‘Query Builder’ map tool shown in Figure 10.1 above.
View Attribute Data – This icon allows a user to view the results based on searching for specific attributes or from the buffer
Minimize – This icon allows the user to minimize the ‘Query Builder’ map tool. To maximize or reopen the map tool, simply
select the folder of the minimized tool.
Close – This icon allows the user to close the map tool.
To effectively use the ‘Query Builder’ map tool, the user will need to understand how to use the Query Map Service tabs available.
There are three tabs the user can select in the ‘Query Builder’ map tool; Map Service, Attribute Filter and Spatial Filter tab.
In order to perform a custom query, perform the steps below in the ‘Map Service’ and ‘Attribute Filter ‘tab sections below.
The ‘Map Service’ tab is automatically displayed when the ‘Query Builder’ map tool is opened as shown in Figure 10.1 above.
The first step in using the ‘Query Builder’ map tool is:
1) In the ‘Map Service’ tab, select an ‘Operational Layer’ from the drop down list and select the ‘Apply’ button.
Note: Refer to the ‘Operational Layer’ description in the ‘Exploring Map Layers’ section of this site to understand
more about ‘Operational Layers’ and which operational layer the user can select to get the required results.
The next step is to select the ‘Attribute Filter’ tab to search for specific data.
2) In the ‘Attribute Filter’ tab, select a layer from the ‘Target Layer:’ drop down list as shown in Figure 10.2
Figure 10.2 – ‘Attribute Filter’ screen
3) Use the up or down arrow in the ‘Fields:’ section as shown in Figure 10.3 to locate the necessary field and
double click the field. The data for the particular field selected will appear in the ‘Values’ section as shown
in Figure 10.4.
Figure 10.3 – Fields section
Figure 10.4 – ‘Values section
4) Select a value in the ‘Values’ section, this will highlight the value.
5) Proceed to step 6 to search by a single field or to search by multiple fields, proceed to step 6 onward.
Select single field
6) Select the ‘=’ operator, then proceed to step 8.
Selecting the ‘=’ operator will populate the ‘Filter’ section with the custom query formula to locate the feature
in the map view as shown in Figure 10.5.
Figure 10.5 – Example custom query formula
Select multiple fields
7) Select the ‘or’ operator and proceed by following steps 2 through 6 again to select another field and value.
The formula will appear as shown in Figure 10.6.
Figure 10.6 – Example custom query formula
Note: to erase the formula and start over, select the clear button under the ‘Values:’ section.
8) Select the ‘Search’ button to locate the feature in the map view. The map view will reposition to that of the
Note: to clear the feature(s) selected in the map view, select the clear button next to the ‘Search’ button
9) Use the mouse to position the cursor over top of a feature selected in the map view. The information pertaining
to the feature will appear in a pop up window as shown in Figure 10.7 as an example.
Figure 10.7 – Results pop up window
10) To export all data selected from the query results, select the ‘View Attribute Data’ icon and select the
‘Export to CSV’ button.
Note: the width of the data fields that will appear in ‘View Attribute Data’ screen will appear shortened and difficult
to read if there are a number of fields that are to be exported. However, when this data is exported it is easy to view
and manipulate in Microsoft excel.
11) To return to the ‘Attribute Filter’ screen select the ‘Query Map Services’ icon.
In order to perform a buffer selection where a user can select only features within a specific distance of another feature(s), perform
the steps below in the ‘Spatial Filter’ section.
The first step is to select the appropriate ‘Operational Layer’ in order to select and create a buffer surrounding the features.
1) Select the ‘Map Service’ tab shown in Figure 10.1 above, select an ‘Operational Layer’ from the drop down list
and select the ‘Apply’
2) Select the ‘Spatial Filter’ tab as shown in Figure 10.8.
Figure 10.8 – ‘Spatial Filter’ screen
3) In the ‘Select features that:’ drop down list, select either features that ‘Intersect’, ‘Overlap’ or are ‘Within’.
Intersect – selects features that intersect with the feature/area selected
Overlap – selects features that overlap with the feature/area selected.
Within – Selects features that are within the feature/area selected
4) Next, type the buffer distance in the ‘Buffer’ field, and select a measurement type such as metres from the drop
down list available.
5) Refer to the buffer tool descriptions below on how to use the buffer tools, then select either the ‘Point’, ‘Line’
or ‘polygon’ button as shown in Figure 10.9 to limit the search area
Figure 10.9 – buffer tools (Point, Line, Polygon)
Buffer tool descriptions:
Select the ‘Point’ button, then click the feature in the map view as shown in Figure 10.10.
Note: A feature selected by point is that of a closed feature such as a property parcel with three or more straight sides.
Select the ‘Line’ button, then click once in the map while dragging to a new position in the map view, click again to draw
another line, as many times as required to select the feature and double click to end the line on or around the required feature
in the map view.
Note: A feature selected by line can be a road or a closed feature such as a property parcel with three or more straight sides.
Select the ‘Polygon’ button, perform the same steps as the line button but with the Polygon button to create a custom
shape area around the feature in the map view as shown in Figure 10.12.
Figure 10.10 – Buffer area using Point
Figure 10.11 – Buffer area using Line
Figure 10.12 – Buffer area using Polygon
6) Once the buffer is generated, select the ‘Search’ button. This will select all features that depending on the user selection
from step 1 and 3, will intersect, overlap or will be within the buffer area of the feature as shown in Figure 10.13.
Figure 10.13 – Selected Properties that intersect
with polygon buffer from Figure 10.12
7) Once the features are selected, the user can export the selected data to an excel file. From the ‘Query Builder’ tool select the ‘View Attribute Data’ icon, followed by selecting the ‘Export to CSV’ button.
8) To return to the ‘Spatial Filter’ screen select the ‘Query Map Services’ icon.