How to Use Our Interactive Map

If you want to download these instructions as a Word document, click here.

1. Viewing observations, selecting layers and showing the legend

a. Selecting species and viewing observations

You can view data for one, two, three, or all four species on the map at the same time. The default view shows no species - you will need to select one or more species to show the observations.

To view each species and show the symbols for observations, first go to the white frame to the left of the map. Then click the Date checkbox to the left of the name of each species that you want to view. The observations for that species will then appear on the map. To turn off observations for a species, uncheck the corresponding checkbox.

The State checkbox allows you to turn on labels for special observations such as first butterfly of the season (F) or migrating individuals (M). You can view these together with the symbols, for example, to help you identify the "first of the season" sightings. Or you can view the labels independently of the symbols by checking only the State checkbox. Doing so may, for example, show the M symbols and in this way help you to define the area where individuals of a particular species are actually migrating.

b. Year

To view a particular year of observations, select the year from the menu box in the white frame to the left of the map. You can select either one particular year or view data from all years together. The default selection is All. Data from 2001 through 2006 are currently available.

c. Show Legend

To show the map legend, click the JavaScript SHOW LEGEND link at the top of the white frame to the left of the map. The legend will show a key for whatever features are active on the map. Each species is shown by a differently shaped symbol (circle: Red Admiral; triangle: Painted Lady; square: American Lady; star: West Coast Lady). Colors indicate sighting dates at one-month intervals. January through June observations appear as a light- to dark-blue series, and July through December observations appear as a yellow through gold to brown series. These contrasting colors help to distinguish the spring and fall activity and migratory periods. Mexico, Canada, and the United States appear as different shades of gray.

d. Viewing flight directions on the map and in the legend

If you have zoomed in closely enough to a particular part of the map (indicated when the scale bar is less than about 160 miles long), you will be able to see any migration direction sightings as thin black arrows extending from the center of the symbol. These flight directions will also appear in the map key as arrows rotated at 22.5-degree intervals (for 16 cardinal directions, e. g. north, north-northeast, northeast, etc.).

e. Read Observations

This box is part of the Query feature and allows you to view a list of information associated with any observations of a particular species and location that you choose to view. The Read Observations box lets you select the species that you want to query. You can query only one species at a time. See the Query feature below for full instructions.

2. Map Feature Buttons

a. Zoom In Zoom In

To use the Zoom In feature, first select this button from the menu above the map. Once you have done this, there are two ways to zoom in on the map. One way is to click on a particular location on the map with your left mouse button. You can do this repeatedly to zoom in closer and closer to your target. The other way is to draw a box around the area to which you want to zoom. Click on one location, and then while holding down your left mouse button, draw out the red box to define an area. When you release the mouse button, the map will zoom to the area within the borders of the red box. Again, you can do this repeatedly to focus on smaller and smaller areas within the map.

b. Zoom Out Zoom Out

To use the Zoom Out feature, select the button from the menu above the map. Then select a location on the map and click on it. The view will re-center on the point on which you clicked, and the map view will recede.

c. Pan Pan

The Pan feature allows you to move to an adjacent portion of the map. It is most useful when you have already zoomed into a relatively small portion of the map and want to view other nearby observations that are just outside the map window. To use it, click the button and place your cursor on the map. Then while holding down your left mouse button, drag the map in any direction to reposition it. When you release your mouse button, the map view will re-position itself and show the adjacent sections of the map to which you have panned.

This feature is also helpful if you want to create a series of adjoining close-up map views of a larger region at the same scale.

d. Query Query

The Query feature allows you to view information about any observations you select from the map. Queries are carried out in three steps.

First, select the species you wish to query from the "Read Observations" list box to the left of the map. You can query only one species at a time.

Next, click on the Query button to activate this feature.

Finally, go to the map. Click on one location, and then while holding down your left mouse button, draw out the red box to define an area around several points. When you release the mouse button, the observer's name and other information about each of these observations appears in a scrollable table below the map. It is usually best to zoom in on a small area with a few observations before selecting points to query. Querying from a large area can often bring up dozens to hundreds of observations.

To clear the data table, keep the query feature activated and click once within the map window. A red cross will appear on the map and the table will disappear. You can then make another query or switch to another map feature.

e. Full View Full View or Zoom to Entire Array

Full View lets you go back to the view of the map that you saw when you first logged onto the map page. This is most useful when you have zoomed into a small area in a series of steps, and you want to quickly return to a view of the entire map.

f. Previous View Previous View

Previous View will take you back one step to the last view you had of the map before you zoomed in or selected a different year or species. You can click Previous View repeatedly to go back more than one step.

g. Next View Next View

Next View will take you forward to a more recent view of the map. You can click Next View repeatedly to go through a series of views until you reach your most recent view of the map.

h. Create Printable Map Create Printable Map

The Create Printable Map feature button above the upper right-hand corner of the map allows you to select and print any map view you choose. Selecting this feature opens a window that shows your map view and a copy of the map legend. You can send this page to a printer or print it to a file. You can also click the picture with your right mouse button and save it as an image file (either PNG or Bitmap). The printable map window shows a field with somewhat more area than the original map view. If you want to print an area similar to the original map view, then go back to your view and use the Zoom In feature to define a slightly smaller area, or the Pan feature to re-position your map view.