Editing the Base Canvas

Review and edit the Base Canvas for your project.

Generating the Base Canvas involves cleaning, compiling, and processing geographic and tabular data from a number of sources, including parcel data and multiple census datasets. Given the automated nature of this process, and the potential of inaccuracies in source data, you may find areas where the Base Canvas does not reflect existing development accurately.

To address these discrepancies, you can edit features of the Base Canvas. Base Canvas editing allows you to reclassify a feature with a different land use type and update the base values accordingly. Or, you can change just the land use type while maintaining the feature's original attribute values. In either case, changes are carried forward to the Base Canvas across all scenarios in your project.

As part of the editing process, you can also refine your canvas by removing individual parcel or census block features. This article describes UrbanFootprint's Base Canvas editing controls, and steps on how to edit the Base Canvas, how to revert features to their original state, and how to remove features.

Build Mode Editing Controls

The features used to edit land use and development on features of the Base Canvas are accessed via Build mode for the Base Scenario. You can also access the controls by clicking the Build tab of the Layer Details pane for the Base Canvas layer.

The features for Base Canvas editing are akin to those for scenario building, except that they are used to reclassify existing development instead of asserting future development. The controls include:

Selection. Summarizes the currently selected canvas features. The first line includes a count of the features selected, along with the count of features in the entire project area canvas. The second line indicates the total area within the selected features.

Type. Clicking opens either the Building Types or Place Types selection window, from which you can select a type to reclassify with. Types are listed in alphabetical order, by Land Use Summary (L1) category. L1 categories include Mixed Use, Residential, Commercial, Industrial/Warehouse, Civic/Institutional, Transportation/Utilities, Open space, Vacant/Other, Agriculture, Natural resources, Natural/Conservation, and Water.

The Building Types menu is shown below with details expanded for one of the types. You can see the details for a type by clicking the arrow in the upper right corner of an entry. Building Type details include:

  • Density (net). Includes net residential and employment densities, which are measured over parcel area.

  • Building/Parcel information. Summarizes basic characteristics about the building type, including the average number of floors and floor area ratio (FAR).

  • Building Use Mix. Summarizes the building floor area distribution among five use categories: Residential, Retail, Office, Industrial, and Other (including Public and other non-residential uses).

Building Types selection window with expanded details

Place Type details include:

  • Density. Includes net and gross residential and employment densities. Net densities are measured over parcel area, while gross densities are measured over gross area inclusive of rights of way.

  • Land Use Information. Summarizes the distribution of land between parcels and streets, parks, and civic areas.

  • Residential Mix. Summarizes the distribution of housing, if applicable, by housing type; types include single family large lot, single family small lot, townhome, and multifamily.

  • Employment Mix. Summarizes the distribution of employment by broad sector: Retail, Office, Industrial, and Other.

Place Types selection window

Recently Used. Up to three entries appear if you have painted features during your session. They allow you to quickly select a recently used type to reclassify with.

Values. Two options appear when you select a type to paint with:

  • Updated base values. Select to replace the original Base Canvas values for dwelling units (DU), population, and employment with those based on the selected type. The new values are shown.

  • Original base values. Select to reclassify the feature(s) in type name only, maintaining the original Base Canvas values for dwelling units (DU), population, and employment. The original values are shown. The land use designations for the L1, L2, L3, and L4 columns will be updated according to the selected type.

Reclassify x features. Click to reclassify the x selected feature(s).

Revert x to base. Click to revert the x reclassified feature(s) in the selection to the original Base Canvas condition.

Undo arrow. Click to undo your last reclassification (which may have been applied to a selection of features that is no longer current).

Redo arrow. Click to redo a reclassification that has been undone.

Base Canvas Summary Charts

The four charts in this section provide summarized information about new development in the Base Canvas. The bars in each chart indicate counts for the base. The charts include:

Summary. Shows total population, dwelling units, and employment.

Dwelling Units by Type. Shows counts of single-family detached, single-family attached (townhome), and multifamily units.

Employment by Sector. Shows counts of employment by sector, including retail, office, public, industrial, agriculture/extraction, and military.

Building Square Feet by Type. Shows amounts of residential, retail, office, public, and industrial building floor area, in square feet.

Base Canvas Summary Charts

How to Edit the Base Canvas

To edit the base canvas, follow these steps:

1. Select the Base Scenario.

2. Click the Build iconin the Mode bar.

Alternatively, you can access the Base Canvas editing controls by activating the Base Canvas layer and selecting the Build tab in the Layer Details pane.

3. Select one or more features on the Base Canvas to reclassify. You can select features using the manual selection tools, or apply filters and/or joins to select features based on particular criteria.

4. Click either the Building Types or Place Types button to open a type selection window. The Building Types or Place Types selection window will appear.

5. Select a type to reclassify with. The menu entry for each type indicates the residential and employment densities. You can click the expand arrow in the upper right corner to see more details; collapse the details to close and select a type.

Building Types selection window with expanded details

6. Review the values corresponding to your selection. The value options indicate the dwelling unit (DU), population, and employment counts associated with the selected features using either the new type, or as originally designated in the Base Canvas. You can use this information to decide whether to reclassify and update the values, or reclassify in type designation only.

7. To reclassify the land use of the Base Canvas and update values, select Updated base values. The land use designations for the L1, L2, L3, and L4 columns will be changed according to the selected type. Values for DU, population, employment, and all other associated development characteristics will be updated according to the selected type.

8. To reclassify the land use of the Base Canvas without updating values, select Original base values. The land use designations for the L1, L2, L3, and L4 columns will be changed according to the selected type. The original values from the Base Canvas for DU, population, employment, and all other associated development characteristics will be maintained

9. To reclassify your feature(s) as selected, click Reclassify x features. A confirmation dialog appears. If you confirm, the features will be reclassified accordingly. The reclassification will be reflected in the scenario canvas summary charts, on the map, and in the scenario layer data table.

Editing the Base Canvas affects all scenarios because growth is allocated relative to the Base Canvas. Each time you reclassify features, UrbanFootprint updates all scenarios to reflect new values for the base, increment, and endstate as summarized in reporting charts and represented in the scenario layer. Depending on the number of features you are reclassifying, the scenario updates may take some time.

Editing the Base Canvas also renders any prior analysis runs as out of date. You will need to re-run analysis after reclassifying features and updating their values. The status as to whether results are current or outdated is indicated for each module in Analysis and Report modes.

10. Use the Undoor Redocontrols to make sequential changes. Undo and redo apply to your sequence of past actions, independent of the features that are currently selected. If at any point you need to return features to their original base condition, use the Revert to base control described in the following section.

How to Revert Features to the Base Condition

Reverting returns features to their original base condition, effectively clearing any past reclassifications for selections of features. Undo and redo, by contrast, are applied to your sequence of past actions independent of the features that are currently selected.

To revert features:

1. Select any features on the map that you want to revert to the original base values. The Revert x to base button will indicate the x number of features in your selection that have been reclassified in any prior actions.

Using the polygon tool to make a selection of 18 features.

2. Click Revert x to base. This will reset the features to their original base condition, including land use classifications and base values. Any features that have not been reclassified previously will be unaffected by the revert action.

Revert option for selected features

When complete, the effects of reverting features will be reflected in the Base Canvas Summary Charts, as well as any scenarios.

Again, editing features in the Base Canvas affects all scenarios because growth is allocated relative to the Base Canvas. Each time you reclassify or revert features, UrbanFootprint will update all scenarios to reflect new values for the base, increment, and endstate as summarized in reporting charts and represented in the scenario layer. Depending on the number of features you are reverting, the scenario updates may take some time.

Editing the Base Canvas also renders any prior analysis runs as out of date. You will need to re-run analysis after reverting features. The status as to whether results are current or outdated is indicated for each module in Analyze and Report modes.

How to Remove Features from the Base Canvas

You can easily edit the Base Canvas to remove features. This need arises most frequently for parcels or census blocks that are external to your desired jurisdiction or project area, but are included because they touch its border. To remove features:

1. Select the Base Scenario.

2. Select the Edit tab in the Layer Details pane.

Base Canvas Edit tab

3. Use the manual selection tools to select one or more features on the Base Canvas to remove. The Selection control will indicate the number of features you have selected, and their combined gross land area in acres.

Selecting a single feature to remove from the Base Canvas

4. Click Remove x features. The selected feature(s) will be removed from your Base Canvas and scenario canvases.

5. If needed, use the Undoor Redocontrols to make sequential changes. Undo and redo apply to your sequence of past actions, independent of the features that are currently selected.

When complete, the effects of removing features will be reflected in the Base Canvas Summary Charts, as well as any scenarios. Removing features from the Base Canvas affects all scenarios because growth is allocated relative to the Base Canvas. If you remove (or undo removal of) features, UrbanFootprint will update all scenarios to reflect new totals for the base, increment, and endstate as summarized in reporting charts and represented in the scenario layer.

Removing features also renders any prior analysis runs as out of date. You will need to re-run analysis afterwards. The status as to whether results are current or outdated is indicated for each module in Analyze and Report modes.

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