Adding Data

In order to optimize the location of the infrastructures, Pathfinder needs spatial information about the suitability of different locations. This geospatial information is collected from multiple datasets in vector form (features) and raster (image) form.

Check out our recommended steps to prepare data for Pathfinder.


Users who are not admin/staff can’t add data. Ask your administrator to do it for you.

Base Datasets and Project Layers

Pathfinder works with vector and raster data at two levels:

  • Base datasets: These contain the original data which can be used in different projects. For instance, we may have a “protected areas” dataset or a land cover raster for the whole country that we want to use for different study areas (different projects).

    The base datasets can be:

    • Public datasets: They are setup by Gilytics for all Pathfinder users. An example are the OpenStreetMap (OSM) datasets for the whole world.

    • Private datasets: They are uploaded or connected from remote services by Pathfinder users, and are available to all members of your organization.

  • Project layers: Data from the base datasets are added to a project in the form of a layer, clipped to the area of the project.

Therefore, data can be added to a project only by creating layers from the base datasets, either public or private.


Adding Base Datasets

For this section, you can follow one of our tutorial videos:

To add private base datasets to be used within your organization and projects, use the Project/Import Datasets menu option.


The Import Datasets dialog will open:


From the user profile it is possible to list the datasets already available and also add new ones.

Add the Files

By default, the File tab is selected in the Import Datasets dialog. The supported formats are

  • Vector data: shapefile (all files compressed in a single .zip), ESRI Geodatabase (zip), GPKG, GeoJSON and KML.

  • Raster data: GeoTIFF files (.tif, .tiff, .geotiff).

You can drag and drop, or select, the data files. Multiple files are supported. They should appear in the list below the drop area before they can be uploaded. If a format is not supported, an alert message will be visible and the file will not be listed.


After you click on the Upload button, the new datasets will be uploaded and stored in the Pathfinder database. You can follow the progress in the Process Log popup window:


Add WFS Services

Another option to add vector data to Pathfinder is to use a Web Feature Service. Some organizations publish data in this form.

Select the WFS tab in the Import Dataset dialog, and enter the URL of the service you want to access. Then click on the Load Layers button to get a list of the available datasets:


You can type some text to search available layers by name:


Click on the layer list names to select which datasets you want to create from the WFS service:


After you click on the Upload button, you should see a confirmation that the base dataset was created:


When you are done adding datasets, click on Cancel to close the dialog.

Adding Layers to a Project

After creating and opening a project, you can add layers to it in the project viewer.


Base datasets are not visible in the project until they are added as one or more layers.

To add a new layer, use the Project/New Layer menu option:


You can also use the New layer icon button in the LAYERS header of the left panel:


In both cases, the Add New Layer dialog will become visible:


If a raster with multiple bands has been imported, the user will be able to add them separately as layers in the project.



Configuring the Layers

The Add New Layer dialog will show all datasets (public and private) available to create project layers. You can use the checkboxes to select one or more of these datasets to create new layers.


Only the base datasets whose extension intersects the project area are listed. If a base dataset is already used by other project layer, it will appear under the “Included” tab.

Even if the base dataset extension includes the project area, it may happen that it does not include any data in this area.

Use the Search Layers input to quickly find the dataset you are interested. For instance, search for “forest” to quickly find the OSM Forest dataset.


The layer configuration includes these options (raster layers only require the Category):

  • For vector layers, set a filter to specify the objects to be used in the layer, based on attributes or field values. If no filter is specified, all features from the base dataset in the project area will be used.

    First click on the Set button in the Filter column. Then, in the filter dialog, select the attribute containing the property you are interested, as well as the operator (=, <, …) and the value to compare. Multiple filters can be combined by using Add Filter, as in the following example.


    By repeating this process on the same base dataset, you can easily create layers with different objects from the original data.


  • Select the name of the category (the group the layer will belong to) in the dropdown of the column Category.

    Categories are important to tune the relative weight of different layer groups in the optimization scenarios. The name and members of categories can be changed later.

  • Select the buffering option: single or multiple buffer rings.


    Buffer rings are used to extend the area of influence beyond the original dataset boundaries or locations.

    • In the single ring mode, the original data boundary or location is extended by a certain distance or ring width:


    • In the multi ring mode, the original data are extended with multiple rings at different distances, so we can set different resistances or cost to each of these areas. Normally, the first ring will have a higher resistance, and more distant rings will have progressively lower resistance.

      The user specifies the width of each ring, and the distances are added (e.g. if widths are 100, 200, 300, the distances to the original will be 100, 300, 600…):


      By default, up to four rings can be defined. Click on the Add Ring button if you want more rings:


If you have a project containing correct settings for the layers, you can copy them to the current project, by clicking on the Copy Buffer Settings from Project button:


When the selection dialog pops up, select the project you want to copy the settings from:


After the layer configuration is finished, click on the Process Layers button at the bottom right.

You can follow the progress of layer preprocessing in the Process Log:


After the process is completed, the new layers will be visible in the Left Panel of Pathfinder.

Changing the Layer Configuration

The layer configuration can be changed at any time while working in the project. This is typically needed to change the layer filter, the number of rings or their widths.


Only the project owner (the user who created the project) and the administrators of the company can change the layer configuration.

Layer configuration changes require the layers to be processed again from the base data. To access the configuration properties at any time, use the Project/Layer Preprocessing menu option:


You can also access it from the corresponding icon in the Layers panel on the left:


The window displayed with a table of the project layers is very similar to the Add New Layer dialog we have seen. After changing the properties of one or more layers, they get automatically selected, so when the user clicks on the Process Selected button, these layers will be reprocessed:


Check the process log to see when the layer processing ends and you can verify visually the results.

Disclaimer: the scenarios depicted in this manual do not represent actual customer projects or infrastructure proposals, and are presented for demonstration purposes only.

For more help, please use the help chat in the application, or contact Gilytics.