Annotation Creation and Edition

1. Description

An annotation is a vector that is created in a 2D or 3D view and is used to highlight or mark specific aspects of a layer. You can create an annotation to add a description, comment, or tag on a highlighted feature or attach a PDF or image for additional context for future reference. In addition to storing text information and attachments within an annotation, the geometry of the annotation can also reference the project's geospatial data, such as a DSM, to measure feature lengths and calculate associated areas and volumes. 

Once created, all annotations are found under the "Site Data" and "Survey Data" groups on the layer management panel. To keep them organized, use groups and subgroups features as you would with layers, see Browsing and Arranging Layers.‍ 

The annotation toolbar has five built-in annotation tools to choose from Point, Line, Polygon, Box, and Measure. Let's walk through the general process and how to use each of the tools.

2. General information on annotations

2.1 To create an annotation

Step 1 - Within a survey, and in 2D or 3D view, select the annotation tool you want to use from the toolbar on the left-hand side of the screen.

Step 2 - Click or draw directly on the map.

Step 3 - When drawing Polygons (polygon and box) or Lines, double-click the last point to save the annotation.

2.2 To modify an annotation

Step 1 - Right-click on an existing annotation to edit, move, rotate, or delete it, see Vector Geometry Edition.‍ 

Note: You can also change the visual rendering of your annotation by changing the opacity, color, size, and format of the line.

Step 2 - To do this, go to the "Style" tab in the red box below.

2.3 To rename, add a description, and tag an annotation

2.3.1 Rename an annotation

Once you have created an annotation, there are multiple ways to rename the annotation:

  • Via the annotation panel.

Step 1 - Click on the name of the annotation displayed in the right window and rename it.

Step 2 - Press the "ENTER" key.

  • Via the 3 dots menu (annotation panel).

Step 1 - Select the 3 dots menu to the right of the annotation name.

Step 2 - Click on "Rename".

Step 3 - Type your annotation name.

Step 4 - Press the "ENTER" key.

2.3.2 Add a description to an annotation

There are multiple ways to add a description to an annotation.

  • Via the annotation panel

Step 1 - Click on the annotation and type your text in the "Describe" section framed in red below.

Step 2 - Press the "ENTER" key.

  • Via the 3 dots menu (annotation panel).

Step 1 - Click on the 3 dots menu.

Step 2 - Select "Edit description".

Step 3 - Type the description.

Step 4 - Press the "ENTER" key.

2.3.3 Add a tag to an annotation

Add one or more tags to an annotation within the annotation information window. A tag is a searchable component from the homepage and a site's landing page. 

Step 1 - To create a tag, select the space framed in red below.

Step 2 - Type the tag name you wish to add.

Step 3 - Press "ENTER" on your keyboard.

2.4 To export an annotation

Step 1 - Select the annotation you wish to export and from the annotation panel

Step 2 - Select the 3 dots menu next to the annotation name (1).

Step 3 - Select "Download as" (2).

Step 4 - Choose the file format you want to export (3).

2.5 To delete an annotation

Important: Deleting an annotation is an irreversible action.

There are two methods to delete an annotation.

  • From the layer panel, with the drop-down menu in front of the annotation (see Browsing and Arranging Layers‍‍)
  • Via the 3 dots menu from the annotation information panel:

Step 1 - Click on the 3 dots menu.

Step 2 - Click on "Delete the annotation" and confirm.

2.6 To convert a 3D annotation to a 2D annotation.

In order to convert an annotation made in 3D view to 2D:

Step 1 - Create or use an existing 3D annotation.

Note: To create a 3D annotation, use the same workflow as for the 2D annotations stated above.

Step 2 - Click on the 3 dots menu of your annotation.

Step 3 - Click on "Convert to 2D".

Step 4 - A new annotation will be created and displayed in 2D view.

2.7 To attach a file to an annotation

You can attach a file (image, PDF report document, graph, video, etc...) to an annotation.


Video extensions supported are MP4 and WebM

Step 1 - From the annotations panel, select "ATTACHMENTS".

Step 2 - Search for a file using the "BROWSE" button or directly drag and drop the file. 

Step 3 - Once uploaded, a preview of the image will be displayed in the panel.

3. Annotation tools

Let's now review the different existing annotations.

3.1 The polygon annotation

A polygon annotation can be used for delineating an object calculating a perimeter, or a surface, and for Volume Calculations‍. In order to create the perimeter of a polygon, select the polygon annotation tool, and draw a polygon around the object in question.

The annotation will automatically appear within the annotation panel on the left-hand side of your screen.

If you want to use the polygon annotation created as a vector to run analytics:

Step 1 - Click on the 3 dots menu of your annotation (1).

Step 2 - Click on "Convert to" (2).

Step 3 - Finally click on "Field boundaries" (3).

3.2 The box annotation

The box annotation (2D only) is similar to the polygon annotation but the geometry is confined to a rectangular shape. Once a box annotation is created, it becomes a polygon annotation.

3.3 The point annotation

A point annotation is helpful in reading the specific coordinates and altitude of a location on the map. To create a point annotation, select the point tool from the toolbar, and choose the location you wish to measure. Once selected, the location information automatically displays in the annotation panel.

Point coordinates are also useful for marking permanent, temporary, or specific situations such as dangerous areas. Alteia provides a built-in symbol library for this purpose. To mark a point, select the point annotation, and from the annotation panel, select "Style". From here, select whichever icon is most relevant.

3.4 The line annotation

A line annotation is useful for measuring distance on a layer.

Besides measuring distance, the line annotation is also used to quickly calculate the elevation profile along a cross-section of the layer.

Step 1 - Once you've created the line annotation, select "Profile" from the annotation panel.

Step 2 - Select "Elevation profile".

The "Elevation profile" window will appear, showing the elevation as a function of the position on the line. 

The mouse position on the line is reported on an elevation on the graph and the mouse position on the graph is reported on the line.

  • "Height" describes the elevation difference between the cursor position and the first point of the profile.
  • "Diff" represents the elevation difference between a DSM (based on) and another DSM (Compare to).

You can compare up to three elevation profiles.

You can also export your elevation profile in a vector file such as JSON, Shapefile, DXF, and FPC. To do it, select "Export as".

While using the "Export as" feature in the elevation profile window, vectors generated are referenced in the global coordinates system WGS84, EPSG:4326.

4. Additional measurements

Note that you can perform additional measurements for all vector annotations (point, line, polygon, and box), by expanding the Measurements section and clicking on the "Measures" button.

5. The measure tool

By using this tool you can get different measures "on the fly" without creating and saving the annotations on your project.

For example, you can measure the coordinates of a point, measure the distance and average slope of a segment or path, calculate an elevation profile, and calculate the area and volume of specific shapes.

Data measured with the measure tool are not saved by default but can be saved by clicking the save icon (framed in red below). 

To see more information about the measurement annotation, please see the article: Measurement Tool.