Hands On
Data Layers

HERE Data Layers At a Glance

By Raymond Camden | 16 September 2020

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If you have been following HERE Directions closely, or have read the announcement, you already know that we just announced HERE Data Layers as part of our Freemium plan on the HERE Developer Portal. In a nutshell, HERE Data Layers are an incredibly rich set of map data that you can download - right now - and analyze to your heart's content. In this post I'm going to explain what this means for developers, how you can get started, and share a simple demonstration of how the data could be used. I'll clearly spell out what the limits there are and what's available at the paid tier. Let's get started. 

What Exactly Is It? 

HERE Data Layers is map data. This map data is available for nearly seventy cities around the world including 10 data layers and over 500 different attributes per city 

The map data is provided as GeoJSON format layers that are high quality and based on HERE’s globally consistent specification. These layers can be used individually or combined for multiple use cases ranging from map display, spatial analytics, business intelligence and machine learning.  We are providing these data layers via HERE Studio and Data Hub, making it easy to visualize and analyze. For folks new to GeoJSON, you can check out my introduction to it for a good introduction. 

What's in the Layers? 

As I mentioned, the data covers a very extensive range of information. Users can customize the data and select which layers to work with. You can find a good overview of the layers in the documentation, but here's a quick overview: 

  • Navigable Roads: Information about drivable roads that includes things like driving direction and speed limits. 
  • Traffic Restrictions: Information related to things that impact drivers, like turn restrictions. 
  • Land Use and Land Cover: Land use describes how people use a particular section of land (stadium, park, etc.) while land cover describes the nature of the area (forest, swampland, etc.). 
  • Hydrography: Everything related to water - lakes, rivers, and more. 
  • Buildings: You get one guess as to what this includes. 
  • Administrative Divisions: Political organization data like postal zones and information related to currency, language, time zones and more. 
  • Traffic and Destination signs: Layers related to things like stop signs and signs you see from the highway telling you what's coming up down the road. 
  • Places: POIs (Points of Interest) with additional data related to open hours, contact information, and more. 

As you can image, this all gets rather detailed. You can bookmark the Schema Definition for particulars on each layer and values returned. You'll be seeing a few below as well. 

What do I get? 

Ok, let's talk turkey. At the Freemium level, you get access to one city, and all its layers. Note that the data is centered on a city area but not necessarily equal to the city's boundaries. You then get new updates every couple of weeks for six months for those layers. 

At the Pro level, you get access to two cities and all the layers, with no expiration of updates for new data sets. The Pro account gives you even more of course. As always, you can see details about our different pricing levels and current costs on our Pricing page. 

How do I get started? 

To get started, you'll need a HERE developer account (you get access to HERE Data Layers in Freemium alreadyand at least one project defined for your account. Login to your account, select your project, and then scroll down to the bottom of the page. Here you will see a button to get started with Data Layers: 

 

After clicking the "Get Started" button, you will see an expanded set of options: 

From here you can decide which layers you're interested in as well as which city. For my test, I selected all the layers and Houston, Texas as the location: 

Now you can save your data, but before doing so you'll need to enter a valid credit card. As the popup says, you will NOT be charged if you stay within the limits, and you will not need to enter this again. 

After you've finished entering your billing information you will be brought back and can then click "Save to Data Hub" again. You'll get one last confirmation to ensure you are satisfied with your selection: 

Finally, you'll get a notice that your data is being uploaded: 

When you dismiss that, you'll be presented with three options for viewing your data: HERE Studio, the Data Hub command line, and a GeoJSON viewer. As the data is GeoJSON itself, once you have the data itself locally you can use any viewer to work with it. For a quick and easy way to see your data, select the Studio option. This brings you to the Data tab of Studio itself where you can see your new layers: 

At this point if all you want is the raw data, figure the layer you want (the names should clue you in to what they contain), click the three dot menu on the right and select download: 

Remember that you can also use the Data Hub CLI to get the contents of the layer. To give you an idea of how this data looks, here is one feature from Houston and the traffic sign layer: 

{
    "id": "703813335",
    "type": "Feature",
    "properties": {
        "category": "REGULATING",
        "signType": "Stop",
        "endOfLink": "NON_REF_END_OF_LINK",
        "references": [
            {
            "ids": [
                "17925105"
            ],
            "layerId": "navigable-roads"
            }
        ],
        "featureType": "RoadSign",
        "isoCountryCode": "USA",
        "@ns:com:here:xyz": {
            "tags": [],
            "space": "qxuxftIl",
            "createdAt": 1599146275352,
            "updatedAt": 1599146275352
        },
        "@ns:com:here:mom:meta": {
            "layerId": "traffic-signs",
            "sourceId": "here-product-primitives-traffic-signs-geojson-ext-v1",
            "modelVersion": "1.0.0",
            "catalogVersion": 33
        }
    },
    "geometry": {
    "type": "Point",
    "coordinates": [
        -95.37185,
        29.78791,
        0
    ]
    }
},

You can see that this one is a stop sign. In case you're curious, there's 5987 stop signs in the Houston area covered by Data Layers. Let's actually see if we can map that! 

In HERE Studio, create a new project and include the traffic signs data. Out of the box, Studio will render all the signs available from the layer: 

Studio supports conditional styling, so let's actually build a new rule that calls out those stop signs: 

I did some updating to the default colors and sizes HERE Studio picked and crafted a map where the stop signs are shown by red boxes: 

What Next? 

In the next few weeks, we'll have more hands-on examples related to Data Layers coming out. Be sure to sign up for a free developer account and find us on Twitter and Slack for more help!