BlueSpray - Help
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Getting Started

Navigating BlueSpray

This is a quick introduction into how to use BlueSpray and is intended for those with experience using other GIS software applications. If you are new to GIS, you may want to start with one of the tutorials.


Along the top of BlueSpray you'll see the standard menu bar with a row of tools just below it. On the left is the "Project Tree" that shows the current contents of the project you are working on. To the right of the tree is the main desktop space within BlueSpray where views of spatial data and documents will be displayed.

The menus are pretty standard and you can explore them as you desired. The first set of tools on the left below the menu bar are the most common ones used in all types of views. This includes the arrow for selecting items, the hand for moving data within a view, the zoom to zoom in and (with the control key down) out. There is also an "Area of Interest" box and an "Information" tool. The Area of Interest tool is used to define an area that you would like a transform to work on. You can select the information tool and then click on just about anything in a view to see more information about it. Next to the common tools is another tool button and a popup button. This is for tools that are available based on the type of data you have selected in the Project Tree. Click on something in the tree and then you will see the contents of the tool menu change. This makes it easy to find the tools you need based on the type of data you are working with. To the right of the tools are a series of action buttons including the add file, zoom to bounds, and go back to the previous view button. Next to this is another action button and a popup that will change based on the type of data you've selected in the project menu just like the tools menu. To the right of the action buttons is a space for special panels that will contain the common settings for, you guessed it, the data selected in the Project Tree.

By now you know that the Project Tree is very important to how BlueSpray works. Take a look at it for a moment and you'll there are entries for "Scenes", "Documents", "Scripts", and "Symbology". The Scenes are where you'll add, edit, and view spatial data. Documents are representations of paper documents that could be reports, papers, or posters. Scripts are Javascript's you can use to automate the processing and spatial data and BlueSpray. Symbology contains all the symbols you are currently using in the project.


The main document type for BlueSpray is a "Project". When you select "Open" or "Save" from the "File" menu, you'll be saving project files. You can import and export other file types into and out of BlueSpray by right-clicking on their names in the project tree or an item in one of the windows in the main window area. In fact, you can get to most of the functions in BlueSpray by right-clicking on items in these two areas.

The project tree shows all the items currently in the project. These include:

  • Scenes: Items that contain layers of spatial data in one projection
  • Documents: Printable documents containing scenes and other items
  • Tables: Tables of data that are not associated with a layer (i.e. they are not attributes of a layer)
  • Scripts: Scripts for automating BlueSpray
  • Symbols: All the various types of symbology you will use in BlueSpray including color maps, styles for drawing items, scale bar,s north arrows, and more

Note: Add screen captures


You can "right-click" on most items in BlueSpray. This means you'll click the right button on Windows-based computers or press the "clover-leaf" key on Macintosh computers and then click on an item in BlueSpray. This will typically bring up an menu showing you the options you have for that item. In these menus you'll see the options that are available for the type of data you just clicked on.

Try right-clicking on the "Scene 1" item and you'll see a menu that includes "New Layer". Drag down to this item and you'll see another popup menu with the options to add new layers to BlueSpray. Try adding a file or creating a new layer from scratch. As you add and save layers, they will appear in the "Recent Layers" menu. When you added a layer to a scene you'll see the layer appear in a view in BlueSpray. You also may notice a "View" item below the layer you added. You can right click on this item and see the settings available for a view.

Try loading a raster or vector layer now and then try some of the "transforms" that are available. There are sample files available in the STData folder with BlueSpray.

"Alt" Keys

To make it quick and easy to zoom in, zoom out, move the canvas, and select items in windows you can always reach the required tools through "Alt" keys.

  • Arrow Tool: <ctrl> converts it into a hand tool
  • Zoom Tool: <ctrl> converts it into a zoom out tool

Drag and Drop

BlueSpray supports dragging and dropping content within BlueSpray and files being dropped into BlueSpray.

When you want to add a scene to a document, just drag and drop it from the project tree and into the document. Then you can size it and reposition it as you like.

Note: BlueSpray's ability to drag and drop between other applications and the desktop is limited based on how drag and drop has been implemented by the operating system and other applications.


Now you can explore the capabilities of BlueSpray by right clicking, selecting items in menus, and dragging items around. Right clicking on an item will take you to its "Settings" dialog which will contain the settings for that item and a "Help" button that will give you more details.

Note: The help in BlueSpray will be finished over the next year