Exploring the Crowsnest Pass in the Map Viewer

The sample management unit is long and narrow, oriented from north to south along the east side of the Rocky Mountains and contains a mix of foothills and alpine terrain. You can easily recognize the mountainous topography in the satellite imagery included with your sample dataset (only shown in the 32-bit version of Patchworks). The main window that displays map layers when Patchworks begins is referred to as the Map Viewer (see Figure 4, “The Patchworks Map Viewer.”). Along with the optional imagery, this PIN file is set up to initially display a Seral Stages layer that classifies forest age as interpreted from the inventory.

It is difficult to discern any specific features on such a small scale map. If we wanted to find the highway or details of the landscape we would have to 'zoom' in for a closer look. The Map Viewer provides a suite of basic navigation tools to zoom in and out, or move around and select mapped features. Most of these tools can be found along the Map Viewer toolbar in the Map Viewer window.

  1. Choose the Zoom button from the Map Viewer toolbar,

  2. Click and drag a small box near the bottom of the map, like in the diagram shown below. The size of the box you draw determines the new view in the Map Viewer (see Figure 4, “The Patchworks Map Viewer.”). Notice the new scale in the zoomed in map.

Figure 4. The Patchworks Map Viewer.

The map viewer is the main Patchworks window, for viewing maps and accessing other tools.

  1. You can zoom in again by drawing another box in the Map Viewer. To shift the map select the pan tool and click and drag the map image in any direction. Your map viewer will look a lot like Figure 5, “Patchworks Map Viewer, zoomed in to a larger map scale.”.

Figure 5. Patchworks Map Viewer, zoomed in to a larger map scale.

Zooming in within the map viewer shows more detail on a larger scale.

  1. You can return to the original view by using the Full Extent icon on the Map Viewer toolbar.

  2. You can return to the previous view by using the Zoom to previous extent icon on the Map Viewer toolbar.

  3. You can zoom in to the extent of a single layer by using the Zoom to single layer icon on the Map Viewer toolbar.

There are numerous other Map Viewer tools that can be used to explore the map and all the information it contains. You can read about these in the section called “Map Viewer”.


An important component of the Patchwork model is the ability to model forest dynamics over a broad time horizon to better understand the sustainability of management decisions. Patchworks visualization tools (such as the Map Viewer) allow you to navigate through time as easily as navigating through space.

A slider bar appears on the far right of both the Map Viewer and Table Viewer to move forward through time. The time horizon is illustrated by periods, which can be defined to represent a certain amount of years. For our sample dataset a 200 year time horizon is represented by 40 5-year planning periods. In addition to the 40 planning periods the slider include 0 that shows the time zero initial conditions prior to the start of the simulation.

  1. In the Map Viewer display the full extent of the map by clicking on the Full Extent button on the Map Viewer toolbar.

  2. On the right hand side move the slider bar ahead by 10 increments (50 years) with the mouse.

Notice the colours of the Seral Stages map layer changing as you move ahead through time. The Seral Stages layer represents the ages of the forest stands. By moving forward in the time horizon you are essentially growing the forest. The stand level descriptions of growth and development also describe breakup and renewal. As you advance the slider bar to later planning periods, you may notice some Old stands reverting back to the Regen class due to a successional transition.

So far we have not used Patchworks to schedule any management treatments. At this stage the change over time showing in the map are only based on the stand dynamics characteristics of aging and succession.

Each of the polygons making up the map layer has links to numerous attributes describing the characteristics of the forest stand, the management treatments that are proposed to be and the products that will be derived. These attributes can be examined in detail in the Table Viewer. The Table Viewer, Map Viewer and scheduler are tightly linked together. Changes made in one component will be reflected in all (see the section called “Map Viewer” and the section called “Table Viewer”).


A block can be comprised of one or more similar inventory polygons (i.e a multi-part polygon). The concept of a block is explained briefly in the key concepts chapter (the section called “Blocks”).