HomeUser Manual

This page needs to be updated to include recent changes to layout


This document is designed to provide a simple introduction to the STEEP platform and how to use it. The STEEP platform has been created to be used as a means to share information and ideas with project partners and other stakeholders as part of an energy masterplanning process. The tool allows users to create maps and process models, and to import these into a report format for distribution.

The tool has been designed to be relatively easy to use at a basic level, however prior experience of working with wikis and/or mapping tools such as GIS is likely to be beneficial. This document is primarily targeted at users with little, if any, previous experience of these tools, however links are also provided to more advanced guidance for users looking for more in-depth information. Knowledge and experience of the hierarchical process modelling methodology is assumed.

Setting up a user account (not yet finalised)

In order to use the STEEP tool you will need to set up a user account. You can do this from the tool’s Main Page by clicking on the ‘Request account’ link at the top right hand side. You will need to fill in the form and submit it for approval. The tool administrators will then accept or reject your request and confirm your log in details.

Using the mapping tool

The STEEP mapping tool can be accessed by clicking on the link on the Main Page. You can navigate to a location on the map manually (by panning and zooming), or you can use the search bar at the top right hand side of the screen.

Setting your 'home' location

You may wish to set a ‘home’ location on your map based on your area of focus. This will allow you to quickly return to your chosen location when you have been exploring other areas. To do this, you should navigate to the area that you wish to be your home location and click on the ‘Set Home’ button. When you wish to return to your selected location you simply click on the ‘Go Home’ button. You can reset your home location at any time by navigating to a new area and clicking on the ‘Set Home’ button.

Choosing a background map

There are five options for background maps within the tool. These are summarised in the table below.

Map name Content
Open Streetmap Standard detailed mapping with infrastructure clearly shown. Includes features such as roads, rivers, forests, parks, footpaths, national parks, AONBs and some building outlines.
Stamen Toner High contrast black and white map. Includes physical features such as roads, rivers and railways. Some administrative boundaries are shown.
ESRI Relief Purely topographical. Natural surface characteristics such as relief and watercourses are shown, but no man-made features (including place names) are present.
ESRI World Imagery Aerial photography only.
ESRI Topography Topographical map with man-made features also shown. Includes place-names.

All of these maps are free to use under an open license. You can choose to select a different background map at any time.

Adding data into the map

The STEEP mapping tool supports files in shapefile (.shp, .dbf, .prj), JSON (topoJSON) and CSV format.

You can select data to add to the map by clicking on the ‘Choose Files’ button and navigating to your data. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the files into the map from your computer. For shapefiles, it is important to select all of the component parts of the file (.dbf, .shp and .prj) to import at the same time. Once you have clicked ‘Open’, the tool will ask you to confirm which coordinate system you want to use. The tool will suggest a coordinate system based on your data, however if you would like to use a different system you can click inside the text box and select one of the options from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can use the following website to check the correct form of reference to use: http://www.spatialreference.org (use the ‘Well Known Text as HTML’ version).

Once the coordinate system has been confirmed, the tool will add the new layer onto the map. If you are not already at the relevant location within the map, you can navigate to the data by clicking on its title within the layer control box (note, you can move the layer control box around the screen by dragging and dropping it, or can remove it completely by clicking on the ‘L’ tab on the left hand side of the screen). Similarly, you can use the ‘I’ tab to add or remove the ‘Choose Files’ button and search bar.

New layers uploaded into the tool will automatically be saved within the tool, and can be added into any new map by clicking on ‘Layers’ and either using the search bar or selecting the layer title from the drop down menu.

When a new layer is added to the map the tool will also create a legend bar. You can use the ‘l’ button to control whether or not the legend is shown on the screen.

If the tool encounters any problems when importing your data an error box will appear. This can be controlled using the ‘!’ tab on the left hand side of the screen.

If you wish to add simple spreadsheet-based data onto the map then it is possible to do this where coordinates are available. The file will need to be in CSV or TSV format (in Excel you can choose to save your worksheet in these formats by using the drop down menu within the ‘Save as’ pop up box). The tool will attempt to detect which columns to use as the x and y coordinates and will ask you to confirm the selection before it adds the data to the map.

The transparency of each layer can be controlled using the relevant sliding scale within the layer control box.

Viewing the data in table format and formatting the data on the map

Once a layer has been added to the map it is possible to view the data in tabular format either by clicking on the square icon to the right of its listing within the layer control box, or by clicking on any data point on the map that is associated with that layer (this will also highlight the relevant row within the table).

The data within the table will contain the same headings as within the original file (although where no obvious ID column exits, the tool will assign its own).

Clicking on the heading of a column will highlight that column and sort the data according to the values within it. These values will be presented in ascending order within the table and the tool will categorise and display the data on the map accordingly, using a colour scale. Clicking on the heading again will display the data in descending order.

You can alter the colour of the data points on the map by clicking on the coloured box next to your selected dataset on the layer control box. This will bring up a new box which shows the full colour range available. Clicking at any point within this box will change the colour of the data points on the map. You can also rotate the colours within the box by clicking to the right or left hand side of the box, and you can zoom in and out using your scroll button.

Changing the colour of data points within a map

Hovering the cursor over any particular row in the table will highlight the corresponding data point on the map. Hovering the cursor over any data point on the map will display the data relating to this point within the top row of the table (below the headings – highlighted in blue).

The National Heat Map

For projects based in England only, the mapping tool incorporates the [National Heat Map]. The heat map was created for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) by the Centre for Sustainable Energy, and provides high-level resolution mapping of heat demand by area. It is built from a bottom-up address level model of heat demand in England, and is based on published sub-national energy consumption statistics. The transparency of the heat map layer can be adjusted using the sliding scale underneath the background map options. As with other layer types, the heat map legend can be switched on and off using the ‘l’ tab on the left hand side of the screen. The image below provides a screenshot of the mapping tool where the National Heat Map layer is overlaid at a medium level of transparency.

A screenshot of the mapping tool with the National Heat Map layer visible

Saving your map

You can save your work by clicking on the ‘Save As’ button, typing a name for your map in the box and pressing enter. This will create a new URL specific to your map, which will include the file name. A small green tick should briefly appear next to the Save button when the map has been successfully saved.

You can continue to save your work manually by periodically clicking on the ‘Save’ button, or you can choose to switch on the autosave function. When the autosave function is turned on, a green tick will appear next to the ‘Auto’ button. If autosave is not switched on, a dark red cross will be shown.

Once a map has been saved, a ‘History’ button will appear next to the ‘Save As’ button. You can turn this on by clicking on it (a green tick will appear), and then you can use the slider to move between previously-saved versions of your map. To access a saved map you can either type the full URL into the address bar, or you can click on ‘Open’ and select your map from the drop down menu.

To move from a saved map to a new empty map you can click on ‘New’. You can also use the ‘Delete’ button to remove your map from the tool.

Process modelling tool

The STEEP process modelling tool can be accessed at the following URL: http://tools.smartsteep.eu/process-model/. This guidance assumes that the user already has a clear understanding of hierarchical process modelling methodology.

To add your first node to the page click ‘New’. You can amend the text within it directly. When you begin altering the text in the ‘Write about this node here’ section a small toolbar will pop up to allow you to format your text and insert URLs and images (note: images will need to already have their own URL – see section on adding images into wikis below). Left-clicking on the re-size handle on the bottom right hand side of the node will size the node to fit the text within it.

Clicking on the small circle to the right hand side of the node will create the next node in the hierarchy. At this point the tool will give you the option to choose the type of node you wish to create; ‘Process’ (P), ‘Issue’ (I) or ‘Option’ (O). The node at top of the hierarchy will always be a Process node.

Process nodes include a bar which can be used to represent interval probabilities. The likelihood of success of a process is represented as a green, red and white bar, where green represents evidence of success, red represents evidence of failure, and white represents uncertainty. When a process node is made up of sub-processes, this value is calculated by looking at those sub-processes. Otherwise, you may left-click and drag each of the coloured sections of the bar to change the evidence .

In the circumstance when a node has sub-processes, a red and green circle will appear on the line linking the two. This is a weighting for how much their evidence should affect the parent process. By left-clicking and dragging the red (‘necessity’) or the green (‘sufficiency’) sections of the circle you can adjust the proportion of each within the bar of the parent node.

Process nodes which have sub-processes have one final value controlling their interval probability. This is called dependency, and is shown as a black and white ring around the node junction. Dependency represents how related/overlapping the evidence about the sub-processes is. This can be modified by left-clicking and dragging the black portion of the ring to either extend or reduce the dependency level.

Issue nodes are blue. These will start off classified as ‘Open’, but you can change this to ‘Settled’ by clicking once on the text. Clicking again will re-classify the Issue as ‘Open’. Clicking on the circle on the right hand side of an Issue node will create a new Option node.

Option nodes are green. From here, you can choose to follow this node with either another Option node, or an Argument node. Argument nodes are purple and the text can be either set to ‘Supports’ or ‘Refutes’ by clicking on that text.

You can add another node at the same level in the hierarchy by clicking again on the same circle on the original node. You can move a node to a different position by dragging and dropping it, and can resize it using the arrow in the lower corner on the right hand side.

Clicking on the ‘Layout’ button will re-align and re-size the nodes in your model into a standard format. The +/- symbol at the top left of a node can be used to expand or collapse the nodes further down the hierarchy. You can also choose to rotate your model by clicking on the 'Rotate' button at the top of the screen.

The ‘Insert’ button allows you to directly link a separate saved process model onto a node within your current process model. Clicking on ‘Export’ will allow you to download a process model in .json format (JavaScript object notation file). These files can be used (by dragging and dropping) both within the STEEP tool itself and within Perimeta software.

The ‘Open’, ‘Save’ and ‘Delete’ functions work in the same way as those within the mapping tool.

The process modelling Help function can be accessed by clicking on the question mark in the top right hand corner of the screen.

Sharing your work

The simplest way to share your work is to copy and paste the URL of the saved map document or process model into an email. This will take the recipient of that email directly to the website, where they will be able to interrogate your data, amend it and save it as a new entry if they choose.

Alternatively, you can annotate the maps that you create or produce detailed reports within the STEEP wiki. These can then be shared directly with other stakeholders by simply emailing the URL, or they can be printed out as they are using the ‘Printable version’ link on the right hand side of the wiki page. You can return to the STEEP wiki from the mapping tool by using the following URL: http://tools.smartsteep.eu/wiki/Main_Page.

Creating a new report

To create a new report in the wiki you will need to start by creating a new wiki page. There are three different ways of doing this. Firstly, you can type the title of your new report in the relevant box on the wiki Main Page and then click on the ‘Add new energy plan’ button.

Alternatively, you can type the title of your proposed document into the search bar and click on the search icon. Assuming no page with the same name already exists, the wiki will provide you with a link to create the new page.

Creating a report using the search bar

Finally, you can also add a page using the URL. For example, to create a page entitled ‘very important report’, you could type the following text into your browser address bar:


When you press Enter, the wiki will provide you with a link to create the new page.

Creating a report using the URL

Once you are in your new page you can begin adding content. The most straightforward way to do this is to use the Visual Editor, which can be accessed either by clicking on the ‘Create’ tab or the ‘edit this page’ link. The Visual Editor toolbar is easy to use, although at the time of writing it is only in ‘beta’ form (i.e. still relatively new and in testing phase). If you therefore encounter any issues with the software you can save your work using the button at the far right hand side of the toolbar and then select ‘Switch to source editing’. This will allow you to edit at source, and you will need to use the correct notation in order to format text or add in tables and images. The bar above the text box includes tips on how to do this (you may need to click on ‘Help’ first), and if you require more information you can use the [wiki’s user manual].

Note: in Visual Editor you can also use keyboard shortcuts to format text (e.g. Ctrl + B will change your text to Bold).

Inserting a map or process model into a report on the wiki

Maps from the STEEP mapping tool can be added into any wiki page, either via the Visual Editor or by editing at source.

In the Visual Editor, you can click on ‘Insert’ and then select ‘Map’.  You can then type the title of your map in the search box or select it from the list underneath. The size of the inserted map can be altered using the width and height controls. You can also choose to display a specific version of your map by clicking ‘Lock to Version’. This means that anyone reading your document will always see the version of your map that you select, even if changes are made to your map document at a later date.

If you are working in the ‘Edit source’ tab you can add a map into your report using the following notation:

<data-map name=”name-of-map/”>

You can adjust the size of your map by typing, for example:

<data-map name=”tqez-report-figure-2” width="80%"/>

Process models can also be added into a report using either of these methodologies.

Adding images

To add an image to your report, you first need to upload the image to the wiki. To do this, click on ‘Upload file’ in the menu on the left hand side of the page. Click on the ‘Choose file’ button to select the file you want to use, and then click ‘Open’ and follow the instructions.

Once you have uploaded the image file, navigate back to the page you were working on (i.e. your report) and click on the ‘Edit source’ tab.

Type the name of the file you want to add to the page, using the prefix File: and double square brackets, for example:


You can also change the position and size of the image on the page and add a caption if you want to, for example:

[[File:An_image.jpg|thumb|300x300px|Caption caption caption]]

Adding tables

There are two ways of adding tables into your report.

The most straightforward method is to use the button on the right hand of the toolbar in the Edit source tab (you might need to click ‘Advanced’ first if the toolbar is not already showing).

Inserting a table in the Edit source tab

This will bring up a separate box, in which you can select the number of rows and columns and specify whether or not you wish to make the data in the table sortable. When you click ‘Insert’ the tool will add highlighted text into the frame, which you can then over-write to add your own headings and content.

Alternatively, you can add in the same text yourself using the following rules:

  • Begin your table with the line {| class="wikitable"
  • Set a table title by having a line with the title prefixed by |+
  • The heading row begins with an ! and each heading is separated by !!
  • After each row has been entered include a line with only |- this sets up the next row
  • Normal rows begin with | and each entry is separated by ||

A basic example of this is:

{| class="wikitable" 
|+ Title
! Heading 1 !! Heading 2 !! Heading 3
| example || example || example
| example || example || example  
| example || example || example 

This would produce the following table:

Heading 1 Heading 2 Heading 3
example example example
example example example
example example example

More complete guidance for making tables in the wiki can be found at: http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Tables.

Creating charts

Charts can be added into a wiki document by uploading them as images (see earlier section). To upload as an image you would create the chart in another program, save it as an image file and upload as with any other image file.

Alternatively, users who have experience of using ‘R’ programming language can also create charts within the wiki if they wish to. A brief description of how to do this is can be found on this page: Using R to create charts

Adding references

If you wish to add references to other sources you can click on the book icon immediately above the text box in the Edit source tab and write the reference text within the pop up box. If you then type the following at the bottom of the page this will automatically list all of the references that you have added:


Creating links to other web pages

To add the link to another webpage click on the Edit source tab and then copy and paste the full page address followed by the text that you want to appear on the page, separated by a space. For example, to create a link to the wiki main page with the text reading 'main page' you could write:

[http://tools.smartsteep.eu/wiki/Main_Page main page]

A note on collaborative working

Any registered user can access and edit your report, however it is possible to review the history of any page on the wiki and you can compare versions and reverse changes if you choose to via the ‘View History’ tab. Alternatively you can click on ‘permanent link’ within the menu on the left hand side of the wiki page. This will bring up additional options underneath the page title, allowing you to roll back and forwards through the revisions (a time and date is provided for each revision). Clicking ‘latest revision’ will return you to the most up to date version of the report.

It is also possible for users to insert comments into a page by using the ‘Insert’ function on the Visual Editor. Any saved comments appear on the document as an exclamation mark.

Future plans

During 2015 this version of the STEEP Stakeholder Engagement Platform will be tested with people who have a range of roles within the energy planning sector and we will use their feedback to help shape how we design the next version of the tool according to its most likely applications. An appropriate final user interface and the way the Platform is ‘packaged’ will be crucial in encouraging widespread collaborative engagement among stakeholders and to help ensure the tool has a lasting legacy once the STEEP project is complete.

There is also an intention to continue developing the functionality of the STEEP tool during the remainder of the project. In particular, the STEEP team are currently investigating the possibility of designing tools that can be used to provide indicative information on the integration of low or zero carbon technologies within a map. For example, this may include the ability to calculate estimated cost or energy savings for technologies such as solar PV or wind turbines, or alternatively for energy saving measures such as insulation. The tool may allow users to examine and modify the assumptions behind the calculations, compare different versions of plans using a key-frame animation, and view the progress of a plan over time.

Also, a table editor function has been developed by the MediaWiki team and recently released at part of Mediawiki 1.25. It will be added to the Steep platform in the coming months.

At this stage in the Platform development process all feedback is welcome. If you have any comments or suggestions for improvement please email them to:


This page was last modified on 6 October 2015, at 12:28.