Questionnaire backgrounds and layout

You can use four different types of backgrounds in questionnaires:


You can use the same background on all pages of the questionnaire or have different backgrounds for different pages. In the main survey settings (pictured in the image below), you decide which images, interactive images and maps you want to use in the questionnaire and choose which type of background will be used by default. You can then decide which background to use on which page in the page settings.

When you first start drafting a questionnaire, we will automatically add a map (Mapbox Streets) as the background. If you don't want to use it, you can delete it in the Background tab (found in Survey settings).


Set up a background map

There are three different types of maps in Maptionnaire:

System maps

Maptionnaire comes with a number of pre-uploaded map options provided by Mapbox and MapTiler. You can use as many of them in your questionnaire as you want or combine them with your own maps. Mapbox Streets is included in every questionnaire by default, but you can switch off its use here.


If you want to use another background map than those provided by Maptionnaire by default, you can choose it here. You can also browse all the maps already filed to your team's Materials.

Map overlays

Map overlays are map layers that contain only certain features (such as roads or houses) and that are layered on top of a basemap. Map overlays include ESRI shapefiles and GeoJSONs. To add map overlays to your questionnaire, you can upload the map file here or use the maps already uploaded to your Materials. Then, add the map overlay in the same way as the basemap but to the Map overlays section. 

Note that you can also create your own GeoJSON overlays directly in Maptionnaire with the Hand-drawn layer function.



  1. Upload the map(s) you want to use in the editor or choose a map from your existing Materials or the default system maps.
  2. Go to the Questionnaire settings. Under the General tab, choose Interactive map as the questionnaire background style.
  3. Under Maps, find the type of map you want to use and click the field next to Add layer a drop-down menu with all your available map options. Choose the map you want to use.
  4. The name of the map should appear above the field with a series of boxes behind it. The boxes represent the pages in your questionnaire. Tick the ones where you want to make the map available for use.
  5. If you want to set a default location/zoom level for the map, you can do this in the page settings. You can choose to use just one default location (in which case you need to set the map on the first questionnaire page and the other pages will copy it) or you can set different default locations on different pages (see instructions in Set up different backgrounds on different pages on this page).


Set up an interactive image background


Interactive images do not contain any georeferenced information, but are images that you may want the respondents to comment on by placing map points or drawing on top of the image. These could be for example building blueprints (such as in the example image) or area plans. The recommended dimensions for the image are max. 1920×1080 (the most common laptop screen size), min. 1280×800 (budget laptop screen size). The recommended max. size for the image file is 500 kb.

  1. As with the basemaps and the map overlays, you can either add the image file directly to the questionnaire editor, or choose one of the image files already available in Materials (under the Images tab).
  2. Go to the questionnaire settings. Under the General, choose Interactive image as the questionnaire background.
  3. You can choose the image(s) under the Maps tab. The last section of the tab is for interactive images. Follow the above instructions for maps to set up an interactive image. Please note that the Images section under the Style tab is only for static background images, not for interactive images.

Set up a background image (non-interactive)

These are static background images used primarily to create the visual appearance of the questionnaire. The recommended dimensions for the image are max. 1920×1080 (the most common laptop screen size), min. 1280×800 (budget laptop screen size). The recommended max. size for the image file is 500 kb.

  1. If you want to use a background image, you can add the image file directly to the questionnaire settings or choose an existing image file from Materials
  2. Go to the questionnaire settings and choose the General tab. In Questionnaire backgrounds, choose Background image.
  3. Choose the Style tab. In Background images, click the box next to Add image. A drop-down menu with your images should appear, allowing you to choose the image you want to use.
  4. The chosen image will be shown above the Add image box, with a series of checkboxes following it. These signify questionnaire pages; you can set the image to be a background option on all pages or only on some. If you want to use more than one image background in your questionnaire, select all of them here. The image that is listed first will be used as default background if Background image is chosen as the style of the questionnaire. You can change the order of the images by dragging and dropping.

Set up a color background

To set up a block color background, go to Questionnaire settings and the tab General. In Questionnaire background, choose Color background. Then, go to the Style tab and simply click Set and choose the color from the color selector or by using a hex code.


Set up different backgrounds on different pages
  1. Choose all the maps and images that you want to use in the questionnaire as outlined in the instructions above. Under the  General tab, choose the background style that you want to use on the first page of the survey. Any choices made in page settings will automatically override the background settings made in the questionnaire settings, and this is how you can set different backgrounds on different pages.
  2. Go to the questionnaire page and access the Settings tab. Choose which type of background should be used on this page.
  3. Once you have chosen the type of background that you want to use, you can select the specific image, color, or map and set its default view for this page. If you want to use a static background image or a color, you can do this in the Page settings. If you want to set up a map or a different map location, or an interactive image, you can do this under the Maps tab.

Tip! You can set different map layers and default locations on different questionnaire pages. Go to Page settings, and select the Maps tab. All the map options you want to be available on a page must first be chosen in the general questionnaire settings before they appear in the page settings. Here you can choose the map you want to use on this page and set its default view.

Layout and alignment

You can choose between two widths for the area or 'question box' contains the questionnaire elements. Regardless of the width you choose, it won't affect the way that the questionnaire is presented on a mobile phone. You can set the layout in the Style tab.

You can also decide on the alignment of the 'question box' on pages where a non-interactive image background or a color background is used. With maps and interactive images, the box is always on the left side of the screen. 

When the questionnaire is accessed with a mobile phone, we automatically use a different, mobile-friendly layout.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What coordinate system (CRS) does Maptionnaire support?

We support WGS84 (EPSG:4326). The only exception to this rule are shapefiles and WMTS maps, with which we can support most coordinate systems (if you are using a WMTS in another CRS than WGS84, send us a message to You can find map type specific instructions here.

I want to use a map/image/color on the first page of my survey, and have added it in questionnaire and page settings as instructed. I have double-checked the settings, but the problem persists. 

First, always double-check that you have done everything correctly as per instructions. If the problem persists, check what you have chosen as the questionnaire background (under the General tab in the questionnaire's settings). Set this to match the type of background you want to have on the first page, i.e. if you want to use a background image, choose Background image. Then re-publish your questionnaire.

Please also make sure that the image you are using is not too large. We recommend keeping background images at max. 500 kb to ensure an optimal browsing experience.

If the problem still persists, please contact our support team at

What's the difference between a background image and an interactive image?

A background image is a static background image that scaled to fit your screen. Its purpose is to solely illustrate the survey. An interactive image, on the other hand, can be zoomed in and out by the respondent and is therefore not scaled to fit the screen. The idea with the interactive image is that respondents can add pins on it just like they can on a map. It can be very useful e.g. if you want your respondents to comment on an architect's vision on a plan. 

What are the recommended dimensions for image backgrounds?

For image backgrounds, the recommended dimensions are max. 1920×1080px (the most common laptop screen size) and min. 1280×800px (budget laptop screen size). The recommended maximum size for the background image file is 500 kb.

I added a background image but it doesn't scale to fit the screen and has white borders. What did I do wrong?

You have most likely set it as an interactive image instead of a background image. Double-check your questionnaire's settings, but if the problem persists, contact

Can I use my own shapefiles?

Yes, you can! For more information on the specific requirements for the shapefile, please see this article.

Can I use maps from our city's map service?

Most likely yes. Please see our articles on how to use different map types in Maptionnaire for further information.

Why is my WMS layer not working?

This could be due to several reasons. Here are some of the most common:

  • Check that the server URL is correct. 
  • Check that the WMS is in or supports the coordinate system WGS84: 4326.
  • Choose a map layer(s) that you want to show. You can do this under Layers in the map editing window in Materials.
  • Check that you are zoomed in close enough. Sometimes WMS servers only produce map tiles when you zoom in closer to the location on the map.
  • Check with the person(s) responsible for that WMS server that the server allows web-based platforms such as Maptionnaire to use its maps. What they should be looking at are CORS settings and specifically the 'Access-Allow-Control-Origin' setting, which should be set to "*".

How many map layers can you have in one survey?

As many as you want! However, if you have many map layers that you want to use in one map view, it may be smarter to merge some of them into fewer layers. Otherwise the survey may become very heavy to load. We recommend keeping the total size of map layers on one page to max. 500 kb-1Mb.

Is it possible to use raster maps like GeoTIFFs?

Currently, it is not possible to upload GeoTIFFs to Maptionnaire. However, you can take your raster maps to Mapbox, and add them to a WMS layer there, and then add the resulting Mapbox map to our platform.

I would like to add features on the map that respondents can click for more information and questions. Is this possible?

Yes it is, see the Click maps element for more information.

How can I set a default/starting location for the map?

You can do this by going to Page settings and to the Maps tab. Then, simply zoom to the map view you want and click Set. This location will be repeated on each page featuring the map if you don't set another starting location for them.

I would like to use a shapefile that contains several public transport routes. I would like these routes to be in different colors. Is this possible?

Yes it is, if you have included each route as a separate feature within the shapefile. You can then choose the color for each route when you upload the shapefile to Maptionnaire.

Why do you not offer Google Maps by default anymore?

The previous version of Maptionnaire had some of Google's maps as default system maps. Unfortunately, due to Google's terms of service, we can no longer offer this option, as it would mean that you could use only Google Maps in Maptionnaire. For more information, please see Google Maps' Terms of Service (see in particular #3 License).

I'm trying to add a shapefile but it doesn't seem to be working?

First, check that the shapefile contains all the correct files and is in a compressed .ZIP format and that the shapefile is in the coordinate system WGS84. If these are correct, then the problem may be caused by a z-dimension in the shapefile. To fix this, simply remove it from the file. On QGIS, you can do this by saving the features again, and in the section called Geometry choosing the feature type (point, line or polygon) instead of Automatic. Finally, uncheck the z-dimension.

I would like to create a map with points (or lines or areas), but don't know how to use a GIS programme. What can I do?

Not to worry, for this purpose we have created the Draw map function. It allows you to place features on a map and thus create a map layer (in GeoJSOn format) that you can add to your surveys.

Can I feature labels on a shapefile/GeoJSON?

Yes you can, simply define the Label key (the name of the column in the file that contains the names of the different features) in the file's settings when you upload it to Maptionnaire.

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  • Greetings,

    When using an interactive background image, how do you set the color background that will appear behind the interactive background image when zooming out?


  • Hi Hans!


    Unfortunately, it is not possible to use an interactive image and a color background on the same page at the moment. We will however keep this idea in mind when further developing our service!

    Best regards,

    Maptionnaire Support


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