Site appearance

FreeField allows you to customize its visual appearance. This page will explain the various settings you can use to change FreeField’s appearance.

Site name

You can change the site name from the “Site settings” section of the administration pages. The site name is displayed in the title bar of the browser on every page in FreeField. You can also change the sidebar header here - this is the text that appears in the blue field at the top of the sidebar on the map page, as well as on the administration pages. In the following screenshot, the site name is set to “FreeField” and the sidebar header set to “FREEFIELD.”



There are no restrictions on what characters you can use in these strings, or on how long they can be. You should, however, pick a sidebar header string that is short enough to fit within its box in the sidebar.

Using an image in the sidebar

It is possible to use an image in the sidebar header instead of text. To upload an image, go to the “Site settings” section of the administration pages and look for the “Sidebar image” setting. Upload your preferred image, then select a sidebar header style underneath the file upload box that shows the image instead of a text header.


Sidebar images should must be at least 130 px wide to ensure it is displayed clearly in 1:1-scaled browsers, though 400 px or higher is strongly recommended to ensure it also displays in high resolution on mobile devices. Images must be in PNG, GIF, JPEG or SVG format and must not exceed 128 KiB.

Message of the Day

You can set a Message of the Day, or MotD, that is displayed when users visit the FreeField map. You can configure this message to only display once, or to display every time a user visits. The MotD can be configured in the “Site settings” section of the administration pages.

Display mode

Set how the message should be displayed.


If the MotD is enabled, users can manually view the message by clicking on “Show MotD” in the sidebar on the map page.

Custom message title
By default, and if this field is left blank, the title of the MotD popup will display “Message of the Day.” You can override this default by entering a custom title here.
Message content

The message that is displayed in the MotD message popup. Markdown formatting is supported.


A preview of the message will be displayed in the preview box below the input field. This allows you to preview the message before you save it.

Search indexing

By default, FreeField will tell search engines such as Google and Bing to not index your installation. You can change this under the “Crawling” header in the “Site settings” section of the administration pages.

The setting that changes search indexing behavior is “Robots policy.” The possible values are as follows:

Allow all indexation and crawling (all)
Allows web spiders to crawl and index your page. If the spiders find links on the page, such as in the Message of the Day, they will attempt to follow those links and index the target pages as well.
Allow indexation, but do not follow page links (nofollow)
Like the above setting, web spiders can crawl and index the page, though they will no longer attempt to follow links found on the page.
Deny indexation, but allow following page links (noindex)
Web spiders may look for off-site links on the page that they can follow and index, though they will not index FreeField itself.
Deny all indexation and crawling (noindex,nofollow)
Web spiders and crawlers will not index FreeField, and are additionally told not to attempt following and indexing links that are found on the page.


This setting only applies to the FreeField index page, i.e. the map itself. All pages that require authentication are noindex,nofollow regardless of the setting you choose here.


Not all web crawlers respect this setting. Non-compliant or malicious spiders may still attempt to visit and index your site even if you have denied them access using this setting.

Group labels and colors

User groups can be assigned non-default labels and colors that change how they appear in various places in FreeField. For more information on how to do this, see Group settings.

PWA theming

If you use Progressive Web Apps (PWA), you can change the appearance of the PWA loading screen, icons and names before enabling PWA. Please see Progressive Web Apps (PWA) for more information.


The favicon is the icon that is displayed in the address bar and in bookmarks when using FreeField. You can change this icon in the “Appearance” section of the administration pages.

Favicons should be PNG, GIF or ICO files and should have square dimensions.

Title bar theme color

Some mobile browsers (notably Chrome) support changing the color of the address bar when visiting FreeField. You can change this color in the “Appearance” section of the administration pages.

The following screenshot shows the “Title bar theme color” set to the default dark blue background, r=8, g=38, b=58, in Chrome on Android.


Site theme color

The default FreeField theme color is light blue, but this can be freely configured to any color. The theme color is used in the sidebar, for links, and on some buttons on the user interface.


The default FreeField color is #1f8dd6 (r=31, g=141, b=214).


Choose a moderately light color to ensure UI elements have enough contrast and are shaded correctly. For reference, FreeField’s default color has brightness and saturation values of 84% and 86%, respectively.

UI and map themes

You can configure color themes for the user interface, as well as default map styles, in the “Appearance” section of the administration pages. The following settings are listed under the “Color theme” header on that section.

Administration interface
The color theme, dark or light, used on the administration pages. This setting affects everyone browsing the administration pages, and cannot be set individually.
User settings default
The color theme, dark or light, used for dialogs and the settings menu on the map page. Users can individually override this setting for their own devices unless the “Settings personalization” option is disabled.
Settings personalization
If checked, users are allowed to select a different color theme than the default above for their own devices.
Default map provider theme

The theme that is used for the map itself.


To see how each theme looks, either refer to the documentation for the map provider you are using, or simply test each map theme on the user settings for your own account. To do so, ensure that “Map personalization” below is enabled, then go to the main map page, click on “Settings” in the sidebar, select a different map theme, then click Save settings, and evaluate the appearance of each theme. FreeField comes with defaults that are chosen to be easily understood by users, and that work well in daylight conditions.

Map personalization
If checked, users are allowed to choose a different map theme than the default above for their own devices.

Map markers

FreeField comes with one set of map markers by default. If you have several sets installed, you can choose which one is the default for your users, and whether or not users are allowed to choose a different set for themselves. This can be configured under the “Map markers” heading of the “Appearance” section in the administration pages.

When you select a map marker theme, you will get a preview of all the icons the icon pack contains.

You can choose to deny users their ability to choose their own icon set. Keep in mind that users will only be able to choose from the installed icon sets either way, and cannot upload or use their own custom icons on your site.

In addition to a set of map markers, you can select a set of species markers, which are displayed in place of the standard grass “encounter” icon when the species rewarded by a research task is unambiguous and known. When the species rewarded by a research task is ambiguous or unknown, the encounter icon is displayed instead. FreeField comes with one species set by default; this can be configured from the same place as the standard map markers under the “Map markers” heading of the “Appearance” section in the administration pages.