Introduction to Common Map Properties

Map properties common to all layers are located in the Properties window when the Map object is selected in the Contents window. These properties include the view, scale, limits, frame, and coordinate system. If there are multiple map layers in a map frame, the changes made on the View, Scale, Limits, Frame, and Coordinate System pages apply to all layers. The attributes and options on the Info page apply only the map. Each layer can have separate attributes.


Maps can be displayed at any orientation using the View page. The Projection, Rotation, Tilt, and Field of view of a map are changed on the View page.


Map scale controls the size of a map on the printed page. This is accomplished by defining a correspondence between length on the map (in map units) and length on the printed page (in page units). For example, one mile on the map corresponds to one inch on the page. The map scale is set using the Scale page. The map scale for the X axis and the map scale for the Y axis can be set in unison (proportionally), or they can be set independently. On 3D wireframes and 3D surfaces, the map scale for the Z axis can also be set.


Map limits are defined as the X and Y extents of the map. When a map is first created, the map limits are set to the minimum and maximum X and Y coordinate values in the grid file, base map, or data file used to create the map. You can accept these as the limits for the map, or you can specify custom limits using the Limits page. Custom limits are useful when plotting only a portion of a map.


In addition to adding color to maps, a background can be added behind the map. The Frame page sets the background fill properties and the border line properties for a map. The map background limits coincide with the axis limits on a contour, base, post, and vector maps. On 3D wireframes, the map background refers to the bottom plane of the base. On 3D surfaces, the background color is blended with the surface.

Coordinate System

The map coordinate system is the target coordinate system for the map. A coordinate system has a defined projection and datum. If some map layers are using a different coordinate system, the layer is converted to the map coordinate system. The map's Coordinate System is the new coordinate system that you want to use to project your X, Y coordinate data. 3D surface maps and wireframe maps do not have a coordinate system associated with them. When the map Coordinate System changes, these maps do not change.


Two different Info pages provide information for objects in a map or for a grid layer in a map: Info - Objects and Info - Grids. In addition to read-only information, comments can be added, deleted, and edited to clarify information contained in the map.

See Also

Map View

Map Scale

Map Limits

Map Frame

Map Coordinate System

Info Page - Objects

Info Page - Grids

Introduction to Map Layers

Introduction to Color Spectrums

Introduction to Level Files