Map Layout Elements

In Global Mapper's Map Layout Editor, a Map Layout Element is a common cartographic object (legend, scale bar, title, etc) that will be a component of the final, printed map. Map Layout Elements can be either dynamic or static. A dynamic layout gets updated in response to changes in the map data. For example, a change to the bounds of the map data would correspondingly change the scale bar Map Layout Element. A static layout element is fixed and does not get updated with changes to the map data. For example, a text element would remain the same if the bounds of the map data were changed.

Both dynamic and static Map Layout Elements have properties that may be specified upon element setup, or edited by using the Edit Element option on a selected element, right-clicking on a selected element or clicking on the Properties... button on the Map Element Control center:

Transparency - The Transparency of elements may be adjusted on the General tab of the dialogs for either inserting or editing an element.

Draw order - The draw order is used to determine the order in which elements appear (draw) in the map layout.

Position - This is the position of the element within the layout, it can be defined for an element by adjusting the absolute X, Y placement in the Properties dialog for the selected element, or by a choosing the option to align the element relevant to margins or another selected element.

Size - The size of the element within the layout space - defined in inches. If a border has been added to the element, the size could be increased. Check the option Preserve Aspect Ratio to maintain the height and width proportions. If this option is checked and the height or width is adjusted, the other value will update accordingly.

Frame - A border and fill for a Map Layout Element can be added or edited on the General tab of the dialog for editing an element. To change the border or fill style go to Style... The Select Area Style dialog will be displayed. To set the background color, choose the 'Solid Fill' fill pattern and use the Color... button to pick the color. To set a border style, use the controls in the Border Style section.

Element Specific Properties - These are defined when a given element is inserted into the Map Layout Editor, and are unique to each respective element type.

Element properties may also be edited in the Map Element Control Center (below) by selecting the element then clicking on the Properties... button. These editable Properties... are the same input properties used to originally define the selected element in the Map Element Control Center offers a centralized location, making it easier to select individual elements in busy Map Layouts, and to easily review which elements are grouped.

Editing options available in the Map Element Control Center are also available on the Map Layout Editor Toolbar or in the Map Layout Menu Options. Depending on the element type, the Properties for the element will show in an edit dialog. Selected elements can also be hidden or deleted in the Map Element Control Center using the Hide or Delete buttons.

Map Elements can also be grouped, or aligned to another element or to the Map Layout's margin. Both Dynamic and Static Map Layout Elements can be added from the main menu or toolbar. Elements may be added using the Insert > Element commands found on the Map Layout toolbar or in the file menu. Both the setup and edit dialogs for all elements contain options for setting up or adjusting frames, background color, and transparency and element transparency.

Dynamic Layout Elements include:

North Arrow - North arrows indicate the orientation of the map, changes to the rotation of the map will be reflected in the orientation of the North arrow.

Legend - A legend will explain the meaning of the colors and symbols used to in the workspace to represent features on the map. When information changes in the primary workspace that impacts the legend (ie: change style for Feature Type) or elevation legend (ie: change in shader used) element(s), the (elevation) legend will update.

Scale Bar - Scale bars provide a visual measurement for features and distances on the map using a line divided into parts and labeled with the ground length. This element is dynamic, if the bounds of the map are changed, the scale bar adjusts and remains correct.

Static Layout Elements include:

Text Elements- Allows you to add text 'boxes' to your Map Layout. Text elements can be made dynamic by using Macros. Use the 'Select Macros button' to insert variable text. The Macros will appear in text editing window inside '%'s indicating it is a variable. Variable text that can be inserted includes:

Text macros can be inserted along with other static text. For example, assuming the scale is set to 100000, the text: "Map Scale: 1:%SCALE%" will become "Map Scale: 1:100000" on the page layout.

Image Elements- Adds images to the Map Layout. these may be added using the Insert > Image Element command.

Margins- Defines the border of your map, and the space that will fall outside the map. May be clicked and dragged to edit.

Grouped Elements- Elements that have been grouped together, frequently to retain the relative position to each other and to share alignment.

The blue arrows on the right of the Map Element Control Center will move select layers to the top/bottom of the Draw Order. Those elements on the bottom, appear on the 'top' draw layer.

To edit the properties or positioning of selected elements, right-click on the selected element to access the Edit Element menu which will contain the following options, regardless of element type:



Align to Margin
Align with Element


Map View Element

The Map View Element is the object that contains the loaded spatial data. The parameters for this are first set when creating a New Map Layout. Right Click on the Map View Element to Align to Margin or Align with Element. The Map View Element can not be deleted, or copied and pasted. To edit the Map View properties right click on the Map View Element and go to Properties... or click the Properties... button in the Map Element Control Center.

The Element Properties window will allow you to change data displayed in the Map View Element, add a Grid, control the background, frame and transparency, and set the position and size of the Map View Element on the page.

Map View - Change the Bounds or Scale initially set in the New Map Layout definition. The map center can be chosen using the Select... button or type in coordinates using the display coordinate system (Global Projection).

Grid Frame - Create a Grid on the map layout in either Latitude/ Longitude or the current display projection.

Choose from the following Grid Types:

No Grid - No marks get drawn on the map frame. When this is chosen, all of the other data entry fields on the property page will be disabled.

Latitude/Longitude Grid - tick marks are drawn where meridians and parallels meet the map frame, a.k.a., Graticule. Labels for the tick marks will be drawn using the current Configuration setting for Position Display Format.

Current Projection Grid - tick marks are drawn using ground units in the current projection.

Choose from the following Spacing options:

Automatic spacing determines the grid spacing based on the bounds being used to draw the map.

Custom spacing uses the spacing value that the user enters in the associated edit field. For a Latitude/Longitude grid, the value is in decimal degrees, and for a Current Projection grid, the value is in the ground units of the current projection.


Set the Format and Style for the grid:

Choose the color for the map frame and tick marks using the Select... button next to Tick Mark Color.

Choose the orientation for tick mark labels from among the following options:

All Horizontal - all labels are horizontal.

All Vertical - all labels are vertical.

Parallel to Frame - labels on the top and bottom are horizontal, and labels on the side of the frame are vertical.

Perpendicular to Frame: labels on the top and bottom are vertical, and labels on the side are horizontal.

Choose whether or not to have the unit abbreviation appended to the tick label using the check box. This only applies to the Current Projection grid.

Choose the Font for the Grid labels by clicking the Label Font... button.

The Align Labels with tick marks setting aligns the labels with the tick marks as follows: