Setting Up a New Map

Set your drawing canvas dimensions, drawing units, map scale, and more, including the ability to save settings as your personal default for new drawings.

The Drawing Setup Dialog

Open the Drawing Setup dialog by choosing File > Map Size & Units… from the main menu.

For best results, consider your purpose and requirements early. On any given project, determining from the beginning what file format and layout size is required is a best practice – particularly if you have publication standards that must be met.

Related: Index Grid and Graph Paper

1. To Change Drawing Units

Choose your preferred drawing unit from the drop-down menu (millimeters, centimeters, meters, inches, feet, yards, points). This is the units used with the drawing canvas, which is different from ‘Units of Measure’ associated with the map scale.

2. Edit the Map Canvas Size

Under ‘Map Size’, enter the width (w) and height (h) of your desired drawing canvas size in the current drawing units.

HINT: The Export dialog provides additional options to scale the size of your exported drawing.

3. Set Map Area Margins

Map Area Margins effectively clip content to a map area, providing extra space around the map area (i.e., the margins) for items such as a map title, scale or legend. Map Area Margins define a sub-area on your drawing canvas within which you will draw your map and graphics. This is also the area to which graph paper and index grid will be applied, if you use them.

Under the ‘Map Margins’ section, click into the the boxes to enter the top, bottom, left, and right Map Margins (margins are displayed in the current drawing units). For example, 0 (zero) map area margin will size the map area the same as the drawing canvas (no margin).

HINT: To make content in the margins visible on a layer, for example to show a title and scale, uncheck ‘Layer > Clip Objects To Map Area’ in the main menu.

4. To Access the System Page Setup Dialog

Click the ‘Page Setup…’ button for easy access to the Apple system Page Setup dialog for printed works. Ue the dialog to change printer paper size, type and orientation. Alternatively, choose ‘File > Page Setup…’ from the main menu.

5. Subtract Paper Margins

When creating a drawing for the printed page, your drawing area may be slightly larger than your paper size due to paper printer margins around the edges. Optionally, check ‘Subtract paper margins’ to subtract your printer page margins from the entered drawing canvas size. Paper margins are based on your current printer settings.

HINT: Alternatively, choose ‘Fit To Single Page‘ from the Print dialog to shrink to fit any drawing to the current printer paper size.

6. Set Map Units

Ortelius drawings can use “real-world” units of measure. Choose the map units  that you want to use for measuring on-the-ground distances from the drop-down list.

HINT: Imperial units, such as feet and miles, are common in the United States, metric units, such as meters and kilometers, are common internationally.

7. Set Map Scale

Whether it’s your backyard or an entire continent, when you create a map you are representing features on the earth. Clearly, in order to represent the features on a map, they must be reduced – or scaled – from their true size to fit on the map canvas.

Map scale is often defined as the ratio of a single unit of distance on the map to the corresponding distance on the ground (for example, one inch on the map may represent one mile on the ground).

Choose File > Map Size & Units… or choose File > Scale… from the main menu.

Then do one of the following:

  1. Under the ‘Map Scale and Units’ section, choose a common map scale from the drop-down list, or
  2. Enter the numbers manually to represent map scale.

HINT: When drawing features using map units, Ortelius automatically expresses distance in largest whole units in the ruler. For example, a distance over 5280-feet is expressed as miles. To express distance only in the set units, uncheck ‘Always express in largest available units’ in the map scale dialog.

HINT: Alternatively, see Ruler and Scale to learn how to calibrate the map scale from a known object on your map.

8. Pre-scale Symbols and Styles

Drawing Setup allows a “pre-scale” to be set which is applied to styles and symbols when they are placed on your map. The default value is 100% and typically does not need to be changed.

The value is a property of the document, and is used to work with certain mapping specifications where symbols and styles are scaled up in certain situations. For example, some mapping standards have specifications for symbol sizes depicted at a certain scale (such as 100% symbol size with 1:15,000 scale maps), and larger sizes when the scale is enlarged (such as 150% symbol size with 1:10,000 scale maps). In this instance, the pre-scale setting can be changed to 150% and will apply to the entire document.

9. Simulated Paper

Simulated paper set the background color or texture for the entire drawing to simulate the appearance of printer paper you are intending to use.

Click the ‘Simulated Paper’ drop-down list and do one of the following:

  • Click a preset background image, or
  • Click ‘Color…’ to open the Color Picker and choose a background color, or
  • Click ‘None’ to remove a background color or image.

10. Save As Default Settings

Click the ‘Save As Default’ button to set the entered options as your new personal default for new documents.

To View Different Display Units While Drawing

A document’s measurement display units can be viewed as points, drawing units, and map units. The setting is persistent, is saved with the document, and affects display of all user interface-related to distances, as well as the display of dimensions.

  1. Choose the Geometry Tab.
  2. Choose the document’s display units from the drop-down list (Points, Drawing Units, and Map Units).

Graph Paper

See Graph Paper for more information.