Map Points of Interest with Smart Sequence Markers

When you need to map points of interest with numbered placemarkers, look no further than Ortelius’ smart Sequence Markers. These symbols save time and sanity. Place Sequence Markers just like any other symbol and they’ll automatically number themselves 1,2,3… (we should call them magic).

Our customers have been finding Sequence Markers really useful, and with their suggestions we’ve made Sequence Markers even better. This tutorial demonstrates some of the advanced (and super easy) Sequence Marker features.

Placing Sequence Markers


Use Sequence Markers over your own custom maps, aerial photographs, even scanned maps and drawings.

Like all symbols, quickly find Sequence Markers in the Symbols palette by typing “sequence” into the palette’s search bar. Note, you won’t see any numbers when viewing the markers in the palette. Choose a marker and place it using the Symbol Stamp tool. Markers automatically number themselves 1, 2, 3… in the order in which they are placed.

Instantly Re-Order the Sequence


Wow. Sometimes you change your mind pretty fast. Shouldn’t you be able to change the order of Sequence Markers just as quickly? Ortelius provides several ways to re-order sequence numbers to fit the way you work best.

Delete re-orders the sequence
After placing a series of Sequence Markers, if a marker in the series is deleted the remaining markers will automatically renumber so there are no gaps in the sequence.

Grouping re-orders sequence
Grouping two or more markers in the sequence will automatically renumber the grouped markers, placing the grouped markers at the end of the sequence.

Use Object Inspector to re-order sequence
Change a the sequence of a marker from the Object Inspector – Features pane. Select a marker and use the up and down arrows under “Sequence” to edit the selected marker’s sequence number.

Edit > Symbols > Sequence to re-order sequence
Changes to the sequence can be made by selecting a marker and choosing options from Edit > Symbols > Sequence in the main menu. Options include “Move to start,” “Move to end,” “Move backward,” and “Move forward.”

Note, as with any symbol you can also change the scale of sequence markers from the Object Inspector – Features pane.

On-the-Fly Sequence Type


Need numeric, roman numerals, alphabetic? No problem.

Sequence markers can be switched to different types, such as numeric (1,2,3…), alphabetical (A,B,C…), roman numeral (I, II, III…), just choose the type in the Object Inspector – Features pane when a sequence marker is selected. Alternatively, choose Edit > Symbol > Sequence > and choose the type. Changing the marker type applies to all markers in the active sequence.

Import Shapefiles

How do I Import Existing Map Information?

Professionals often use digital mapping software called “geographic information systems” (GIS) to manage and analyze mapped data. These data, in the form of Shapefiles*, can be imported from other sources into Ortelius from Menu > File > Import Shapefile with some limitations.

Shapefiles are map data built and maintained by GIS professionals. Shapefiles provide vector map graphics and contain attribute information. For example, a Shapefile of a state with its counties may contain attribute information including the county names, population, and size of area. Ortelius map templates are created from Shapefile map data, consisting of the graphic map objects and the attribute information “behind the map.” Please note, Ortelius does not support georeferencing or re-projection, therefore manual registration is required to align more than one Shapefile.

Required Files

A Shapefile is actually a collection of at least three files with ‘.shp” “.shx” and “.dbf” file extensions. All three files are required to actually use a basic Shapefile, and they must be identically named (except the file extension) and stored in the same folder/directory.  The “.shp” file is the Shapefile that gets opened in Ortelius, the other files are referenced.  A handful of other files may also be included, such as “.prj” for the projection information. Most GIS data providers will zip the Shapefile files for download.

Group Objects

Ortelius Standard Edition places the Shapefile as a set of separate graphical vector objects. To move and re-size the map layer, group the objects first.

With the new Shapefile layer active, choose Edit > Select All from the main menu. Next, choose Object > Group.

Move and Resize

Now the Shapefile objects can be moved into position and resized using the group’s object handles. To maintain the aspect ratio when re-sizing, be sure to hold the SHIFT key down on the keyboard.

As Shapefiles are imported as separate graphical vector objects in the Ortelius Standard Edition, use move and resize to manually position and align map features.


Once the map is in the desired position, ungroup the Shapefile to work with the object features, including adding styles and labels.

Repeat as Necessary

Use caution when adding more than one Shapefile. Ortelius Standard Edition places each new Shapefile as a set of graphical objects on their own layer in the map projection defined by the data provider. This means that even when resized and repositioned, the map layers still may not align correctly. This is not an error of the Ortelius software, rather it is based on the way the Shapefile data were provided.

Performance may suffer with large file sizes and is a limitation with the Ortelius Standard Edition. Turning on “Drawing Quality Modulation” in the Ortelius > Preferences menu substitutes bitmaps for vectors when rapid redrawing is needed, such as when scrolling, dragging and resizing, and may speed performance.