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Using the Ruler to Measure and Set Map Scale

The Ruler tool takes real-world measurements and enables users to interactively set map scale within their drawing.

To Measure Distances:

Use the Ruler [m] tool to measure distances between two points. The ruler displays distance based on the currently defined scale and the drawing’s Display Units. Choose View > Display Units to change units between Points, Drawing Units, or Map Units. Double-click the ruler to open the File > Scale… dialog.

  1. Choose the Ruler [m] tool.
  2. Press and drag to place its beginning point, release to place its end point.
  3. Grab either end of the ruler to adjust its beginning and end points, or the middle of the ruler to reposition.

To Calibrate a Custom Map Scale:

To_Calibrate_a_Custom_Map_Scale.png

When tracing an existing map or aerial photograph, it is often easiest to calibrate a custom map scale based on the image that is being traced. You will need a known ground-distance from the image in order to calibrate the scale (on a scanned map or photograph, this can be an existing scale bar or a recognizable feature for which you know the length).

  1. Choose the Ruler [m] tool.
  2. Drag the ruler to place it between two known points. Initially the ruler shows an arbitrary distance.
  3. Do one of the following:
  • Double-click the ruler to open the scale calibration window.
  • Choose File > Scale… from the main menu.
  • Choose File > Map Size & Units… from the main menu.

4. Choose the map units from the drop-down list (for example, miles).
4. Enter the ground distance of the length measured (for example 24 miles) and the scale will be adjusted accordingly.

Ruler, scale bar, and drawing are now calibrated to the proper scale.

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Insert a Scale Bar

In Ortelius, a scale bar is a dynamic object, and will adjust based on changes in scale from the Map Size & Units window. The scale bar is automatically calibrated based on the drawing scale settings and placed on the active layer.

To Insert a Scale Bar:

To_Insert_a_Scale_Bar.png
  1. Choose a layer in which the scale bar is to be placed.
  2. Choose Edit > Insert Special > Scale Bar from the main menu.

Related Topics: Using the Ruler to Measure and Set Map Scale

To Format the Scale Bar:

To_Format_the_Scale_Bar.png
  1. Do one of the following:
  • Open the Object Inspector > Features pane. Use the Select [s] tool to select the scale bar.
  • Choose the Select [s] tool. Double-click the scale bar to select it and automatically open the Object Inspector > Features pane.

2. Edit the scale bar options as desired. The following settings are available:

  • TITLE – Show the scale title (map scale).
  • PRIMARY SCALE ENABLE – Show the primary scale. This item takes its units settings automatically from the current scale and index grid.
  • PRIMARY SCALE TITLE – The text label for the scale.
  • PRIMARY SCALE SKIP – Label skip interval. For example if 2 every other label is drawn, if 1 all labels are drawn.
  • PRIMARY SCALE DIVISIONS – Number of subdivisions of the primary scale.
  • SECONDARY SCALE TITLE – Show the secondary scale. This is a derivative of the primary scale.
  • SECONDARY SCALE TITLE – The text label for the scale.
  • SECONDARY SCALE UNITS – Select the units for which the map secondary scale is to be presented.
  • PRIMARY SCALE SKIP – Label skip interval. For example if 2 every other label is drawn, if 1 all labels are drawn.
  • SECONDARY SCALE DIVISIONS – Number of subdivisions of the secondary scale.
  • SCALE WIDTH – Vertical width of the scale bar.
  • EXTENDED MARKERS – Scale bar has extended markers when checked.
  • BARRED – Scale bar includes decorative barring when checked.
  • ALTERNATING COLORS – Scale bar uses alternating colors. Click the color wells to edit colors.

3. With the scale bar still selected, open the Fonts panel and edit text properties as desired.