Using the Map Layout Editor

While map printing is not as important to the distribution or sharing of geospatial data as it once was, it is still a significant component of the GIS workflow for many companies and organizations. Reflecting this importance, Global Mapper’s Map Layout functionality has been continually updated to enable the creation of professional-quality printed or PDF maps. In this exercise, we will revisit the parcel data, to which we will apply a thematic visualization before creating a poster with the necessary layout elements.

  1. Unload any currently loaded layers using the Ctrl+U keyboard shortcut.
  2. Use the Ctrl+O keyboard shortcut to open the Black Mountain Parcels.shp from the following location: *Intro_to_Global_MapperDataParcels.
  3. In the Control Center, double-click on the parcels layer to open the Vector Options dialog box.
  4. Select the Area Styles tab, click the Load Style File button, and browse to the following file:
    *Intro to Global MapperDataParcelsLanduse.gm_layer_style.
    The file contains preconfigured attribute-based color assignments for the Land Use attribute.
  5. Select this file and click the Open button to see a list of land-use types and their associated colors.
  6. Click the OK button in the Vector Options dialog box to apply these colors to the map.
  7. From the File toolbar, click the Map Layout Editor button found on the File toolbar.
  8. In the New Layout Editor dialog box, set the following:
    • Paper Size: Poster
    • Orientation: Landscape
    • Bounds: Click the Select button, then click the Draw a Box button and create a box slightly larger than the extent of the map.

      Note that after setting the paper size and bounds, the scale setting is no longer available as an option. Only two of these three options can be established when setting up a layout.
  9. Click the OK button to view the map in the context of the Map Layout Editor.

    Next, we will adjust the size and alignment of the map on the page and add lat/long tick marks around the edges.
  10. Right-click on the map and choose Properties.
  11. Select the Position and Size tab and set the following:
    • Width: 32
    • Preserve Aspect Ratio: Check this box
  12. Select the Grid Frame tab and set the following:
    • Grid Type: Latitude/Longitude Grid
    • Spacing: Custom: 0° 00′ 30.0000″
    • Tick Mark Label Orientation: Parallel to Frame
    • Label Font: Verdana 18 point
  13. Click the OK button.
  14. Right-click on the map and choose Align to Margin > Center and Align to Margin > Middle.

    Next, we will add several layout elements to the map. Each of these is accessible using the right-click menu, from the Insert menu, or using the Add a New Element… button.
    • Text Element
      Text: Type ‘Black Mountain Land Use’
      Justification: Center
      Font: Verdana 48 Point
      General tab: Uncheck Draw Frame…
      Click the OK button and position the text box towards the upper left corner of the layout.
    • Scale Bar Element
      Font: Verdana, 18 point
      Tick Mark Spacing: Specified Distance and Units: 500 meters
      Tick Mark Labels: Label all tick marks
      General tab: Uncheck Draw Frame…
      Click the OK button and position the scale bar towards the lower left corner of the layout. Drag to enlarge.
    • Map Legend Element
      Type: …Based on Loaded Vector Types
      Number of Columns: 1
      Header: Land Use – Verdana, 24 point
      Style Font: Verdana, 24 point
      Click the OK button and position the legend towards the upper right corner of the layout. Drag to resize as necessary.

      As well as manually dragging and resizing each element in the layout, there are several options for aligning selected elements with each other, snapping them together, or making them the same size. Each of these options is available by right-clicking.

      Finally, we will simulate the printing process by creating a PDF of the map
  15. From the File menu in the Map Layout Editor, choose Export to GeoSpatial PDF.
  16. Leaving the default settings, save a PDF file called Black Mountain Land Use in your My Maps folder.
  17. In Windows Explorer, browse to your My Maps folder and double-click on the PDF to open it in your default PDF reader.
  18. In Global Mapper, close the Map Layout Editor and save a new workspace called Black Mountain Parcels Layout in your My Maps folder.
    Note that the layout is saved with the workspace. Clicking the Map Layout Editor button will show the layout design as it was previously left.

If necessary a template can be saved from the File menu in the Map Layout Editor. This preserves all of the page layout and design elements except for the map itself. When creating a similar map in the future, selecting the saved template in the New Layout Options dialog box will eliminate most of the required setup steps and will create a map that matches the original.

The Map Layout Editor includes the option to create a multi-page layout, with coverage for each page based on a tiling system or on the geographic extent of multiple selected polygons

  • Global Mapper’s Map Layout Editor provides professional-quality design and printing functionality.
  • Multiple design elements can be added to the map display, including a title or other text, a legend, and a scale bar.
  • Maps can be sent directly to a connected printer or plotter, or can be exported to an image file or PDF.
  • Click here for more information on Global Mapper’s Map Layout Editor.

This concludes the Printing the Map and Sharing Data lesson. See how much you remember by taking this three-question quiz.