MATLAB Examples

Graphic Scales

This example shows how to add graphic scales to maps and how to modify the display properties of graphic scales.

Graphic scale elements are used to provide indications of size even more frequently than insets are. These are ruler-like objects that show distances on the ground at the nominal scale of the projection. You can use the scaleruler function to add a graphic scale to the current map. You can check and modify the scaleruler settings using getm and setm. You can also move the graphic scale to a new position by dragging its baseline.

Use usamap to plot a map of Texas and surrounding states as filled polygons.

states = shaperead('usastatehi.shp', 'UseGeoCoords', true);
faceColors = makesymbolspec('Polygon',...
    {'INDEX', [1 numel(states)], ...
    'FaceColor', polcmap(numel(states))});
geoshow(states,'DisplayType', 'polygon', ...
    'SymbolSpec', faceColors)

Because polcmap randomizes patch colors, your display can look different.

Add a default graphic scale and then move it to a new location.

scaleruler on
setm(handlem('scaleruler1'), ...
    'XLoc',-6.2e5,'YLoc',3.1e6, ...

The units of scaleruler default to kilometers. Note that handlem accepts the keyword 'scaleruler' or 'scaleruler1' for the first scaleruler, 'scaleruler2' for the second one, etc. If there is more than one scaleruler on the current axes, specifying the keyword 'scaleruler' returns a vector of handles.

Obtain a handle to the scaleruler's hggroup using handlem and inspect its properties using getm.

s = handlem('scaleruler');
ans = 

  struct with fields:

            Azimuth: 0
           Children: []
              Color: [0 0 0]
          FontAngle: 'normal'
           FontName: 'Helvetica'
           FontSize: 9
          FontUnits: 'points'
         FontWeight: 'normal'
              Label: ''
                Lat: 29.6479
               Long: -101.7263
          LineWidth: 0.5000
          MajorTick: [0 200 400 600]
     MajorTickLabel: {4x1 cell}
    MajorTickLength: 20
          MinorTick: [0 25 50 75 100]
     MinorTickLabel: '100'
    MinorTickLength: 12.5000
             Radius: 'earth'
         RulerStyle: 'ruler'
            TickDir: 'up'
           TickMode: 'manual'
              Units: 'km'
               XLoc: -620000
               YLoc: 3100000
               ZLoc: []

Change the scaleruler's font size to 8 points.


Place a second graphic scale, this one in units of nautical miles.


Modify the tick properties of the second graphic scale.

setm(handlem('scaleruler2'), 'YLoc', 3.0e6, ...
    'MajorTick', 0:100:300,...
    'MinorTick', 0:25:50, 'TickDir', 'down', ...
    'MajorTickLength', km2nm(25),...
    'MinorTickLength', km2nm(12.5))

Experiment with the two other ruler styles available.

setm(handlem('scaleruler1'), 'RulerStyle', 'lines')
setm(handlem('scaleruler2'), 'RulerStyle', 'patches')