What Is a Map Axes?

When you create a map, you can use one of the Mapping Toolbox™ built-in user interfaces (UIs), or you can build the graphic with MATLAB® and Mapping Toolbox functions. Many MATLAB graphics are built using the axes function:

h = axes(...)

Mapping Toolbox functions include an extended version of axes, called axesm, that includes information about the current coordinate system (map projection), as well as data to define the map grid and its labeling, the map frame and its limits, and other properties. Its syntax is similar to that of axes:


The axesm function without arguments brings up a UI that lists all supported projections and assists in defining their parameters. You can also summon this UI with the axesmui function once you have created a map axes.

You can also list all the names, classes, and ID strings of Mapping Toolbox map projections with the maps function.

Axes created with axesm share all properties associated with regular axes, and have additional properties related to projections, scale, and positioning in geographic coordinates. See the axes and axesm reference pages for lists of properties.

You can place many types of objects in a map axes, such as lines, patches, markers, scale rulers, north arrows, grids, and text. You can use the handlem function and its associated UI to list these objects and obtain handles to them. See the handlem reference page for a list of the objects that can occupy a map axes and how to query for them.

Map axes objects created by axesm contain projection information in a structure. For an example of what these properties are, type

h = axesm('MapProjection','mercator')

and then use the getm function to retrieve all the map axes properties:

p = getm(h)

For complete descriptions of all map axes properties, see the axesm reference page. For more information on the use of axesmui, refer to the axesmui reference page.

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