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Map and Frame Limits

The Mapping Toolbox™ map and frame limits are two related map axes properties that limit the map display to a defined region. The map latitude and longitude limits define the extents of geodata to be displayed, while the frame limits control how the frame fits around the displayed data. Any object that extends outside the frame limits is automatically trimmed.

The frame limits are also specified differently from the map limits. The map limits are in absolute geographic coordinates referenced to an origin at the intersection of the prime meridian and the equator, while the frame limits are referenced to the rotated coordinate system defined by the map axes origin.

For all nonazimuthal projections, frame limits are specified as quadrangles ([latmin latmax] and [longmin longmax]) in the frame coordinate system. In the case of azimuthal projections, the frames are circular and are described by a polar coordinate system. One of the frame latitude limits must be a negative infinity (-Inf) to indicate an azimuthal frame (think of this as the center of the circle), while the other limit determines the radius of the circular frame (rlatmax). The longitude limits of azimuthal frames are inconsequential, since a full circle is always displayed.

If you are uncertain about the correct format for a particular projection frame limit, you can reset the formats to the default values using empty matrices.


For nonazimuthal projections in the normal aspect, the map extent is limited by the minimum of the map limits and the frame limits; hence, the two limits will coincide after evaluation. Therefore, if you manually change one set of limits, you might want to clear the other set to get consistent limits.