While using your GIS, you might have noticed that sometimes different information will be available depending on how closely you’re zoomed into the map. This is due to each layer having a range of visible scales.
To keep maps useful, aesthetic, and fast, we try to display only pertinent information on your screen. For example, showing parcel numbers on top of lots would be impossibly hard to read if the map was zoomed out to see a whole city. Once zoomed in to a neighborhood level though, displaying parcel numbers becomes very useful.
Conversely, some information is hidden once zoomed into your map. Municipality names are important to see when looking at large areas in a county, but become a nuisance once zoomed in to the level of individual parcels and take up valuable space for other annotation, such as dimensions.
While visible scale ranges are very useful, they can also be confusing. One common case is where you’ve checked a layer to turn it on, but can’t see any of the information it’s supposed to add to your map. We’ll show you how to deal with this below.
The image above shows that all cemetery layers are turned on, but the map to the right is rather minimal. What’s going on? If you look at the layer list, you’ll see that “Block Numbers,” “Lot Numbers,” “Lots,” and “Spaces” are all light-gray instead of black. This means that they are not visible at this scale, and you either need to zoom in or out to see them.
Zooming into the cemetery a little bit now shows cemetery lots in the map. The layer list shows “Lots” in black text now instead of gray, indicating that the layer is now visible at this scale.
Zooming in further still gives us a colorful annotated view of the cemetery. The layer list shows that now “Block Numbers,” “Lot Numbers,” “Lots,” and “Spaces” are visible in the map, though “Cemetery Names” is now hidden from view.
We hope you enjoyed this episode of #TipTuesday and look forward to seeing you again next week!