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Extent rectangles for overview map

September 25 2011 | 0 comments
Categories: Map Elements

I have a series of detail maps of an area and want to produce an overview map showing the coverage of each of the detail maps within the overview area. Sort of a reverse of the extent rectangle. The detail maps are not part of the overview map, so I cannot see anyway to link them (separate MXD's).

Is there any way to generate a graphic or shapefile of the extent of a map, to be able to reuse in another map?

Mapping Center Answer:

You are right -- you need to have all the data frames in one map document to use extent rectangles to show the area of one map within another map. So you would have to add either the detail maps or some representation of the extent of the detail maps (e.g., polygons of the mapped extent) to your overview map document. Then you could use the extent rectangle functionality to show where the detail maps are in the overview map.  As noted above, you could simply add these as polygons of the area in the detail maps, or maybe those areas are polygonal features already (cities, study areas, etc...) In any case, you need to have them in the same map document as the overview map to do what you want to do with extent rectangles.

One way to create the extent of the mapped areas is to use the Convert Graphics to Features functionality. The online help for this topic will step you through the process. In essence, what you would do is draw a rectangle of the extent of your map and then convert that to a greographic feature to be used in the extent rectangle of your overview map. In a new data frame in that map document, add the new geographic feature and zoom to its extent. Then when you use an extent rectangle, it will show this area.

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