Ask A Cartographer

Scaling Ratio

November 11 2008 | 0 comments
Categories: ArcGIS Methods, Map Elements

I am creating a graphic to represent a property's boundary lines. The sides of the boundary are 1325', 2536', 1221', etc. How do I create the boundary lines using a scaling ratio to represent these numbers?

Mapping Center Answer:

Are you drawing the property lines from scratch? Or do you have some parcel data in the background? Another possibility is that you have imagery in the background.  I guess my point is, what is your geographic basis for drawing the parcel boundaries, i.e., how do you know where to draw the first point?

If you know that, then you can use your data frame's coordinate system and display units properties to provide a basis for scale.  Specifying the coordinate system for your data frame sets a geographic basis, so to speak.  The ArcGIS Web help topic in the above link also has a section on map units, which come from the coordinate system.  You can set display units to convert the coordinate system's units to something easier to work with. 

Once your display units are set to be the same as your parcel measurement units, you can draw graphics. As you're drawing, look in the lower left of ArcMap's window and you'll see the current length of the graphic line displayed.  Draw the graphics to 'ballpark' the lengths and then in the graphic's properties, on the size and position tab, you can specifically set the length.

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