Map Frame

A Map Frame is an image of one window placed in another window. Any changes to the data in the original window will be reflected in the Map Frame contents. The graphical contents of a Map Frame cannot be selected.

  • The scale and angle of Map Frame contents can be modified.
  • A labelled grid can be added to a Map Frame. There are also several other classes of item that draw themselves using the properties and/or contents of an associated Map Frame item, or items, e.g. Graticule, Key Map, North Point and Scale Bar items.
  • As a sub-class of a Polygon, a Map Frame can contain multiple loops, and be of irregular outline.

See Map Frame Items.

Note: The Class name (_class$) of a Map Frame item is "Photo".


  • Abbreviate annotation: _bAbbreviate&
    Should edge text labels be abbreviated where possible? Sometimes Map Frame grid text can be abbreviated by only drawing the digits which are different on each textual label. The text labels at the corners are drawn in full.

  • Area: _area#
    The area covered by the item in square metres.

  • Clockwise: _bClockwise&
    Is the item geometry defined in a clockwise direction?

  • Flip inverted text: _bFlipInvertedText&
    Should text which is upside-down be flipped. One cartographic convention is that grid labels should be legible from the bottom of the Map Frame item (so rotating Map Frame contents may cause the text to be flipped). Another convention is that the positive grid labels should be legible from the origin of the grid.

  • Major grid spacing: _spaceMajor#
    The spacing between major Map Frame grid lines.

  • Minor grid spacing: _spaceMinor#
    The spacing between minor Map Frame grid lines.

  • Number of edges: _numedges&
    The number of edges in a geometrical shape.

  • Number of loops: _numloops&
    The number of loops used by a Polygon item. Most Polygon items have only one loop. However, any holes or islands will be stored as extra loops.

  • Pen for Major lines: _penMajor$
    The Pen used to draw major Map Frame grid lines.

  • Pen for Minor lines: _penMinor$
    The Pen to draw minor Map Frame grid lines.

  • Map Frame angle: _photoangleDeg#
    The rotation of the Map Frame contents in degrees.

  • Map Frame scale: _photoscale#
    The scale of the Map Frame contents.

  • Map Frame threshold: _photothreshold#
    This property dictates what items are drawn, without affecting the scale of the output in any way.

    The initial Map Frame threshold will be the same as the Map Frame item's scale. Choosing a different scale threshold will mean that the data displayed in the Map Frame (and printed) will be the same as that which is displayed when zooming to this particular scale. For example, with OS (GB) Land-Line 1:1250, 1:2500, 1:10000 data, if you zoomed to 1:2500 on screen, Building Seeds would disappear. Similarly, by choosing a Map Frame threshold of 2500, Building seeds will not appear on the print.

    Many items in mapping datasets have their own scale ranges within which to become visible. The Map Frame threshold scale is compared against the scale range for each item inside the Map Frame to determine which items to draw.

  • Show corner grid annotation: _bShowTextCorner&
    Should text labels be drawn for the grid lines nearest the corners of the Map Frame?

  • Show edge grid annotation: _bShowTextMiddle&
    Should text labels be drawn for grid lines other than those nearest the corners of the Map Frame?

  • Show grid lines: _bShowLines&
    Should grid lines be drawn over the contents of the Map Frame?

  • Splinter factor: _splinter#
    The splinter factor of the Polygon. A circle has a splinter factor of 1. A very long and thin area could have a splinter factor of 100. Polygon items with large splinter factors are often produced by overlapping lines which are almost by not quite the same.

TIP: See also Item Properties