Skip to main content

Skip to navigation

The access keys for this page are:

Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

The MapPlace - Procedure for MapGuide Copy & Paste to Scale

MapPlace Home

MapGuide maps presented on the MapPlace may be viewed at virtually any scale. These maps may be printed to any desired scale using MapGuide’s ‘Printer Setup’ and ‘Print’ functions available through the Pop-up Menu. MapGuide also allows the map window of a MapPlace view to be copied to the clipboard and from there into any number of other Windows programs such as PowerPoint and Word (secondary programs). Unfortunately, during this process the scale of the image is not preserved. This note describes the reasons for this lack of scale passing and a procedure for correcting the scale of a map after the Copy & Paste process.


The ability to Copy & Paste a map from a MapPlace view into another software package has proven to be a very popular feature. Map objects such as symbols, lines and polygons may be ungrouped and individually modified or deleted in many secondary programs. Often a map at an exact scale is not necessary but on occasion it is essential. Some simple measurements, calculations and edit procedures are required to restore an accurate scale to the map drawing in the secondary program.

The actual shape of a map on a computer screen is dependent on the screen resolution settings and the associated aspect ratio. The combination of screen viewing dimensions and the horizontal and vertical pixel settings affect the proportions of all objects viewed on the screen (Figure 1).


MapGuide’s functions such as ‘measure distance’ and print related functions can detect the required screen values, desired scale and the resolution of the output device to generate an accurate distance measure or hardcopy output at a required scale. But, during the Copy & Paste process all map objects are referenced to the screen coordinate system and there is no prior knowledge of the output device (secondary program). Therefore the required scaling cannot be automatically performed.


Figure 1. Monitor settings of 1280 X 1024 and 1280 X 800 resulting is aspect ratios of 1.25 and 1.66 respectively. The map on the right is stretched in a N-S direction and these proportions are carried to the secondary program after the Copy & Paste (Figure 2).


A five step procedure may be used to transfer the map objects from a MapPlace view to a secondary program and adjust the map to a desired scale.

  1. Obtain the best view possible of the map to be captured. The best quality end product is obtained by capturing the most detail possible from the MapPlace window. To do this one should zoom in as close as possible to the area of interest and set the monitor pixel values as large as permitted by the system.

  2. Measure the ground distance between two map objects in an E-W and N-S direction. A map grid is very useful for this purpose and can be removed after ungrouping in the secondary program if desired. Use the MapGuide ‘View Distance’ tool in the Pop-Up menu for this purpose. The measurements must be in a N-S and E-W direction and not on a diagonal. Record these distances for use in the following calculation step.

  3. Calculate the map distance between these two pairs of map features to obtain the desired scale. The required calculations are very simple. Once the desired scale has been determined, say 1:1,000,000, the required map distance between the two pairs of measured map features from step 2 can be determined. For example two features 50 km apart on the ground must be 5 cm apart on the map for a scale of 1:1,000,000.

  4. ‘Copy & Paste’ the map window into the secondary software. Use the MapGuide ‘Copy’ button on the toolbar or the ‘Copy’ feature in the Pop-Up menu to copy the map window. Then move to the secondary program and ‘Paste’ the map. Prior to pasting-in the map make sure that the output format of the secondary program is set to the ultimate output page size.

  5. Adjust the distance between the two map objects to get desired scale. Most software that will be used to receive a MapPlace ‘Copy & Paste’ map will have an option to turn on rulers which can be used to measure distance on the pasted map. Once the map has been pasted into the secondary software it should be cropped as much as possible. Then the whole image can be stretched or compressed in an E-W and N-S direction so that the distances between the two pairs of measured map features are the required map distance apart (Figure 2). Once the scale has been set the image can be ungrouped and any modifications performed.

Figure 2. The left image illustrates the shape of the pasted map immediately after it is pasted into PowerPoint after being copied from a monitor with pixel settings of 1280 X 800. The right image shows the map after the pasted image was cropped and stretched horizontally and vertically so the measured map features were the desired distance apart. Note the rulers along the upper and left side of the image.


Notes by Ward Kilby, April 15, 2004 as part of a BC Yukon Chamber of Mines 2003
funded 'Rocks to Riches' program to develop MapPlace Client-mapping Tools.

Back to FAQ Page