Inset maps, depending on whether they are larger (zoomed in) or smaller (zoomed out) in scale, can provide some valuable detail or point of reference information respectively, while also providing a little more interest to your map at the same time. Creating an inset map is relatively simple, but does require severalsteps to get it to look right. In the example below, we will create an overview inset map (smaller scale) which will allow the map reader to see a much broader area around the main focus of the map, in turn providing a greater area for spatial reference.
To create an inset map, follow these steps:
- Create your main map.
- Copy the Report Maptool used in the main map and paste it on the canvas. This will serve as the coreof the inset map and prevent you from having to recreate most of the map elements.
- In the Settings tab of the new Report Map tool:
- Change the Map Size of the overview map to something in the neighborhood of 2 x 2 inches. You don't want this too big so that it covers important parts of your main map, or too small to be of use.
- Adjust the Expand ExtentMinimum Width to meet your particular needs. In this example, I have set it to 75 miles. You can leave the default of 10% as the Minimum Width will override this.
- In the Legend tab, choose '[None]' for the Position as we won't need or have room for a legend on the inset map.
- Connect all of the layers that you want to show on the inset map.
- Add any additional layers as points of reference. County boundaries have been added in this example.
- SInce the inset map needs to be much smaller in both size and scale, it is recommended that you make adjustments to the map layers, including the standard TomTom base layers.
- Reducethe size of points and width of lines and polygons. This will make them much more legible considering the smaller size and scale of the inset.
- Depending on the scale of your inset map, you may also want to disable some of the standard TomTom base layers found in the Layers tab. For example, at a relatively small scale, you would not necessarily want to show city parks, smaller cities, golf courses, etc. Now, some of these might automatically turn off depending on the scale of your inset, but it is a good practice to go through the base layers and turn off any of them which you feel will only clutter the overview map.
- Jointhe map to the main map. Important:If you are producing multiple maps at once, you willwant to join the inset map to the main map by the 'Group' field, using the 'Specific Field' option. Otherwise, you can join by Record Position.
- Using the Overlay tool, add the inset to the main map. I personally prefer to reduce the Padding to 0.2 inches all the way around as I feel that the default 0.5 inches allows the inset to intrude too much into the main map. Same goes for the legend.
One of the standard outputs from the Report Map tool is a field called 'BoundingRect' (Bounding Rectangle). Add the bounding rectangle to the inset map (and format appropriately) to show the extent of the main map. See the red rectangle in the inset of the final map below.
Final Map (bounding rectangle in red):
Things to Consider:
- An inset map can also be of larger scale in order to show more detail.
- The inset map itself may cover over important details of the main map, such as nearby stores or competitors, for example. Make sure that this is acceptable to your use case, while also keeping in mind that the overview inset map can show these objectsthat are covered by the inset itself.
- A border was added to the inset map, as well as to the main map and legend. You can take a look at the attached worflow to see how the Layout tool was used to do this. Details regardingthis will be discussed in a separate, soon to be released, Knowledge Base article.