Introduction to Mapping Graphics
Even though geospatial data often is manipulated and analyzed without being displayed, high-quality interactive cartographic displays can play valuable roles in exploratory data analysis, application development, and presentation of results.
Using Mapping Toolbox™ capabilities, you can display geographic information almost as easily as
you can display tabular or time-series data in MATLAB® plots. Most mapping functions are similar to MATLAB plotting functions, except they accept data with geographic/geodetic
coordinates (latitudes and longitudes) instead of Cartesian and polar coordinates.
Mapping functions typically have the same names as their MATLAB counterparts, with the addition of an
'm' suffix (for
maps). For example, the Mapping Toolbox analog to the MATLAB
plot function is
Mapping Toolbox software manages most of the details in displaying a map. It projects your data, cuts and trims it to specified limits, and displays the resulting map at various scales. With the toolbox you can also add customary cartographic elements, such as a frame, grid lines, coordinate labels, and text labels, to your displayed map. If you change your projection properties, or even the projection itself, some Mapping Toolbox map displays are automatically redrawn with the new settings, undoing any cuts or trims if necessary.
The toolbox also makes it easy to modify and manipulate maps. You can modify the map display and mapped objects either from the command line or through property editing tools you can invoke by clicking on the display.
In its current implementation, the toolbox maintains the map projection and
display properties by storing special data in the
property of the map axes. The toolbox also takes over the
UserData property of mapped objects. Therefore, never
attempt to set the
UserData property of a map axes or a
projected map object. Do not apply the MATLAB
get function to axes
UserData, depend on
the contents of
UserData in any way, or apply functions that
set or get
UserData to the map axes or mapped objects. Only use
the Mapping Toolbox functions
setm to obtain and modify map axes properties.