Mapping Toolbox

Analyze and visualize geographic information


Mapping Toolbox™ provides algorithms and functions for transforming geographic data and creating map displays. You can visualize your data in a geographic context, build map displays from more than 60 map projections, and transform data from a variety of sources into a consistent geographic coordinate system.

Mapping Toolbox supports a complete workflow for managing geographic data. You can import vector and raster data from a wide range of file formats and web map servers. The toolbox lets you process and customize data using trimming, interpolation, resampling, coordinate transformations, and other techniques. Data can be combined with base map layers from multiple sources in a single map display. You can export data in file formats such as shapefile, GeoTIFF, and KML.

Get Started:

Geographic Data Import and Export

File-Based Data Import and Export

Mapping Toolbox imports a wide range of GIS and geospatial file formats. You can import vector data from formats such as Shapefiles and GPX, as well as raster data from formats such as GeoTIFF and Esri Binary Grid and terrain formats such as DTED and USGS DEM.

Mapping Toolbox also exports data to a number of file formats, enabling you to share data with applications such as Google Earth™ and ArcGIS®.

Collapse of the Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica, over a three-month period. Images courtesy of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.

Accessing Data from Web Map Service (WMS) Servers

Mapping Toolbox provides tools for finding and downloading data from thousands of publicly accessible servers via Web Map Service (WMS), a standard protocol for serving georeferenced map images over the Internet.

Weather data on top of satellite imagery for the continental United States. Data courtesy of NOAA, as retrieved via the Iowa Environmental Mesonet WMS Server, and NASA-JPL/Caltech.

2D and 3D Map Displays

Create 2D Map Displays

Mapping Toolbox provides visualization functions for producing customized 2D map displays. The map displays can readily combine raster and vector data sets of different scales in the same display. For example, you can display images and data grids in their correct positions—regardless of resolution or area covered—and then overlay vector map features.

With the visualization functions in the toolbox, you can create:

  • 2D map displays with raster and vector data
  • Contour maps from raster and geolocated grid data
  • Thematic maps

Explore gallery (2 images)

Create 3D Map Displays

Mapping Toolbox produces customizable 3D map displays. You can display flight trajectories over high-zoom-level basemaps, GPS data over terrain, or line-of-sight visualizations.

Line-of-sight visualization of an aircraft flight path.

Maps in MATLAB

MATLAB® provides geographic axes and charts for visualizing data that include geographic locations (latitude and longitude) on a variety of basemaps. You can plot lines between two locations, plot specific locations with markers, use location markers that vary in size with a related value (like population), and visualize the density of locations. With Mapping Toolbox, you can customize the basemap by specifying a URL string.

Chart of Tsunamis with the circle size representing their max height and the color representing their cause.

Select Basemaps

Basemaps are reference maps on which you can overlay vector and raster geographic data. They are useful for providing context for the data or analysis represented within the map display.

For web maps, geographic globes, and geographic axes, you can select from a number of built-in basemaps, including high-resolution satellite imagery, topographic features, landcover, and several styles of street maps. You can also add custom basemaps to the list of available options by specifying a URL string.

Examples of map displays with different basemap options.

Terrain and Elevation Analysis

Mapping Toolbox supports the visualization and analysis of 3D data such as digital terrain, bathymetry, and other gridded-data products. The toolbox provides functions to calculate gradient, slope, aspect, line-of-sight visibility, and viewsheds.

A composite 3D map of San Francisco created with functions in Mapping Toolbox. DEM data and orthoimage courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.

Geospatial Data Processing

Geometric Geodesy

With geometric geodesy features in Mapping Toolbox, you can perform geodetic calculations that account for the curvature of Earth and other planetary bodies. You can find the surface area of arbitrary polygons or quadrangles on spheres and ellipsoids, calculate the intersections of geometric objects, and compute the distance between points on a sphere or ellipsoid.

Map Projections

Mapping Toolbox contains more than 65 of the most popular and important map projections for displaying the curved surface of planetary bodies on a 2D map display. They include equal-area, equidistant, conformal, and hybrid projections in the cylindrical, conic, and azimuthal classes. Many projections support both spherical and ellipsoidal models of Earth and other bodies.

Mercator, Mollweide, and sinusoidal projections (clockwise from top). Images courtesy NASA-JPL/Caltech.

3D Coordinate Transformations

Mapping Toolbox provides common 3D coordinate system transformations required when combining data from multiple sources. You can perform 3D geometric computations in the near-earth environment and transform point locations between 3D geodetic, geocentric, local east-north-up (ENU), local north-east-down (NED), and local spherical systems.

Latest Features

Coordinate Reference Systems

Create projected and geographic CRS objects from imported data, named spatial reference codes, or well-known text strings

Coordinate Reference Systems

Project or unproject coordinates using projcrs object

Coordinate Reference Systems

Get information about a coordinate reference system using projcrs or geocrs objects and use with analysis functions

3-D Geographic Plotting

Programmatically navigate globe display using camera functions

See the release notes for details on any of these features and corresponding functions.