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Choose a 2-D Map Display

Mapping Toolbox™ provides several options for creating 2-D map displays. Choose a map display based on criteria such as the map projection, the type of data, and interactivity options.

Sample GoalsMap Display OptionSample MapRelated Information

Projection

  • Use a projected coordinate reference system (CRS) defined by a geospatial data file or by the EPSG.

  • View a polar region.

Data

  • Plot data originating in a mixture of projected and geographic coordinates.

  • Plot vector data.

Interactivity

  • Interactively explore using pan, zoom, and data tips.

  • Build apps using App Designer.

Use a map axes object. (since R2023a)

  • Create a map axes from a projected CRS by using the newmap function. Specify the projected CRS by using a projcrs object.

  • Plot data into map axes by using functions such as geoplot, geoscatter, and bubblechart.

  • Customize map axes using MATLAB® graphics functions. For example, change the geographic limits using geolimits, add text using text, and change the format of the tick labels using geotickformat.

Map axes showing average farm size per US state in 2019. The map uses an Albers equal area projection.

Projection

  • Use a Web Mercator map projection, which is common for web-based mapping workflows.

Data

  • Provide geographic context using high-zoom-level basemaps.

  • Plot data originating in a mixture of projected and geographic coordinates.

  • Plot vector data.

Interactivity

  • Interactively explore using pan, zoom, and data tips.

  • Build apps using App Designer.

Use a geographic axes object.

  • Unlike map axes, geographic axes do not require you to create an axes before plotting data. All geographic axes use a Web Mercator projection.

  • Plot data into geographic axes by using functions such as geoplot, geoscatter, and geodensityplot.

  • Customize geographic axes using MATLAB graphics functions. For example, change the basemap using geobasemap, change the geographic limits using geolimits, add text using text, and change the format of the tick labels using geotickformat.

Geographic axes showing average farm size per US state in 2019. The map uses a topographic basemap.

Projection

  • Use a map projection appropriate for a world or US region by specifying the name of the region, for example Europe or California.

  • Use a predefined projection defined by MATLAB.

  • View a polar region.

Data

  • Plot data in geographic coordinates.

  • Plot a mixture of vector and raster data.

Use an axesm-based map.

  • Create axesm-based maps of world or US regions by using the worldmap and usamap functions, respectively. Create axesm-based maps that use predefined projections by using the axesm function.

  • Plot data into axesm-based maps by using functions such as geoshow and contourm.

  • Customize axesm-based maps by using Mapping Toolbox functions. For example, add text using textm, add a scale ruler using scaleruler, and add a north arrow using northarrow.

axesm-based map showing terrain elevation in meters for the world.

Projection

  • Plot data already in a projection using Cartesian axes.

Data

  • Plot data in projected coordinates.

  • Plot a mixture of vector and raster data.

  • Plot data using a plot type not supported by map axes or geographic axes, for example digraphs and contours.

Interactivity

Use an axes object.

  • Axes do not require you to create the axes before plotting data.

  • Plot map data into axes by using functions such as mapshow, digraph, and binscatter.

  • Customize axes using MATLAB graphics functions. For example, add text using text and change the map limits using xlim and ylim.

Axes showing orthoimagery, a polygon representing a pond, and lines representing roads.

Projection

  • Use a Web Mercator map projection, which is common for web-based mapping workflows.

Data

  • Provide geographic context using a data layer imported from Web Map Service (WMS) servers.

  • Provide geographic context using high-zoom-level basemaps.

  • Plot data originating in geographic coordinates.

  • Plot vector data.

Interactivity

  • Interactively explore using pan, zoom, cursor locations, and data balloons.

Use a web map.

  • Web maps do not require you to create the map before plotting data.

  • Plot map data into web maps by using functions such as wmline and wmpolygon.

  • Customize web maps using Mapping Toolbox functions. For example, add a custom icon using wmmarker and change the geographic limits using wmlimits.

Web map showing polygons plotted over the conterminous United States. The map uses a topographic basemap.

See Also

Properties