Defining Scale Ranges in the FDO Style Editor

When stylizing Feature Data Objects in Map 3D, there is a powerful setting that many users overlook: Scale Ranges.

One example of how this setting can benefit you is using it to cause a very detailed set of features, such as a street map or a soils map to only display when that level of detail is useful, and cause it to be invisible when zoomed out to where it would just be a confusing blur.

To set a scale range, you use the top section of the Style Editor palette.  Simply enter a numerical value in the To column, in place of the default value of Infinity.  This value represents the map scale, 1:XXXX.  For my example of city streets in a dense urban environment, a maximum scale range of 1:50,000 might be appropriate. Simply enter 50000 as the To value, and when you zoom out beyond that scale range, the detailed streets are no longer visible.


You can also use this feature to determine at which scale labels become visible.  For example, you may want to see only the lines representing the streets until you zoom in to a level of detail where the street names will be legible and helpful.  To achieve this, you would Add a Scale Range for labeled streets, and change the Thematic Rules for that theme.  Then, when you zoom in, or create a more detailed viewport, the streets will be labeled only when there is adequate space between features for the labels to fit.

You might also want to limit the visibility of some features on the From end of the scale.  For instance, a low resolution aerial photograph might look fine when zoomed out, but just appear as a blur of pixels when zoomed in.  Simply enter a value in the From column of the Scale Range and the image will disappear when you zoom in beyond that scale.

Experiment with Scale Ranges the next time you set up an FDO layer.  It is a very beneficial feature that you can add to your bag of tricks.

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