Aerial Image with Scale

If you need to print off and/or measure from an aerial image that has a specific scale, this guide should get you there.

1. Access ArcMap

You can use our GIS workstations or obtain your own ArcGIS Student Edition for free (Windows only).

2. Obtain an aerial image for your area of interest

Download an aerial image for Ottawa 1958-2017. Most of these photos have great resolution with each pixel 20cm x 20cm, which means you can easily tell what colour each car is.

If the image is in a ZIP file, you need to unzip it before opening it in ArcMap.

3. Load the aerial image into ArcMap

  1. Open ArcMap.
  2. Using the Add Data button  add your chosen aerial image.
  3. Zoom into your location of interest using the Zoom In magnifying glass or the scroll wheel on the mouse. The Pan hand may also come in handy. Also make sure your desired location is centred in the window.

4. Set up a layout with dynamic scale text

Watching this excellent video may help if you're having trouble finding any of the things mentioned below.

  1. On the menu bar, go to View > Layout View.

  2. You will see a page layout with your image on it and your location should be centred. The page is likely 8.5x11" already but you can change or confirm this by clicking on File > Page and Print Setup... and looking at the Size dropdown menu.

  3. To add dynamic scale text, click Insert > Scale Text... and select Absolute Scale from the list. Click OK.
  4. Annoyingly, the scale text will probably show up somewhere around the middle of the image. Click and drag it down to the bottom right.

  5. You can zoom in and out using the same zoom and pan tools described in #3, above. You can also enter the scale you want into the scale drop-down menu in the ArcGIS standard toolbar. For example, if you want it at a 1:1000 scale, simply type 1000 into the scale toolbar and click enter. The image will be at a 1:1000 scale and the dynamic scale text you added to the page will reflect that.

5. Export the image with scale

Click File > Export Map... and select your parameters. You can save at a wide variety of resolutions and in several different formats (TIFF, JPEG, PNG, etc.).

Change the scale (and pan if needed) as often as you like and re-export if you would like the image at a variety of scales.

6. I still need some help!

That's what we're here for! Email us with your question(s).

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