Aerial Image with Scale in ArcGIS Pro

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 ArcGIS Pro

If you're a current Carleton student, faculty, or staff member, you can use our GIS workstations or obtain your own ArcGIS Pro license (Windows only).

2. Obtain an aerial image for your area of interest

Download an aerial image for Ottawa 1958-2019. 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 ArcGIS Pro.

3. Load the aerial image into ArcGIS Pro

  1. Open ArcGIS Pro, login (instructions for Carleton users), and create a new Map project.
  2. Using the Add Data button  in the Map tab, add your chosen aerial image.
    The aerial image should be visible in the map pane.
  3. Zoom into your location of interest using the Fixed Zoom In controls or the scroll wheel on the mouse. You can also Pan around the image. Also make sure your desired location is centred in the window.
    In the Map tab, the Navigation section is where to find zoom controls.

4. Set up a layout with dynamic scale text

You can also consult the Make a Layout guide (includes a video) from Esri which covers some more features not covered in this guide.

  1. Go to the Insert tab and click the arrow on the New Layout button to select your page size and orientation options.
    The New Layout options include paper size and orientation (portrait or landscape)
  2. A new blank page layout will appear. Click the Map Frame button in the Insert tab and select your zoomed-in image. While your cursor looks like a cross, click and drag to draw in the map frame.
    Your image should show up as an option with a scale number (e.g. 1:1,416)
  3. To add dynamic scale text, in the Insert tab click Dynamic Text and select Scale from the list.
  4. Draw a spot for the scale text on the page layout. Right-click on the scale text and select Properties to adjust the font, size, etc. in the Text Symbol section.
    Adjust the scale text font size and colour in the Properties
  5. As long as your image is centred, you can easily adjust the zoom level. For example, if you want it at a 1:1000 scale, simply type 1000 into the scale toolbar at the bottom of the Layout window 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 Share tab and Export Layout to select your parameters. You can save at a wide variety of resolutions and in several different formats (TIFF, JPEG, PNG, etc.).

Change the scale 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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