The MAPublisher Line Plotter creates a new path to a Line or Area layer. Enter line vertices using two options:

Point by Point: enter a starting point and consecutive point coordinates.

Course & Distance: enter a starting point and a series of headings (angles) and real-world distances. Each consecutive vertex is defined at an angle and distance from the previous point. Additional options are available for angle and distance definitions (see hereafter).


The created path is made of straight segments connecting the points.


Create a new MAP Layer of type Line or Area, or use an existing MAP layer of the appropriate type.

Using Line Plotter

Select a Line or Area layer in the MAP Views panel or Adobe Illustrator Layers panel. Click Plot > Line Plotter button on the MAPublisher toolbar or from the menu Object > MAPublisher > Line Plotter.


The name of the selected layer and its source coordinate system are displayed under Current Layer.

Input Coordinate System

The Input Coordinate System sets the system in which the starting point coordinates are entered. It also applies to the coordinates of each vertex when the Point by Point option is selected.


When the Use Current Layer's coordinate system option is selected, coordinate values can be entered in the current coordinate system of the MAP View containing the selected layer.


When the Use: [coordinate system] option is selected, the coordinate system link becomes enabled. Click the link to open the Select Coordinate System dialog box and choose a coordinate system as required.


When the selected or default coordinate system is projected, X and Y coordinates are entered as the unit of the coordinate system (e.g. meter, kilometer, feet). When the selected or default coordinate system is Geodetic, Lat/Long coordinates are entered as degrees. The degree format is selected from the Format drop-down list—see more about entering coordinate formats.

information The Input Coordinate System is not applied to the distance settings when plotting a line by Course & Distance. In that case, the layer's coordinate system applies.

Starting Point

Enter the coordinates of the first point of the line in the X, Y or Long, Lat fields. Click the MAP Locations button to choose a MAP Location (if available).


The Close Path option controls if the path will be closed automatically or not. When using Line Plotter on a Line layer, this option is disabled by default. On an Area layer, the Close Path option is enabled by default—it is not recommended to create open paths on an area layer. A minimum of three vertices are required to create a closed path. If less points are entered, the path is left opened by the Line Plotter.


Enable the Show line preview option to see a preview of the plotted line.

Plot Line Point by Point

The Point by Point option in the Additional Line Points drop-down list provides a method to add consecutive line vertices (or nodes) by typing in the coordinates of each point. This option is typically used to create a line from a list of known locations. (Alternatively, Join Points could be used to connect points already plotted on the map.)


To add a new point, click the Add button or click the Add MAP Locations (if available). Then enter the new point coordinates based on the selected Input Coordinate System and Format (if the coordinate system is geodesic). To remove a point, select a row and click the Remove button.

Plot Line by Course and Distance

The Course & Distance option of the Additional Line Points drop-down list allows to define each consecutive line vertex by its heading (azimuth or angle relative to the north direction) and real-world distance from the previous point.



The Method drop-down list, available for both Point by Point and Course & Distance, offers three options to define the real-world distances:

Cartesian: A straight line connecting multiple points. They represent the distances as measured on the map and multiplied by the scale. This option is only available for projected coordinate systems.


Geodesic: Shortest distances along the Earth's curvature. Geodesic distances are also known as Great-Circle distances and are typically used for navigational purpose maps. They represent the actual covered distance while walking or in a moving vehicle. Line can be straight or curved, depending on map projection.


Rhumb Line: Distance along the Earth curvature at constant heading. They are typically used for navigational purpose maps to represent routes of constant direction. Line can be straight or curved, depending on map projection.



The North type drop-down list contains two options to define the north direction when the method is set to Cartesian:


Grid North: Refers to the northward direction of the map projection grid lines—Grid North is constant throughout the map.

True North: Refers to the actual direction to the geographic North Pole. The True North direction can vary depending on a point position on a map. Similarly, graticule longitude lines are pointing to True North as well as MAP North Arrows.

information The Geodesic and Rhumb Line methods are by definition using the True North as northward direction. The North Type drop-down list is therefore disabled in these cases.


The Units drop-down list allows to select a linear unit for the distance. By default, the Units list is set to the Point Units of the  current layer's coordinate system, if it is projected. If the current layer's coordinate system is geodesic, the Units list is set to Meters.


The Direction drop-down list indicates the direction of the heading angles. Typically, navigational headings (or azimuths) are given in Clockwise direction. However, the natural angle direction in Adobe Illustrator is Counter-clockwise, which may be preferred for simple drawing purpose.


Once all options are set, click the Add button to create a new entry of heading and distance. To remove an entry, select a row and click the Remove button.


Click the Import list of headings and distances button to browse for a text file (.txt) containing headings and distances. No column headers are required. Values listed should follow the format of heading then distance. For example, a text file that contains four headings and distances will look like:


266.883, 400773.2079

13.548, 365969.5053

270.353, 322701.9679

331.837, 99368.0284

Copyright © 1995-2020 Avenza Systems. All rights reserved.


Last updated: 4/14/2020