Important Information

We recently upgraded our helpdesk to a new version and you are currently browsing our old helpdesk. This helpdesk is no longer current or maintained.


Support Center » Knowledgebase » Rescaling a drawing for a unit change
 Rescaling a drawing for a unit change

Often users will receive a drawing from a third party (ie, perhaps an architect or another surveying or engineering firm) which is not drawn in the units required either feet or meters.  For example, architecture drawings are typically in millimeters or inches.  However, MicroSurvey CAD/inCAD and FieldGenius (and most other survey CAD or data collection products) require you to work in meters or feet.

You can verify this by using the _DIST command (Cad Tools | Inquiry | Distance), to check some known distances; for example a property line, the side of a building, or the width of a road.  If you expect something to be 10m but the distance is reported as 10000 then the drawing is probably in mm; if you expect something to be 30ft but the distance is reported as 360 then the drawing is probably in inches.  If you get a confusing value, check the Delta Z - are you measuring between a 2D point at z=0 and a 3D point at z=100?

Starting point for distance: (pick)
End point: (pick)
Distance = 111803.399,  Angle in XY Plane = N 63°26'6" E,  Angle from XY Plane = E
Delta X = 100000.000,  Delta Y = 50000.000,  Delta Z = 0.000

Here is a step-by-step guide aimed at helping new users accomplish this task to rescale a drawing into meters or feet.

It is best to do this conversion before you start working with a drawing in MicroSurvey, as our functions will assume that it is either meters or feet, depending on the unit option selected in your Job Defaults.


If desired, you can save the current layer state (basically a file containing the on/off, frozen/thawed, locked/unlocked, and other properties of all layers in your drawing), so that you can easily return your drawing back to its initial state at the end of this procedure.  Go to MsTools | Layer Control | Layer States, and Save a file somewhere handy. 

: _layerstate
Would you like to Save or Load a layer state?: S

Then use the Save dialog to set the file's path and filename.  It will have a "*.layerstate" extension. Be sure to remember what you named it, and where!


You can either do this graphically using the Layers Explorer, or at the command line using the -layer (with the leading dash) command.

: -layer
Layer:  ? to list/New/Make/Set/Color/Ltype/LWeight/Print/PStyle/ON/OFF/Freeze/Thaw/LOck/Unlock: on
Layer(s to turn On: *
Layer:  ? to list/New/Make/Set/Color/Ltype/LWeight/Print/PStyle/ON/OFF/Freeze/Thaw/LOck/Unlock: t
Layer(s) to Thaw: *
Layer:  ? to list/New/Make/Set/Color/Ltype/LWeight/Print/PStyle/ON/OFF/Freeze/Thaw/LOck/Unlock: u
Layer(s) to Unlock: *
Layer:  ? to list/New/Make/Set/Color/Ltype/LWeight/Print/PStyle/ON/OFF/Freeze/Thaw/LOck/Unlock:

This is required because if not everything is on, thawed, and unlocked the scale factor will not be applied to all entities in your drawing, in the following steps.


If you have already stored any points in the MicroSurvey coordinate database, use the _pr_points command (MsPoints | Locked Points List ; formerly MsPoints | Protected Points List) and press "Remove All" to unlock all of your points.

Alternatively, you could use the _coordedit command (MsPoints | Active Coordinate Editor) and look under the Locked (formerly "Protected") column to make sure none of your points are Locked/Protected.  Deselect any points that are.


Use the CAD _scale command (Modify | Scale) to scale ALL entities by the desired scale factor around the base point 0,0,0.

To go from mm to meters, scale by 0.001; to go from inches to feet, scale by 1/12 (CAD will accept a fraction, which helps avoid small rounding differences like if you type 0.08333).  To scale between any other units, simply use the appropriate scale factor.

Select entities to scale: All
Entities in set: 4221
Select entities to scale:
Base point: 0,0,0
Base scale/<Scale factor>: 0.001

Then do a Zoom Extents to zoom to the now much smaller drawing extents.


If your drawing contains any Dimension entities, you will still see some very large dimension labels, arrowheads, and leaders that still display too large.  Typically this will present as a mess of text and arrowheads which you can't see much or any of the drawing through.  The density will of course depend on the number of dimensions in the drawing.

Important Note:  Dimension Objects are special entities which can display the distance, angle, etc of any associated objects, and rescaling the Dimension will automatically change the label that is displayed.  Any TEXT entities which display a dimension or annotation will not update in the same manner.  It is very possible that your drawing may still contain text labels that reference a distances or coordinates in the previous units.

MicroSurvey CAD (IntelliCAD 6.5 engine):

To resize any existing dimensions, you need to override the dimscale property for each dimension entity.  This can be done using the DIMOVERRIDE command, as follows:

Clear overrides/<Dimension variable to override>: dimscale
DIMSCALE is now <"1.000">.  New value: 0.01
Dimension variable to override:
Select dimensions to use new value(s): All
Entities in set: 4221
Select dimensions to use new value(s):

And then to make it so that any new dimension entities you draw will be sized the same, set the DIMSCALE variable to the same value you set in the DIMOVERRIDE command.

New current value for DIMSCALE (0 or greater) <1.000>: 0.01

MicroSurvey inCAD (AutoCAD engine):

Please note that AutoCAD supports a special "Annotative" dimension property which causes these Annotative Dimension objects to behave differently than standard Dimension objects. (Annotative Dimensions are not supported in the current IntelliCAD engine.)

If your drawing includes Annotative Dimensions, use the  _SCALELISTEDIT (if necessary) and the _CANNOSCALE commands to change your annotation scale.  The _SCALELISTEDIT command allows you to define new scale factors in your drawing if needed, for example perhaps "1000:1".  The _CANNOSCALE command will only accept scale factors that have been defined in this drawing scale factor list. 

If your drawing includes standard (non-annotative) Dimensions, use the _DIMSTYLE command, Modify your dimension style(s) and on the Fit tab set an appropriate scale factor.  When you press OK, all existing dimension entities will then automatically rescale using this modified scale factor.


This step is CRITICAL!!!  You should always verify the coordinates and distances in your modified drawing to ensure that nothing was scaled incorrectly.  Any mistake that is not caught could prove disasterous!!

Some of the tools you can use include the _DIST (Cad Tools | Inquiry | Distance) and _IDPOINT (Cad Tools | Inquiry | ID Coordinates) commands, or MsPoints | ID Nort/East of Point.


If you saved a .layerstate file in Step 1 above, you may now want to Load it.  This will restore all of your layers to their previous on/off, frozen/thawed, locked/unlocked (and other) properties.


Article Details
Article ID: 479
Created On: 04 Feb 2011 10:57 AM

 This answer was helpful  This answer was not helpful

Home | Knowledgebase | Troubleshooter | Downloads
Helpdesk Tutorials
MicroSurvey User Forum | MapScenes Yahoo Group
MicroSurvey Corporate Website | MapScenes Corporate Website
© 2012 MicroSurvey Software Inc. MicroSurvey® is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.