Getting to Know the Global Mapper Toolbars

Written by: Cíntia Miranda, Director of Marketing

Global Mapper is a robust and yet easy-to-use GIS application that offers access to an unparalleled variety of spatial datasets, a complete suite of vector and raster processing tools, and an extensive collection of analysis tools, especially for working with Lidar or terrain data. If you’re new to Global Mapper, getting to know the toolbar is one of your first steps in familiarizing yourself with the application.  This blog provides a brief review of the buttons to help you understand the basic function of each.  More in-depth information is available in the Knowledge Base

The toolbars in Global Mapper provide quick and easy access to the most commonly used tools. To hide or display the toolbars, click the View menu and, from the Toolbars submenu, check or uncheck the appropriate checkboxes as needed.

The drop-down menu on the right side of each toolbar provides access to Customization of the toolbars, including adding new buttons and showing text labels.

Note that some toolbar buttons will not be available in certain situations. For example, most of the Digitizer (Edit) buttons will be disabled until one or more vector features are selected on the map.

Here’s what each toolbar button can do for you:


Open Data Files  Save Workspace  

Connect to Online Data  Map Layout Editor  

 Overlay Control CenterConfigure

 Overview Map


Zoom (Alt+Z)Pan (Alt+G)

Zoom InZoom Out

Restore Last View (Ctrl+Backspace)Full View


Digitizer Tool (Alt+D)Select by Drawing Polygon

Clear Current SelectionSelect Labels


Measure Tool (Alt+M)Feature Info Tool (Alt+P)

Search Vector Data


Create Elevation GridCreate Contours

Calculate Cut and Fill Volume (Ctrl+Alt+M)Path Profile (Alt+L)

Create View Shed (Alt+V)Create Water Shed

Combine/ Compare Terrain LayersCombine/ Compare Terrain Layers

Create 3D Fly-through


Add 2D Map ViewsRotate Map

Image SwipeShow 3D View

Link 2D and 3D Views (Ctrl+Shift+3)Display Water Level

Increase Water LevelDecrease Water Level

Enable/ Disable Hill ShadingDynamic Hill Shading

Shader Drop-down Menu


Enable GeoCalc Projection ModeAuto-select GeoCalc Transform

Launch Geographic Calculator


Favorites Drop-down

Run Selected Command (Ctrl+Enter)

Digitizer (Create)

Create Point/ Text FeatureCreate Line Feature (Vertex Mode)

Create Line Feature (Trace Mode) (Shift+T)Create Area Feature

Create Rectangle/ Square Area FeatureCreate Circle/ Ellipse Area Feature

Digitizer (Advanced)

Create Distance/ Bearing/ COGO LineCreate Range Rings / Ellipses

Create Regular Grid of FeaturesCreate Strike-and-Dip Point

Cut Selected Area(s) From Another AreaRight Angle Draw Mode (R)

Ortho Draw Mode

Digitizer (Edit)

Move Selected Feature(s) (Ctrl+Shift+M)Rotate Scale Feature(s)

Display Area/ Line Vertices (Shift+V)Move Selected Vertices

Insert VertexCombine Line Features

Split Line At Selected VertexCreate Points From Line/ Area Vertices

Create Areas From LinesCreate Lines From Areas

Combine Selected AreasCrop To Selected Areas

Create Buffer Around Selected Features


Start Tracking GPS (Ctrl+T)Stop Tracking GPS

Keep GPS\ Video Vessel on screenOrient View to GPS \Video Heading

Mark Waypoint (Ctrl+M)Mark Waypoint from Averaged Position

Mark Waypoint at OffsetDisplay GPS Info





Get the most of Global Mapper by learning how it can improve productivity, encourage efficiency, and save time and money in your GIS operations.  The following resources will help you become familiar and more proficient with the software.

1) The Global Mapper Getting Started Guide provides a concise overview of the software.

2) The Global Mapper Knowledge Base has more in-depth information about Global Mapper’s features and functions.

3) The FAQ page offers answers to commonly asked questions.

4) The self-guided training provides a series of free hands-on exercises, including written instructions and sample data files. Take a moment to download these instructional materials to learn how to use some of Global Mapper’s basic tools. 

5) The GeoTalks Express webinars are a series of free online presentations conducted every two weeks covering a wide variety of topics and themes. Sign-up to one or multiple webinars! 

6) Global Mapper online training classes provide the most effective way to get the most out of the software. Scheduled public classes provide a thorough introduction to the full breadth of the application’s features and functions, while a custom class will allow your organization to adapt the course content to meet your specific needs. For more information, email

Global Mapper’s intuitive user interface and logical layout help smooth the learning curve and ensures that users will be up-and-running in no time. Take advantage of the aforementioned resources and if you need any further assistance with the application, contact

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