SMS Map Skills: From Plot Corner Coordinates to Mapped Regions

Someone gave you the coordinates for all of the corners of a test plot!

So how do you get a bunch of coordinates into a more usable format for mapping and navigation, or to make a prescription file?

Test plots often come with a whole new set of parameters that require special treatment. The biggest challenge is often that the plots are small, so any tiny inconsistency in GPS coordinates will result in a skewed shape of the plot.

First READ and follow the instructions from


  1. Make a spreadsheet with coordinates and any other attribute information i.e. unique test plot identifier and save as a CSV file.
  2. Import into SMS using the TEXT import and save into a GENERIC layer
CSV Imported into SMS and Resulting Point Map

3. Bring this imported generic map into view. Since we want to use these corners to create a polygon style layer, we will make a new generic layer on top. Start New Generic Layer until Editor is in View. Remember that when we make a new generic layer it is BLANK until we add something to it. What you see (the points) is the other layer underneath.

4. Start with ADD NEW from the left menu and connect the center of your exterior points with a drawn polygon. Adjust as needed.

Use ADD Polygon tool to create Plot extent

5. Next use the Divide by polyline tool to split connecting interior set of points as a guide.  Use the SELECT from left menu to select each of the resultant polygons to test for correct size.

Use Divide by Polyline Tool to Split

6. Repeat the Divide by polyline, always drawing from outside the polygon through the otherside before ending the line. Your lie will automatically clip to the item being split.

Repeat Divide by Polyline to Complete Splits

7. Next open the DATA GRID which is the display of the attribute data attached to each geographic item. ADD an Attribute to house the name or description of each of your plots. As you highlight a ROW in the data grid, the corresponding polygon will BOLD in the reference map in lower right corner.

In Data Grid Add Attribute and Enter Plot Identifiers

8. SAVE your map and attribute data grid into the field hierarchy. Bring into view and label, colourize or print as needed. This layer becomes the template to use to create prescriptions or to record plot data. ANY layer in SMS is exportable as a shapefile and other formats to communicate with monitors or other management software.

Apply Legend, Labels, Print or Export: Now Plots have AREA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s