This 20 minute lesson examines the difference between the Project Map and the View Map, the first two icons in the Navigator palette. Users often are unclear and ask me “which one should I work in?” I explain the unique functions of each, and make recommendations for when you should use each one.
The Project Map contains all the Viewpoints in the project, organized into categories or folders such as Stories, Sections, Elevations, Interior Elevations, Worksheets, Details, etc. Note that over the past few years, these structural categories have expanded: for example, Sections and Elevations used to share the same tool and the same group in the Project Map, but as of ArchiCAD 12 now have separate tools and folders.
The View Map contains references to viewpoints from the Project Map, but each one is defined with context settings such as the layer combination, scale, model view options, etc. Each story in the Project Map will be represented by multiple Views in the View Map to set up Floor Plan, Reflected Ceiling Plan, Electrical Plan, and other variations. On the other hand, for several of the categories, there may only be one View for each Viewpoint – for example, each Section viewpoint will only have one View, with specific layers, scale and model view options.
I recommend spending most of your time working on your project using the Views in the View Map, since each time you activate a View you get a reliable result with the viewpoint in the proper context (layers, model view options, etc.). Switch to the Project Map only for specific purposes, such as creating a New Independent Worksheet (or Detail), or jumping from story to story with the current layer settings.
In addition to the reliability and predictability of Views, the View Map has one other major benefit – it can be organized hierarchically in whatever ways you find useful. This allows you to pack a lot of different Views of the project into a structure that can expand as needed but remain compact, legible and easy to navigate.
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