With the introduction of the Display Manager in Autodesk MAP 3D 2005, you now have a better way to create thematic maps from your AutoCAD drawings. A thematic map uses properties like color and line width to display objects by data classifications. An example of this is a map of pipelines where you use different line colors to depict various pipe diameters.
The Display Manager is the second tab on the Workspace, that large white area that is activated when you first launch Autodesk Map 3D. Many users regularly turn this tool off, because it reduces the size of the drawing editor, but the Workspace provides a lot of useful tools for attaching files to drawings and for managing and displaying maps. One of these, the Display Manager, allows you to quickly and easily add stylizations to objects, change the display order and even specify different styles for different view scales, revealing more detailed thematic map characteristics as you zoom in.
Clicking the Update button causes changes in the display characteristics to appear immediately in the map, allowing you to adjust them and see the results quickly. The drawing objects themselves are not affected, only the way they are displayed, which can be easily turned on and off.
Combined with the ability of Autodesk Map 3D to attach data to any object, (not just blocks), the thematic mapping capabilities are nearly limitless, allowing you to experiment with multiple variables and display styles without altering the drawing objects themselves. Thematic maps can be made of any combination of points, lines and polygons, and you can apply a different style to each group of objects and build a complex but well designed map, one group at a time. Legends can also be created very quickly, and you can easily switch between different themes of the same objects.