In most GIS software, a control for cartographic display manages the stacking order of layers and their visibility settings. A layer located above the legend appears last and covers the layers located lower in the list. It is possible to hide a layer in the map area by clearing the check box next to each layer, or making it more or less transparent, etc. We can of course associate color palettes to raster layers and symbol files to entities of vector layers to compose the visual renderings of choice. It is then possible to furnish a title, a legend, or a scale to make a map that respects the rules of graphic semiotics.
It is also possible to associate to a layer a value of scale, above or below which it will not show. This will take into account the level of detail or resolution of the layer before displaying it, which will avoid having too many small entities that would render the visualization illegible.