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Thread: How to position contour labels in Maplex above the line?

  1. #1
    Jakub Sisak
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    Default How to position contour labels in Maplex above the line?

    I would like to utilize the "contour placement" options of "Uphill alignment" and "Laddering" while positioning the label above the contour not over it. This does not seem to be an option under the contour placement where it's forcing me to place the contour over the line. (Which makes no sense in ArcGIS since there is easy way to mask that portion of the line efficiently. Possible but very cumbersome and not dynamic) I tried the other placement options in Maplex but then "Uphill Alingment" and "Laddering" is not longer an option.

    Does anyone has a good way of doing this?

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    there. another GIS Stack Exchange cross post....

    Jakub Sisak, GISP
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  2. #2
    Jon Morris
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    Default Re: How to position contour labels in Maplex above the line?

    Hi Jakub,

    When we developed contour labeling for Maplex, we didn't envisage that users would want offset contour labels - there seems to be too much potential for ambiguity, especially if the contours are close together. I've certainly never seen a map with offset contour labels.

    I'll make a note of it for a future enhancement though. It's too late for 10.1 unfortunately, but we can consider it next time around.

    In the meantime, have you tried using halos around your labels? With a uniform background, a halo will look just as good as masking the features. If the background color is changing, you'll have to pick a complimentary color.
    Jon Morris
    Esri

  3. #3
    Jakub Sisak
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    Default Re: How to position contour labels in Maplex above the line?

    Thanks Jon. Yes i have used the halos but this is only a solution for maps with solid color background. Usually, topographic maps i produce include shaded relief or DEM symbolized with graduated color intervals or both. In actuality i'd prefer to have a contour label the way it is (positioned over the line) but instead of the halo it needs to mask a small portion of the contour (or any other feature i choose in the close proximity so as not to obscure the label itself)
    It would be fantastic to have this feature a part of the dynamic labeling.

    My current workaround is as follows:
    Label features
    Export to Annotations
    Clean up annotations manually
    Convert annotations to polygons
    Buffer annotation polygons by an appropriate distance
    used buffered annotation as Mask in the Advanced Drawing Options

    The result is perfect, but very much static and quite labor intensive

    Hence the workaround for quick interoffice maps would be to utilize the same Maplex options but move the label above the line. This is especially important when using major and minor contour lines as i typically label only the major contours. Being thicker, the major contour is too obstructed when the label is positioned directly over the line.

    I still do this with maplex but i loose the nice laddering and uphill orientation options.

    Jakub Sisak, GISP
    GIS StackExchange

    JAKUB SISAK photography
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  4. #4
    Wendy Harrison
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    Default Re: How to position contour labels in Maplex above the line?

    Hi,

    You can combine these two steps

    Convert annotations to polygons
    Buffer annotation polygons by an appropriate distance

    by using the Feature Outline Masks tool

    -Wendy Harrison, Esri

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