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Using custom bitmaps as labeling

April 19 2010 | 0 comments
Categories: Labeling, Symbology

I need to label some Toll Roads using eight different Houston Toll Road Authority labels. These labels will be used on a multi-scale cached web site. We also cannot (NOT) use Maplex for this. How do I make this happen using ArcMap 9.3.1 with ArcInfo Desktop on Windows XP.

I put these in a style file, and can place them one at a time manually. But this is not acceptable for my Web site with caching. Please advise. Thanks.

Mapping Center Answer:

The short answer is yes, this can be done. The practical answer, well, this involves a long series of clicks, but as a result you get a usable and resusable style to apply to your labels.

You say that you are NOT using Maplex and you DO have the XP as your operating system. You also provided the collection of 8 bitmaps with bright magenta outlines (or backgrounds), two of which appeared to be transparent.

You already said that you had put these bitmaps into a style file. Did you make them into Markers or Labels in the style file? If you haven't made them into markers or labels yet, I would suggest that you make them as individual labels. You do this by creating a new style for your Toll Roads, and then using the Style Manager, create new label symbols for each of the Toll Roads. It's simple, but it involves a lot of clicks. Here's how you do it:

For the sake of expediency, make a new label symbol -- click the Labels folder in the left pane and in the right pane right click and click new, then click Label. Click Symbol Properties. In the Symbol Selector, scroll down click the "U.S. Route HWY" label symbol (from the default ESRI style). Using this symbol, many of the properties are set for you and you simply have to make a few modifications. Click Properties to see the label symbol properties. You will now be in the Editor dialog and you'll see a Preview of a shield on the General tab. Your label symbol doesn't require any text to be displayed, so set the color of the Font to No Color. You will also want the alignment of the label symbol to be centered, so set the vertical and horizontal alignment as Center. After that, click the Advanced Text tab and make sure the Shadow color is set to No Color. Then with the Text background box checked, click the Properties button to get to the Properties for the text background. Click the Symbol button. You will now be in the Symbol Selector dialog. Click the Properties button. This is where you finally navigate to and click to select your toll road bitmap files as the background. Under Properties, set the Type to Picture Marker Symbol. Navigate to the folder where your bitmap files are stored and select it then click Open. This will take you back to the Symbol Property Editor dialog, where your selcted bitmap will be shown in the Preview and the Layers areas. Since your symbol is so small and I wanted to be able to see what I was doing, I set the size to 24 points.

The symbol I chose was the IHO Toll bitmap. This looked to me like it needed a background, so I added a second layer as a Character Marker Symbol and I chose a background from the ESRI Default Markers. I scaled it to the appropriate size and set the color to white. Then click OK.

At this point, you have just finished creating one of the symbols. If you save this to a style you can simply copy and modify it to make the other symbols. To do this, click the Save button on the Symbol Selector dialog for the text background (this saves the bitmap as a marker symbol that you can use for the background), and then click OK to get back to the Symbol Selector for the label symbol (this saves the symbol in the Text Symbols folder). All of these will be in your personal style. Click OK once more to get back to the Style Manager dialog. Change the name of the symbol you just created. I called it "IHO Toll".

Now, to make the other bitmap symbols, just right click the label symbol and click Copy then right click and click Paste to copy/paste the label symbol you just made. Do this seven times to make the other symbols you need. Rename them appropriately. Now go through the dialog sequence again to modify the text background so that you reference the other bitmap files. Also, remember to remove the background layer in the symbol if you do not need it. And save your edits along the way so you can find the elements you used in the symbols in the Marker symbols Text symbols folder (in case you need them later).

Now you are ready to work with the label styles and apply them to your roads in ArcMap. In your map document you need to create different label classes so that each road that is supposed to have a different symbol is in a separate class. After you do this, then on the Labels tab of the Layer Properties dialog Layer Properties, you will see at the bottom right corner "Pre-defined Label Styles". Click the Label Styles button to open the Label Style Selector dialog. Here you can simply browse to the various label symbols you created to apply the appropriate label to the appropriate selection of roads.

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