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Leader Lines: Even the Simple is Befuddling Me!

March 04 2011 | 1 comment
Categories: Labeling, Maplex

Hello! Please see the attached. These are point features on the roads; I have a no color symbol engaged. The balloon one is me fiddling w/annotation and reflects the look I'm going for. However, there will be a couple hundred of these little intersection maps within this project, so an automated solution is highly desired! I think simple callouts would better suit the application, but look at how lousy my best effort looks. Despite the roads having a super high weight (1000) no combination of leader tolerance/offset prevents the numbers from conflicting with the linework. Can I do better? Thanks! (ArcMap10SP1, Maplex)

Mapping Center Answer:

Okay--first I think there's a bug here because what you had, with one change should have worked.  That change was to turn off the Never Remove Labels setting. 

I made five other changes that produced a better result (the first 3 had little consequence):

1. Reduced the feature weights from 1000 to 800 (this helped with labeling the linear features).

2. Changed the maximum offset to 500% (no point in doing 3500% -- you could get a really ugly label).

3. Optimized your label expression to have two fewer lines:

Function FindLabel ([STANUM])
FindLabel = [STANUM]
IF InStr([STANUM], "-") <> 0 THEN
 FindLabel = INT(Right([STANUM],4))
End If
End Function

4. The big one was to adjust how you were using user defined zones.  I just used the 3:00 and 9:00 positions--giving them a rank of 1 and 2 respectively.  This forced many of the less good looking labels off the map (I noted that most of the collisions occurred in close to vertical orientations). 

5. I changed your point symbol to be a 25pt circle (using the circle symbol from the default style).  Then I gave that a label weight of 800 as well.

I'm not totally happy with the result, but it's much better than before.  The only issue is that Maplex often insisted on crossing a road with a leader--doing #5 alleviated some of that.

I gave this case to the development team to have a look at.


Never Remove posted by Marianne Farretta on Mar 28 2011 3:06PM
This is very useful; thank you! I understand the hesitation to engage the "Never Remove" function, but this map's only purpose is to show traffic counter positions, so each must be placed, no matter how ugly. It does seem that "Never Remove" encourages behavior which is non-compliant with the other placement rules, so if you are forced to "Never Remove," you're guaranteed some unsightly results! Have you encountered maps for which you must place a certain feature class' labels, and if so, are you able to leverage the "Never Remove" feature without catastrophe? Thank you again; the feedback is greatly appreciated!

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