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Two questions about optimized symbology

December 05 2008 | 1 comment

What makes certain ESRI symbols "optimized"? For instance, if I choose symbology from the ESRI Optimized Symbol Set and I modify the colour of a fill or the separation value of a pattern, are these symbols still optimized? Also, are the colours used in the ESRI Optimized Symbol Set web-smart?

Mapping Center Answer:

Good question! We actually have a couple of presentations on our Other Resources page that you can download to get more info but here are the short answers to your questions: 

The ESRI_Optimized style contains both line and fill symbols that are designed to perform better (for display, exporting, and ArcGIS Server) while still maintaining a close visual appearance to their counterparts in the default ESRI style. (The symbols in the ESRI_Optimized style show an average improvement of about 60 percent in draw times over those in the default style.) They use simple line symbols as the outline and the picture fill symbols use .emfs versus bitmaps. So if you modify your symbol and do not use a simple symbol then you will in fact affect the performance of the symbol.

In terms of your point about separation, for example -- if you make the separation smaller, it will draw more slowly (because more lines have to be drawn); a larger separation will improve the performance.

And the colors are not web safe, which for most monitors is not really a major consideration anymore.

If you want to learn more, there is a longish (75 minute) presentation called "Getting to Know Symbols and Styles in ArcGIS" that we gave at the 2007 ESRI User Conference -- this one has full bottom notes. We gave a shorter (20 minute) presentation at the 2007 NACIS conference during Practical Cartography Day (PCD) called "Symbols and Styles in ArcGIS" -- this one doesn't have the bottom notes.

I stand corrected... posted by Aileen Buckley on Dec 9 2008 8:28AM
Actually, web safe colors are still a consideration if you want to avoid dithering (using a combination of colors to create the one you want). There are web safe 216 colors used by browsers regardless of the platform. When you work only with these colors, you can be sure that the colors you use will not dither on a system set to display 256 colors. The 216 web safe colors are in the Web216 style that ships with the software. You could start with a symbol out of the ESRI_Optimized style and simply change the color to one that is in the Web216 palette so assure that it is web safe.

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