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customized symbols to multiple attributes point feature class, saving symbology ArcMap 9.3

March 04 2009 | 2 comments
Categories: Cartographic Representations


I am attempting to symbolize a point feature class with customized labels and am having a few problems which leads me to believe there has got to be a better hopefully faster way to label attributes. Attached are a few screen shots to illustrate my project. What I've got is a point feature class that is of grocery stores/shopping malls. Each point represents a shopping mall, and has 1 to 3 fields describing specific stores located in each. I am trying to label these stores by their logo. So I create the logos from .bmps which I try to make about the same size and resolution in photoshop before importing them as a style in Arc. MY questions are:

1. what is the most optimal way to make labels for ArcMap so they all appear approximately the same size (say 20).

2. The only way I've been able to copy paste the shopping mall layer in the TOC 3 times to hit up all of the attributes. Then assign these custom symbols to each attribute is through the label manager which seems to want to use only text, how do I get it to use the labels I've made? What I end up doing is taking one of ESRI's highway labels and turning the text color to none and text size to .01 so the label isn't out in la la land (the bigger the text, the farther the sybol moes from the point! ODD!), and then in the advanced text, inserting my custom symbol. Is there a better way?

3. How to automate so the symbols don't overlap eachother.

4. How can I save the custom symbols to each attribute so when I add the feature class to a new map they automatically appear? I know that you can save symbology in layer files but I have trouble importing layer files to my file geodatabase and the custom symbology is out the window.

5. Dream question: if I edit the attribute table or add additional shopping center points & or add attribute info - new shops into the table, is there any way this can be automatically labeled using my custom symbols?

6. When I export to pdf the cust. symbols magically disappear, but a white background is in the place of where they should be. I have found a free software that will export pdf but takes very long time and not sure if it preserves the resolution like ArcMap does. Is it because I'm using .bmp for my custom symbols?

7. Lastly, I've noticed that with each symbol I use for these stores right on top of the label there is bright red text (arial) which is types out the name or the shopping center. So if it's Ewa Shopping Center on top of Longs Drugs and Foodland symbols. IF the text is already seleted as no color for the symbol in the layer manager why is this appearing? It's a different attribute even? How do I make that red text go away? I've noticed that if I change the font text size the red text gets bigger. Hopefully the screenshot I've taken will describe this better than I can!!

Mahalo nui loa! Appreciate the help!

Mapping Center Answer:

One solution is to symbolize your points instead of labeling them. You could do this using cartographic representations (note that to use cartographic representations you have to have your data in a geodatabase.)

First, use your bitmap images to create new representations marker symbols:

  1. Create a picture marker symbol from a bitmap image.
  2. Save the picture marker into a style.
  3. Access the representation properties to which you'd like to add a new rule that references the new marker.
  4. Click the Rule Options button Rule options button under the list of rules.
  5. Choose Import Symbol.
  6. Click on Properties, Select Type: Picture Marker Symbol. Navigate to the new picture marker symbol in the Symbol Selector dialog box.
  7. Click OK.

A new rule will be added to the list that includes a marker symbol layer containing a representation marker that has been converted from the picture marker symbol. Then use representations to symbolize the features:

You can use a stacked label, which is a label that is shown on more than one line of text, to first label the shopping mall (on the first line) and then to show the stores in the mall (on the second line). The stores in the mall would be shows using multiple marker symbols strung along in a line. The multiple marker symbols can be constructed for each shopping mall location as a set of individual symbols with a cumulative x-axis offset value applied to each individual symbol within the string. The point features for each location are then assigned their respective representation rule in a subsequent edit session.

Here is an example of map that we made:

Map example

Here are the reps rules used to make those symbols:

Reps Layer Properties

additional question posted by Christine Chaplin on Mar 4 2009 9:49PM
Can this be done in ArcView? When I open the layer properties the "Representations" value is not visible. We don't have ArcEditor or ArcInfo...
ArcView level license posted by Aileen Buckley on Mar 5 2009 12:57PM
You would need and ArcEditor or ArcInfo level license to do this. To see what is possible with each license level, you can check out the ArcGIS 9.3 Functionality Matrix at:

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