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How to simplify/generalize coastal features ...

May 27 2009 | 0 comments
Categories: ArcGIS Methods, Map Data

without simplifying everything!

I have to make some maps that include the Gulf Coast – think lots (and lots and lots and lots and…) of small islands, etc. I have the county boundaries, but they include too much detail for the scale I’m working at about 1:6,000,000. See the attached graphic.

What is the best way to eliminate some of the ‘noise’ – seen as lots of grey, while still respecting the essential outline of the coast? I’ve tried deleting starting with the smallest and working my way larger, but you lose the essence of the outline that way. Can you merge the small islands together, other than by buffering (which would make them larger, and be just as bad as removing them; just in the opposite direction!).

Any ideas? Thanks!

Mapping Center Answer:

This is one of those cases where there is no easy solution.  My first suggestion would be to try the county data that comes with ArcGIS:

C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\bin\TemplateData\TemplateData.gdb\USA\counties

You might edit that a little to trim off some of the pointier of the spikes that show at 1:6,000,000.

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