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Street Label Placement Issues

August 19 2009 | 0 comments
Categories: Cartographic Design, Labeling, Maplex

I have seen a post somewhere here regarding street label placement but cant seem to find it. The problem I am having is that I have streets that are being labeled horizontally by default and I do not have that option enabled in my street placement rules. I have this:
Label Position: Curved and centered on line, Street Placement, Repeat Label (50000 Map Units).
Fitting Strategy: Overrun Feature (15 Map Units), Reduce Font Size, Min. feature for labeling (50 Map Units).
Conflict Resolution: Remove Duplicates (50000 Map Units), Label Buffer 15%, and Never Remove labels.
Attached is a jpeg of what I keep getting when I label my streets. I had gotten around this previously with that post but now cant seem to correct this, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Mapping Center Answer:

Glad you sent a picture.  The main issue is that it loooks like you have Never Remove Labels on.  That is the main cause of your horizontal labels.  I'm going to go out on a limb here (not really):

There is never a good reason to use the "Never Remove Labels" option Maplex.  Do not use it for anything. I'm being emphatic because this is a public posting that ideally others will find.

There are a couple of other issues I saw in your description and in your JPG.  First is that using Map Units as the basis for distances for Maplex parameters is bad practice.  The option to do so came out of European Mapping Specifications that were used to inform the design of the original Maplex product more than a dozen years ago.  Besides being a little too abstract for most people's tastes, all the hard work you're doing may be wasted if you have to change your data's or map's coordinate system (which is what determines the type of the map unit).  Since your map will either be printed or displayed on a screen, use culturally comfortable units, like since you're from the U.S., inches. 

Second, your map scale is too small for the text size and the parameter values you are using.  The way I think about this is to envision a street label of 10 characters (seven for the name, and two for the type) as being the average label length.  At the map scale in your JPG, there is no way a 10 character label will fit along a 50 map unit street (that's why the never remove labels option is kicking in so harshly).  Start by reducing your font size--it's a bit too large (because you're using ALL CAPS, you can likely go at least 3-4 points smaller). 

I'm not sure what your map's scale is, but say it's 1:30,000, it probably needs to be 1:18,000 to 1:20,000 to expect most streets to be labeled, and even 1:12,000 for all streets. 

You could also take advantage of the Reduce font size option in Maplex, but definitely only reduce by 2 points and by an interval of 1.0 points. 

Last, we've done quite a few blog post on the Mapping Center Blog--just click the blog tab and then either search for Streets or click the Maplex category on the right;  you'll find several postings that should provide additional help and insight.

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