Symbolizing communications cables
Our group is struggling with symbolizing our communications cable feature class. The feature class contains multiple statuses: aerial, underground in conduit, underground direct buried, and abandoned. The types are not isolated and are often jumbled up in one area. Past 1:1000 it becomes very difficult to delineate the presence of multiple cables in one area. What would be the best way to approach this problem?
Mapping Center Answer:
A map series comes to mind--the idea is that you have a few key "landmarks" that help users orient themselves, but then only show each type in a given data frame. This is a variation of the "transit map problem" (a cartographic holy grail), and your data is more complex. You could also just do the series as a set of data frames in the layout--you can get away with smaller data frames because the data will be simpler in each data frame.
If this is for a map service, then having several services, one for each type of cable would be best--allowing users to turn them on and off as they need.
It also depends on the purpose of the map--is it to show the system of cables or make it possible to know which kind of cables are located where. One idea for the latter is to just have a single dataset where the line features represent the combination of cable types shown on a given line--the line features would break when the combination changes. Then you could symbolize the lines (by thickness) by the the number of cable types present, and label with single letters to denote which types are present (A=aerial, B=buried, C=underground conduit, and X=abandoned).
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