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Labeling Contour Lines:

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Hans van der Maarel

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Thanks Martin!

Is it normal to see the overprinted part of the, in your case, contour line in white?

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Martin, didn't you just move to NYC? Where are you going now?

Martin Gamache

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Thanks Martin!

Is it normal to see the overprinted part of the, in your case, contour line in white?


It may help if you overprint the line too.

I always double check the effect by printing to a press level PDF and making sure the overprint preview options are set correctly.

Not sure for an Illustrator solution.

I think you might be able to do it by converting the stroke to an object and with pathfinder tools. But it's definitely something I would try to do in a GIS before exporting.

Charlie Frye

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I think you make a good point--and I'll augment my advice to deal with the idea that one may not be using the same color for contour lines and labels.



(6) Also, do we really have to break the line under the label... if the reader can see the continuity of the line without hampering its legibility all the better?.

IMO it is much cleaner looking and more elegant to not have the two overlap. Depending on the font and label size you use it can also make your labels easier to read. Anyways it is not so hard to buffer the label so why not?

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Good afternoon,

in general I must say I get the point of splitting contours for labelling. BUT: even if I've read all the articles here, I still cannot make a proper visual outcome for my maps.
Here's the proccess I follow:

1. make the desired width and color for the contours lines in ArcGIS.
2. Use MapLex to label them with a white halo mask
3. Try to edit the labels ing AI where I finish my maps.

The problem is that I've tried with overprinting, but failed. I still cannot understand what's to overprint.. the mask? tha compound path? the texts (numbers)? What I want is my contours lines to be splitted but ONLY the text should be visible, not any mask or halo or compound path. It seems that apart from doing this line to line (splitting with scisscors etc) there is no other way to do so.. (of course no sane cartographer wants to do this to thousands of contours..)

Can anyone help??

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