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NYC soup kitchens and food pantries

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#1
benbakelaar

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I was at Borders over the weekend and found this great book, From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship, that contains 24 maps of church locations in Manhattan. The author made a nice reference grid which allowed there to be 24 boxes (referenced by letter) which covered all of Manhattan. After experimenting with some custom fishnet tools in ArcGIS, I decided to just manually recreate the grid, which I have done successfully. I am basically reproducing the book's design structure in my maps, since I think it is very clear, readable, useable, and simple. But I need some help.

Using ArcGIS 9.1 (trying to push those boundaries rather than do things manually in AI CS2):

1 - Is there a way I can automatically displace overlapping labels so that every label is displayed but is, if necessary, "pushed" away from its true geocoded center, in order to accomodate 2-3 others within the same space that the first label takes up?

2 - There are over 1000 soup kitchens/food pantries in NYC - displaying a two- or three-digit number inside the label (as the book does) allows for a much smaller/nicer/compact label than one containing a 4-digit number - should I just create a new field in the database that starts the displayed label numbering at 1 for each portion of the grid? Or for each boro? Or, if I'm going to leave it as the overall number - ie. pantry 1107 out of 1382, should I change the way the location is labeled?

I am working on getting a scan of the original map in the book for reference purposes. Hope my questions make sense without the reference.

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#2
peanut

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2 - There are over 1000 soup kitchens/food pantries in NYC - displaying a two- or three-digit number inside the label (as the book does) allows for a much smaller/nicer/compact label than one containing a 4-digit number - should I just create a new field in the database that starts the displayed label numbering at 1 for each portion of the grid? Or for each boro? Or, if I'm going to leave it as the overall number - ie. pantry 1107 out of 1382, should I change the way the location is labeled?


I am a big fan of renumbering them. I would also make sure and take the time and order the label numbers sequentially from Northwest to Southeast. If you make the labels sequential you can create and index for each of the pantries and the user will be able to find the pantry quickly on your maps.

Rich

#3
benbakelaar

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Ah, exactly the kind of input I am looking for, thanks! Now, do I have to do that manually for all 1000+, or is there a script or product that can help me with that task?

#4
peanut

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Ah, exactly the kind of input I am looking for, thanks! Now, do I have to do that manually for all 1000+, or is there a script or product that can help me with that task?


I am sure this is scriptable, but I am not sure if one already exists to do this. You might look at the Arc Scripts page http://arcscripts.esri.com.

I am lucky because most of the time I do this sort of thing my points follow the Colorado River in Texas which runs from Northwest to Southeast already. So all I have to do is sort my Longitudes and do a field calculation and I have what I need.

Rich

#5
benbakelaar

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OK, here's what I'm trying to accomplish:

http://64.202.170.23...arto2-grid1.jpg
http://64.202.170.23...carto2-map1.jpg
http://64.202.170.23...arto2-whole.jpg

As you can tell from my first post, I've gotten the grid thing down... although manually.

Trying to reproduce the 2nd image as best as possible - notice the numbering, its not really southwest to northeast, but it does seem to be in some sort of top-down order, rather than random.

#6
peanut

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OK, here's what I'm trying to accomplish:

http://64.202.170.23...arto2-grid1.jpg
http://64.202.170.23...carto2-map1.jpg
http://64.202.170.23...arto2-whole.jpg

As you can tell from my first post, I've gotten the grid thing down... although manually.

Trying to reproduce the 2nd image as best as possible - notice the numbering, its not really southwest to northeast, but it does seem to be in some sort of top-down order, rather than random.


Do you already have database of pantry points or are you going to have to build the database yourself based on the book?

#7
benbakelaar

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Do you already have database of pantry points or are you going to have to build the database yourself based on the book?


Yep I already have all the data, I recently posted the final results of a 9-month mapping project which yielded some nice results, but I think there is a lot of room for improvement, and the non-profit I did the maps for would certainly be open to new ideas.... so now I am looking to take the data in new directions to make it available in different, perhaps more useful, formats!

#8
benbakelaar

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Regarding the original map:
http://64.202.170.23...carto2-map1.jpg

Currently, my version of the map uses a black filled circle as the base for the label, and then overlays white text in a small font. Is there any way I can actually create the entire symbol in the label area (meaning numbers, circles, and fill)? And then convert it to an annotation or graphic so that I can manually push apart any overlapping labels?

Also, does anyone have a guess as to what that striped area immediately surrounding the land might be? I've worked with most of the freely available NYC layers, and I can't find that border anywhere. Is this just a stylistic addition, manually created by the mapper? If so, what purpose does it serve? Or, if a political/admin/nautical layer, which one? I think it looks great, I just don't understand what it is, and it's never specified in the book.

#9
Charlie Frye

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ArcGIS with Maplex can do this fairly well. I used some different data--voters, which were geocoded, and the result is that households with multiple voters have points stacked at the same location.

The trick is to set the layer's symbol to a marker symbol that has a zero size and set it's color is no color (not if you have a simple marker symbol turn off the outline as well by setting it to no color). Then assign label classes based on the symbol type you want to use. For instance one class for the features that would get solid black circles, and another for the features that would get a white circle with a black outline.

The text symbol is the key--set them up to have a text background; which will be the defacto symbol for each point. The Maplex Label Engine will displace these symbols because they are part of the labels that are being placed.
  • Go into text symbol properties, Advanced Text tab and check on the Text Background.
  • Click properties and change the type (at the top) to Marker Text Background.
  • Pick the symbol you want.
In terms of Maplex placement properties:
  • Position should be "Best Position"
  • Turn off stacking (I'm assuming it will go faster by doing this)
  • In label properties, label Position tab, click Label Offset and set the offset to be 0.25 points and the max to 2000 percent of that distance. (this is where it gets interesting insofar as the relationship with you geocoded points' offset from the street--so do what makes sense here in terms of keeping points on the correct side of the street).
  • In label properties, conflict resolution tab, set the Label Buffer (bottom) to be 1% (default is 15%)--which will all the labels to be very close together--also freeing up space for more labels to be placed.
Of course there's a limit to what can be done here. Displacing more than say a dozen points is likely an unrealistic expectation, but for 2-6 points, this method seems to work rather well. If you don't care about which side of the street, you can get dozens of points by increasing the percentage in #3 above from 2000 to 25000% (for example).

Last, I've got a couple of PDF examples (they're small), but the attachments option just won't show itself to me.

Thanks,

Charlie
Charlie Frye
Chief Cartographer
Software Products Department
ESRI, Redlands, California

#10
benbakelaar

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Thanks Charlie! Unfortunately, considering I just double-checked and the price of Maplex is $2500, I really do not see that piece of software in my future! Ever. :)

#11
Charlie Frye

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For soup kitchens, I understand your hesitence to spend the money; for voters there would be no other way (provided you could get enough work to spread the cost out). On the bright side there is a presidential election coming up. :D
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#12
benbakelaar

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For soup kitchens, I understand your hesitence to spend the money; for voters there would be no other way (provided you could get enough work to spread the cost out). On the bright side there is a presidential election coming up. :D


Ah, well I should perhaps have explained a little more clearly. I am a freelancer for GIS/mapping; my day job is IT. So I buy all my own software. Plus, I'm done with this soup kitchen project - this is more for my personal development as a cartographer/GISer.




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