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#1
frax

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The annual meeting of the ESRI Carto SIG took place at the 2005 ESRI User Conference (UC) in San Diego. A number of questions raised by attendees were answered and clarified by ESRI product team members. During the meeting, participants identified a top 10 (actually 11) list of requests for cartographic functionality. ESRI product teams have reviewed the requests and have posted responses at the Cartography Industry Discussion Conference.
Look for the Top 10 Cartographic Issues under the General Principles and Issues section of the cartography area of the forums. We would like to encourage you to comment on the issues and let us know if they address your key concerns or if you have other hot issues that affect cartographic users of ESRI software.


Read more here (and discuss)

1) Data models for cartography
2) Generalization strategies
3) Illustrator-like interactive editing
4) ArcView 3-like project files
5) Improved layering of Adobe Illustrator output
6) Improved rasterization of print graphic files
7) Easier/quicker propagation of map symbols
8) Full support for CMYK color model including spot colors
9) Specific cartographic functionality from extensions were seen as expensive
10) Improved handling of map series
11) A single robust text feature format usable in all ESRI software
Hugo Ahlenius
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#2
frax

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My personal opinion: I prefer to do all the graphics work in Illustrator, and I don't see it as realistic for ArcMap to implement all the features from Illy. I can see people wanting to use Arc more for series and semi-automated mapping though.

So this list doesn't do much for me. Maybe 2 (but Illy does generalization well too) and 5 (don't know what could be improved...). What I would like though, is to a) get some more mapublisher functionality, and B) make it easier to bring in Illy paths into Arc.
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#3
Mike H

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I'm not a power Arc user by any means, but I'm wondering what the improved layering to illy is about. The ability for layers to export intact, I assume? We design in Arc to make that easier - if you assign different colors to the layers, and it exports as one layer, you can use illy's Select By Color feature to build a layer structure in a few minutes.

what we do have issues with are the resolution and polygon dicing problems. Sometimes the .ai is OK, and sometimes it's a mess. Not sure why...yet..

m.
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#4
Martin Gamache

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Mike,

The polygon dicing problem is easy to solve. It happens when you have elements that get rasterized in the export. these include any transparencies or weird fills. It seems to me once you know to avoid thse types of problematic effects (and rebuild them later in the DTP environment) you avoid the polygon dicing. Have you encountered it at other times when you have not been able to work around it?

mg

#5
frax

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also: set the dpi resolution high, I think part of the banding problems was related to that. Another thing that I learned the hard way: don't use lines on polygons (the equivalent of strokes), only fills.

In map production, the amount of time I spend in ArcMap is at a minimum, and I am very happy with that. It can take quite a long time to tweak and prepare data, and it can take a lot of time to tweak and design the map composition. ArcMap is just the vehicle for exporting the data to Illy.
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#6
Matthew Hampton

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The polygon problem also occurs when you have a complex paths (such as islands in rivers). The polygon either gets rasterized or (more commonly) the path gets broken into smaller discreet complex paths. Adjusting the dpi (or page size) sometimes works.

The BIG problem I have been having with exporting to AI from Arc is with the annotation. The ideal situation is that all the annotation exports over on editable text paths. Unfortunately, sometimes the baseline gets chopped-up into individual characters (but it's better than exporting from Arcview Classic and having it turned into outlines). Interestingly, different "types" of ArcGis annotation behaves differently on export. I have had the best luck with workstation ArcInfo anno and the worst luck with Maplex labels. The latter chunks out each character for any text that is not oriented to 90deg.

The 'legacy font' issue compounds the problem. Upon conversion to double-byte fonts in CS or CS2, extra character spaces get added between words such that the anno flows off the baseline and you seel all those red +'s at the end of the text path (requiring simple but time consuming direct-selection-tool work).

I'm all for having ESRI make it easier for moving vectors over to AI, although I think their intention is to pull Illustrator (Freehand) out of the process of taking maps to the press. Personally, my creativity flows better in Illustrator and Photoshop.
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#7
pghardy

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The case where output to Illustrator (or PDF or other formats) from ArcGIS is broken into smaller polygons (known as dicing) is based on handling the restrictions in PostScript and in early versions of Illustrator. There are controls for ArcGIS to avoid the situation if you know you are going to a later version of AI.

There is a new KnowledgeBase article (KB 29950) about how to control dicing in 9.x

"Polygons are divided in tiny strips when exported to EPS, PDF, SVG, or AI Illustrator"
ArcGIS - ArcEditor 9.0, 9.1 ArcGIS - ArcInfo 9.0, 9.1 ArcGIS - ArcView 9.0, 9.1 ... Created: November 29, 2005
When opened in an external editor like Adobe Illustrator, .EPS, .PDF, .SVG, or .AI export files display some large polygons divided into separate pieces...

http://support.esri....cleShow&d=29950

The other situation seen sometimes is that output is rasterized into bands, and this is usually caused by use of layer transparency. ArcGIS will rasterize any transparent layer and all layers below it, in order to get it through the Windows graphics subsystems. Work (a lot of work) is in hand for a future release to allow export of transparent objects without rasterization (but its after 9.2). :(

... what we do have issues with are the resolution and polygon dicing problems. Sometimes the .ai is OK, and sometimes it's a mess. Not sure why...yet..

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


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#8
frax

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Paul - I have been experimenting a bit with ArcScene and ArcGlobe - and as far as I can see there is no way to export layouts in vector format for use in e.g. Illustrator - one can choose eps/pdf/ai formats but all one gets is an image embedded in the file...

Another related thing -- it would be good to get some indication when an export from ArcMap will fail to export all vectors, due to raster effects such as transparencies. This could be a warning when you apply those effects or in the export dialog.
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#9
David Medeiros

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I'd add Mac compatability to that list if I could.

Not really a cartographic functionality issue, more a comfort issue. I use Macs and Illustrator exclusivly and get good use out of Map Publisher. But my prospects for moving into a more GIS based career are limited without changing platforms.

It would be nice to see a Mac version of Arc/Info down the line.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#10
pghardy

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I don't see that coming on the desktop in the near future. Having been involved in multi-platform software development in the past (not at ESRI), it greatly increases the cost of each release for every platform you have to test on, not to mention the difficulties of coming up with consistent UIs for all platforms.

Jack (the boss at ESRI) was asked about Mac support at the user group meeting last year (or maybe the year before?), and asked the 12,000 people there how many would buy extra licenses if ArcGIS desktop was available on Mac. About 5 people put their hands up. I know that there is an element of self-fulfilling prophecy, becuase these were largely ESRI users already (presumably the non-ESRo folk weren't there), but it was an indication that it would be difficult to cost justify it.

If you can get 5,000 signatures on a petition, saying that they would buy licences, then there might be a case!

It is worth saying that the server and engine products are pretty portable, and already are supported on Windows, Solaris and Linux. Its the UI that's the pig.

Paul (not speaking officially for ESRI!)
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#11
pghardy

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Paul - I have been experimenting a bit with ArcScene and ArcGlobe - and as far as I can see there is no way to export layouts in vector format for use in e.g. Illustrator - one can choose eps/pdf/ai formats but all one gets is an image embedded in the file...


I'll investigate when I'm back in Redlands - I'm in Washington DC at present (at the Federal UC). It wouldn't surprise me that it it is all raster at present - the speed comes from rendering onto a triangular network, but I'll ask around as to whether there is any hope of vector output.

Another related thing -- it would be good to get some indication when an export from ArcMap will fail to export all vectors, due to raster effects such as transparencies. This could be a warning when you apply those effects or in the export dialog.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Good idea - I'll feed it into the wish list.

Paul.
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#12
Martin Gamache

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Another related thing -- it would be good to get some indication when an export from ArcMap will fail to export all vectors, due to raster effects such as transparencies. This could be a warning when you apply those effects or in the export dialog.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Good idea - I'll feed it into the wish list.

Paul.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I like the way Illustrator does this. When you print or export a document it tells you if there are objects that require rasterizing and you can choose to ignore it. This could be handled the same way with a pop-up that is triggered by transparencies or hatch fills in the file. A checkbox would allow you to de-activate the warning (i.e.never show this again).

This would be very useful, as it's easy to overlook small things sometimes

#13
MichaelG

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Another related thing -- it would be good to get some indication when an export from ArcMap will fail to export all vectors, due to raster effects such as transparencies. This could be a warning when you apply those effects or in the export dialog.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi Everyone. This is Michael from ESRI.

We released a developer sample at ArcGIS 9.1 to help partially address the need for output troubleshooting. The "Detect Complex Output" sample shipped on the ArcGIS 9.1 CDs as part of the ArcObjects Developer Kit. The sample also works on 9.0, and can be downloaded from:

http://edndoc.esri.c...mplexOutput.htm

The tools cover two output problem scenarios: 1) rasterization of vector layers and 2) bloated vector files from large numbers of variable depth mask clipping paths. Problem 1 is the reason most people use this sample. Problem 2, the excess masks thing, has not turned out to be the potential output killer we though it might have been, but the tool is there anyway.

The tools don't run automagickly at print/export time. You have to open up the toolbar and click the command button to see the report. A little primitive, but it has turned out to be quite useful for my work.

The ZIP archive for the sample contains a DLL, some .bat files, and a bunch of VB source code. You don't need to mess with the VB stuff in order to use it. Just save the batch files and DLL to a location where they won't get deleted and run _InstallDetectComplexOutputSample.bat.

Here is a more detailed description about installing and using the sample, copied from the download page referenced above:

This Developer Sample provides a toolbar with two commands that can help identify map contents that may contribute to printing or export problems. The two commands, Detect Raster and Count Masks, run inside of the ArcMap application and can be used on any map document.

The Detect Raster command creates a report listing the raster layers found in each dataframe of the map. The report also includes a list of layers using symbology that may force a layer to rasterize on output, a common cause of large export file sizes and unexpected printing problems.

The Count Masks command creates a report with counts for each layer being used for ArcMap's variable-depth masking functionality. Variable depth masking can lead to output problems when a map with many masks is exported to a vector-based graphics format or when the map is printed. The report from the Count Masks command can be used to identify masking layers that may be using overly-complex mask types or layers that contain an excessive number of mask polygons.


How to use:
1)Double click on the _InstallDetectComplexOutputSample.bat file include with the code. This batch file will register the esriDtctCplxOutput DLL and put all the included classes in the correct categories. The classes include one toolbar and two commands. The install and uninstall batch files assume the regsvr32 command is accessible from the system path.
2) Enable the Detect Complex Output toolbar from the ArcMap View menu's Toolbars list.
3) Click on the Detect Raster or Count Masks button to generate a report based on the contents of the currently open map.



--Michael
Michael Grossman
ESRI

#14
frax

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Not really a cartographic functionality issue, more a comfort issue.  I use Macs and Illustrator exclusivly and get good use out of Map Publisher.  But my prospects for moving into a more GIS based career are limited without changing platforms.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


With the investement of ArcGIS, you should be able to afford a windows machine too, it wouldn't make it THAT much more expensive. Anyways, it looks like you will soon be able to run it at near full speed in a virtualized machine anyways (with the advent of the intel machines, and when virtual machine software supports the new platform).
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