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Online map-label legibility comparisons (article)

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#1
Matthew Hampton

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This article is primarily concerned with the techniques Google uses. I didn't find the comparisons earth-shattering, but interesting nonetheless.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#2
Gretchen Peterson

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That was just about the greatest explanation of label legibility I've ever come across. Too bad it doesn't seem as if the blogger allows comments or I would post this there. The example maps that flash on/off are enormously instructive. Thank you for sharing this link.

#3
Charles Syrett

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Yes -- very interesting article. Perhaps inadvertently, it literally "punches holes" into Google Maps and gives custom cartographers even more arguments for their services over Google's! :rolleyes:

Charles Syrett
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http://www.mapgraphics.com

#4
l.jegou

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Some comments by web developpers about this post :

http://news.ycombina...item?id=1963612

I find interesting, in the sense of strangeness, the gap between web technology and basic cartographic (and geographic) knowledge. Can we elaborate on this topic ?

#5
MapMedia

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The article makes clear how the design and programmatic process of Google, notably the talented algorithm programmers at Google, are impressive, and certainly in the case of Google Maps, out performed their competitors.

I for one have jotted down some notes from the Google Map observations - to incorporate in my maps. I do not believe ESRI's Maplex label engine has the abilities to label maps using Google's method.

#6
Jon Morris

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I do not believe ESRI's Maplex label engine has the abilities to label maps using Google's method.


True, Maplex does not automatically declutter around metro areas, but the other techniques mentioned are all available. I'm not sure how Google have done this - it looks like manual editing to me, but it may be possible to create buffers around large cities and apply them as masks to the small city layer.

The other visual trick, absence of city clusters, could be achieved using the label buffer setting, with hard constraint, although this will apply to all label classes, not just cities.

If there are any features you'd like to see in Maplex, just let us know!
Jon Morris
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#7
Pete

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The other visual trick, absence of city clusters, could be achieved using the label buffer setting, with hard constraint, although this will apply to all label classes, not just cities.


I used to think that the label engine in ArcMap was pure evil but it's not all bad - just like Alan Rickman.

If you have a layer symbolised in a heirarchy you can, more or less, label in the same heirarchy. If you check out the labelling tab in the layer's properties the default method is to label features the same way. If you change this to define classes of features and label each class differently and click on the Get Symbol Classes button this will automaticcly generate classes and write an SQL definition into each class that effectively mirrors your symbology. Then you can set different label styles and conflict detection for each class so your most importnat features can have the largest labels (blackest, biggest, largest halo etc) with the biggest buffer inside which no other labels can be placed, and similarly less important features can be paler, smaller and more likely to be unlabeled if there are more donimant labels in the viscinity.

I've done this a few times for one reason or another and I admit that it's not perfect - not by a long shot! - but it does give you a start if you are going to manually adjust the annotation in something like Illustrator.




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