Autmated Text Placement
Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:11 AM
I'm somewhat familiar with Label-EZ already, I know about their basic workflow, input/output and pricing structure. I'm looking for comparable information on Maplex.
- I understand Maplex is both available as a stand-alone app and as an extension to ArcGIS. Is this correct? Do they offer the same functionality? A related decision here is what to use to edit data: Manifold, ArcGIS or MapInfo. Final visualisation is going to be done in MAPublisher on either Freehand or Illustrator, preferably on the Mac platform.
- How is the pricing structure?
- How is the Illustrator/Freehand output?
- Anybody here have any hands-on experience with it?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Twitter: @redgeographics
Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:35 AM
ps-I consider MapInfo a much easier platform than Arc in terms of editing data. With MI, if you see the data you can edit it directly, none of these multiple levels of separation between you & the original data.
Posted 13 February 2006 - 05:43 AM
That time I found 4 programs: Intergraph DCS Typographer, MapText Label-EZ, EverMap EverName and ESRI Maplex. In the meanwhile I also heard of Laser-Scan ClearText (part of Clarity generalisation-software).
If you are interested I could send you my paper. Although it is more or less out of date, it might be interesting.
Posted 13 February 2006 - 07:29 PM
That's right. Maplex is a free extension for the ArcEditor and ArcInfo license levels of ArcGIS Desktop
Sorry to contradict a colleague, but that's not correct!
From ArcGIS 9.1, every ArcInfo level licence includes the Maplex label extension.
If you have ArcEditor (or ArcView), you can buy the Maplex extension as a costed add-on.
There is still a Maplex standalone product, but it is no longer being actively developed. It is also substantially more expensive than the extension. The label placement functionality is similar in both, but the extension is more scaleable and can take advantage of the ArcGIS environment. The standalone version is more focussed on text, and arguably has better text editing and text export functionality.
In terms of comparison with Label-EZ, the previous posters had the right idea. Label-EZ has much more of a scripting approach to placement (try this with this tolerance, then that with that tolerance, then ...). This is fine if you are a placement expert and can take the time to set up and tune the scripts. Maplex is much more of an adaptive aproach, with less sequence control, but has an intelligent placement engine that has been refined over a ten year period, and a comprehensive UI to say what you want to achieve.
The Maplex extension to ArcGIS is well-integrated with the editing and database environments, and you can either use the dynamic labels directly, or convert them to stored database annotation if you want to tweak individual labels interactively.
The Maplex label extension appeared in ArcGIS 9.0, but was re-engineered in 9.1 (from Fortran to C). It has substantial improvements for ArcGIS 9.2 (currently in Beta), and there is an ongoing program of improvements in hand. If you going to do a comparative evaluation, it would be appropriate to test 9.2.
See http://www.esri.com/...ensions/maplex/ for more information on Maplex.
I should add that I happen to be the ESRI Technical Product Manager for Maplex, so I may be biased! However in a previous existence (at Laser-Scan), I technically evaluated both Label-EZ and Maplex (and was involved in the beginnings of ClearText), so I do have a broader knowledge, and I speak here as myself, not for ESRI.
ESRI Europe (email@example.com)
Posted 13 February 2006 - 08:10 PM
I know this has come up before but what are the odds or Maplex becoming more of a standard product in 9.2...i.e. included with ArcView?
Posted 14 February 2006 - 07:37 PM
... what are the odds or Maplex becoming more of a standard product in 9.2...i.e. included with ArcView?
It's not in 9.2, and don't hold your breath until it does happen!
Maplex at present has real value. To do the same job by hand takes a LOT of time, and it's not trivial for someone to come up with a cheap replacement (it's taken Maplex over 10 years to reach this level of capability, and it has a team of five people maintaining and extending it. ESRI paid a fair amount for the company that created Maplex, and needs to recoup that outlay. Remember that when Maplex first came on the market, the price per seat was getting on for $100,000 (and several organisations were willing to buy at that level, because it would save them time and money!). The current extension price is a minute fraction of that.
At ArcGIS 9.1, a Maplex license is bundled with every ArcInfo level ArcGIS licence. This was a major step forward in making Maplex functionality available to a much bigger user base. It also helps preserver the 'added value' of ArcInfo over ArcEditor or ArcView.
In the long run, yes, it is the nature of useful extension capabilities to eventually migrate into core product. At some stage in the future I can imagine Maplex (or some capabilities derived from the Maplex engine) appearing as core capabilities, even down to the ArcView level. But not yet.
Note that although I am the technical product manager for Maplex, I don't make company pricing or licensing decisions, so what I say above is my personal opinion, not an ESRI statement.
ESRI Europe (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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