I have a SDE dataset containing some 200.000 points. When I display them in full extent in ArcMap with a certain character marker symbol, they visually overlap as they are located very close to eachother (they still have different x-, y-coordinates though, so no identical points). Is there a way to only draw those points whose symbols can be fully displayed without overlapping another? The idea is, I want to be able to see more points the more I zoom in. I tried using the method of labelling the points with the actual character marker symbol instead of giving it a symbology, to prevent overlap. The result would be just what I want, but it takes ages to render all the labels, so this is not an option.
As far as I know, there is no automatic data generalization that would perform on-the-fly (on the symbology level, without creating new datasets) as you zoom in or zoom out.
You have several alternatives which I have outlined below by relevance: 1. Use Cartography toolbox in ArcGIS Desktop to process the dataset to produce several layers (or group layers) in the TOC in ArcMap and set scale dependency to show the layer with an appropriate detail level in a certain scale range.
2. You can try to use the Integrate tool (Management). Create a copy of your point layer file. Run the Integrate tool. Experiment with XY value (i.e., the distance value between points). Do not forget to run the Integrate tool each time on the copy of the original point layer rather than on the processed point layer. Then when you will get the points "integrated" in the copied point layer, use Select > Select by Location in ArcMap to select all the features from the agregated layer which intersect points from the original point layer. Then delete the points selected in the agregated point layer. Now you have two layer files - one with all the original points you have. Another - "generalized" or "integrated" point layer file, which you can use in order to get a general idea about the data distribution. Hoepfully the symbology will not overlap badly now.
3. Use the ESRI label engine to offset overlapping point feature symbols (refer to the Esri KB article).