Displaying Symbolized Small Polygons at a Large Scale

02-14-2012 10:31 AM
New Contributor
I am working on displaying data that consists of many 640ac. land parcels somewhat evenly spaced throughout a large state of about 66 million acres (Colorado).  There are different values that need to be shown, and I often use divergent colors to show the differences between parcels.  The issue is that such small features on such a large area kind of disappear when displayed on an 11x17 map.  It becomes very hard to discern different colors/values.  A larger map is often not possible.  Any ideas out there to better display this information?

Bill G
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Regular Contributor III
Hi Bill,

Do you symbolize your parcels based on some attribute value they have? Do you have many parcels that are located to each other relatively close and share the attribute used for symbology?

If yes, consider running the Dissolve geoprocessing tool in order to merge your underlying parcels with the same values into bigger ones. Check this page to figure out how the Dissolve tool works: http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#//00170000005n000000

Another toolbox you might look at is Cartography. There is a tool called Aggregate polygons (in the Generalization toolset) which can do the trick, too. It will union closely located polygons into bigger and simpler ones which you can symbolize later appropriately. Check this page to figure out how the Aggregate polygons tool works: http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#//00700000000s000000

Always backup your data before running the geoprocessing tools! After running the tools, you can use the results over the underlying layer in the table of contents to set symbols as needed and then print the map since what you want to get as output (if I got you right) is a generalized representation of the massive number of polygons which users can take a look at and get a general idea of the attribute information distribution.
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