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Too many towns

10-25-2011 07:32 AM
New Contributor
I'm producing a map that is showing towns with labels. The data that I am using contains a classification for the towns with population ranges (6 classes). The class 6 towns are the ones with the lowest population but there are too many of them to allow for clear labelling. The map is full of town labels and I haven't even added hydrography (with labels) and transportation (with labels).

What I would like to do is only show about half of the class 6 towns, with no preference given to any of them. I have tried assigning random values to them and showing only half (even numbers) but the towns were not spread out spatially - which resulted in clusters that were still too close together.

I would really like to show only half of the points with a spatial dispersion that allows for clearer labelling. I'm not looking for text labelling solutions - I simply have too many points on the map.

Can anyone help with suggestions?

Btw, I'm using ArcInfo 10, if it matters.

I've attached little screengrab to show my headache.
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12 Replies
Regular Contributor III
Thank you for your help, but this is not a labelling issue.
I need to know how I can show a selection of a point file that is spatially dispersed.

I would say this IS a labeling issue but suit yourself.  There isn't a whole lot you can do with this issue if the cities are all grouped together.  The Thiessen polygons is probably going to be your best bet though.  I haven't done work with them before so I didn't say anything about them as I didn't know anything about them.  Good luck with your project.
Josh White, AICP
Principal Planner

City of Arkansas City
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Occasional Contributor II
How about adding a field to your towns layer called something like 'DISPLAYME' and then populate the fields with '0' for do not draw and '1' for draw. You can then use a definition query to not display (thus not label) the '0' values. As for chooseing which ones? The Thiessen polygon is an option but I'm with Gregory and you'll have to do this at least partly manually to look good and to capture towns that may have more importance than others (regional nodes, vacation spots, etc.).

There is a random selection script floating out there too that you could use to randomly select class 6 features that are spatially dispersed. I'd find a link but this new forum search drives me batty.
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Occasional Contributor II
Hmm this one doesn't ensure spatially distribution but it works like a charm. You can just keep running it until you see a pattern you like.

(Thanks google)
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