How can I show fewer contour lines?

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01-01-2017 01:16 PM
RickCheney
Occasional Contributor II

The shape file with Contour Lines in the image below has a lot of data.  I tried making the contour lines below very thin but the lines are so tight they are obscuring the terrain below.   I there a way I can show fewer contour lines? 

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Accepted Solutions
XanderBakker
Esri Esteemed Contributor

As explained in this thread: https://community.esri.com/thread/103594 there are several ways to do this. If my contour lines are for instance every meter:

... and I want to show the contours every 10 meter, like this:

I can go into the layer properties and specify a definition query like:

mod( CNiAltura , 10) = 0

In this case "CNiAltura" is the field that contains the height of each contour line.

Change the field name and the value 10 to your specific needs.

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8 Replies
XanderBakker
Esri Esteemed Contributor

As explained in this thread: https://community.esri.com/thread/103594 there are several ways to do this. If my contour lines are for instance every meter:

... and I want to show the contours every 10 meter, like this:

I can go into the layer properties and specify a definition query like:

mod( CNiAltura , 10) = 0

In this case "CNiAltura" is the field that contains the height of each contour line.

Change the field name and the value 10 to your specific needs.

View solution in original post

SarahBaughman
New Contributor II

This just saved me so much time messing around with tools, so thank you!!!

JoshuaBixby
MVP Esteemed Contributor

Check out Displaying a subset of features in a layer.

With contour lines, typically the elevation of the contour will be included as an attribute of the contour line.  If I am working with 2 foot contour lines and only want to display 10 foot lines, a definition query like MOD(elevation, 10) = 0 would do the job.  If the dataset is very large, having an index on the elevation value field might help the performance of the definition query.

RickCheney
Occasional Contributor II

Thank you Xander and Joshua, I used your solutions and it worked perfectly.  I really appreciate your advice.

SteveLynch
Esri Regular Contributor

or you could use the ContourList tool and create a selected set of contours. For example, you might want contours every 50 for values less than 200 and then every 100 thereafter.

ContourList("elevation", "C:/sapyexamples/output/outcontourlist.shp", [0, 50, 100, 150, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600])

MichaelVolz
Esteemed Contributor

Do you need a Spatial Analyst extension to use the ContourList tool?

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XanderBakker
Esri Esteemed Contributor

It is part of Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst

RickCheney
Occasional Contributor II

Thank you, I didn't even know the ContourList tool existed.  I will check the tool and learn about it.

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