Dynamic Solution for Dispersing Overlapping Points

07-21-2022 06:17 AM
Status: Open
Occasional Contributor II

Looking for dynamic point feature dispersal capability in the Map Viewer in order to disperse point features that are stacked or within close proximity to others and dynamically update the dispersal based on map scale. A use case for this is in public works and highway where we map the inventory of road signs. Each sign is effectively mapped as a single point feature, and often multiple signs are placed on the same post. Being able to disperse or offset the display of these stacked sign points, or sign points that are too close to each other to see the complete symbol, helps all of our stakeholders to:

  1. More completely understand the concentration of sign assets
  2. Better understand the situation along a roadway (communicating that a discrete location is informing travelers of multiple pieces of information)
    1. Example: Travelers at a specific location are informed to Stop AND of the names of two intersecting streets
    2. Example: Travelers at a specific location are informed of the route number AND that they are approaching a junction
    3. Example: Travelers at a specific location are informed of the name and direction of an upcoming intersection AND the names of tourist attractions in the same direction AND that a public water access in the same direction exists
  3. Take advantage of the map layout space and communicate more information in it without having to filter off features (definition query) in order to see what other types of signs are communicating information to travelers at a location - losing the complete context of what information is shared at a single location
  4. Supporting this capability dynamically so that users do not have to create multiple feature classes using the Disperse Markers geoprocessing tool in ArcGIS Pro for use at multiple map scales. Providing this visualization seamlessly, and removing the time it takes for the map author to create these feature classes manually for multiple scales.
  5. Visualize through the Map Viewer in a web browser and ArcGIS Field Maps for mobile workers.

The option to "explode" a cluster of point features when a user hovers over the cluster may have value when trying to declutter the map. However, this does not enable users with the ability to understand the entire situation in a neighborhood or along a roadway if they have to manually over a cluster in order to disperse a point cluster's features and when they are comparing and visualizing multiple locations simultaneously along a roadway. I am not looking for the point symbols to change size, but for the symbols to disperse or offset dynamically as the user zooms in and out on the map.

I do anticipate that beyond a certain scale that point dispersal will make the mapped features' locations indistinguishable from others and this would have to be considered for any such capability or by the map author, but it's a place to start.

Below is an initial rough diagram of the type of desired dynamic point feature dispersal capability we're looking for.



Additional use cases for this capability include, but are not limited to:

  • Visualizing stacked or proximal assets
  • Asset inspection condition records over time
  • Weather and forecasting (ex: sunny AND cloudy)
  • Soil types at a drill sample site
  • Crime incidents and types

I have not seen this capability described in ArcGIS or ArcGIS Online, but have received requests for it and understand the value. Looking forward to hearing what others have to share.