Automatically detect potential issues before printing or exporting maps

04-18-2011 12:52 PM
Status: Open
Occasional Contributor III
To print or export a map document from ArcMap is a very delicate and time consuming process, especially when working with large layouts. However problems may arise during map printing or exporting or after final check of output results causing repetition and prolongation of the whole process. Most of these issues could be simply avoided by pre-flight.
ArcMap could provide smart and automated pre-flight engine which would detect potential issues or problems even before printing or exporting map document thereby avoiding incorrect or undesired output. Pre-fight engine could significantly improve control over map output process and ensure consistent output quality by verifying:
  • Output device related issues – compare printing options with the capabilities of the selected output device and material. Suggest printer engine and the best way to balance print quality and print speed.
  • Memory related issues – estimate and monitor memory capacity to ensure smooth and uninterrupted output process. 
  • Page layout and content related issues – confirm page layout, review document size/margins and map contents. Validate layout graphics/elements, inserted pictures, embedded objects and fonts.
  • Rasterization related issues – warn if rasterization will occur, list layers causing rasterization and layers affected. Possibility to disable or repair layers causing rasterization.
  • Map sources and structure related issues – verify map document structure and data sources status – alert if broken links present. Check missing, hidden or duplicated layers.
  • Labeling and annotation related issues – check missing, unplaced and overlaid labels. Verify readability of small labels and annotation relatively to final output scale.
  • Symbology related issues – scan for missing symbol fonts, extremely small or large symbols, thin lines and unreadable patterns according to final output scale.
  • Geometry related issues – inspect geometry and topology, advise fixing if necessary.
  • Color management issues – secure correct color output from map to printer/file, verify used color profiles and color spaces (CMYK, RGB), allow conversion.

Pre-flight would display comprehensive summary of potential issues with details, suggestions and tools available for repair. If a problem arises ArcMap could try to resolve it automatically, consequently suggest possible solutions with assistance.
I would like to suggest that geometry checks be run every time a shapefile or feature class is loaded.  A check timestamp could be placed in the aux or xml file to avoid redundant checks if no potential problems are found, and it could be ignored or enforced the same as raster pyramids currently ask when they are being added and don't have pyramids.  Just report issues that can be corrected, as it avoids crashes, slow performance and a lot of other potential issues to fix geometry issues, as well as printing problems.  Should that be it's own idea?
ArcGIS Data Reviewer can help find some of the annotation related issues like missing anno for feature-linked annotation, unplaced anno, formatting of the annotation value.

Also it can help find geometry related issues, like overlapping features.