Labelling priority based on spatial containment

03-22-2018 09:22 AM
Status: Open
Labels (1)
New Contributor II

We often have situations within a map where one kind of feature contains another, for example, a University polygon contains a Sports Centre polygon and, that polygon contains other features such as buildings. If labelling space is limited such that the labels for any of these features would be dropped due to conflict, we would like to specify that container features take precedence over contained features. So, in this example, if there was only room for 2 labels, building label would be dropped to allow the Sports Centre and University labels to appear; if there was only room for 1 label only the University label would appear. 

We are using Maplex. Ideally we think that prioritising labels based on a spatial containment hierarchy (within the extent of the map) would be a preferred default but would like the ability to opt features out (for example where a land parcel is the containing feature, we would not want to prioritise it's label over a contained building's label).


Is this something that could be handled by working with the label weights? Weight labels and features—ArcGIS Pro | ArcGIS Desktop 

And/or using label classes and setting appropriate visibility ranges for each class?  Label classes—ArcGIS Pro | ArcGIS Desktop 


KKramer-esristaff‌ thanks for suggestions, but unless I have missed something I haven't found anything in your suggestions that will fit the bill. For either weightings or label classes to be used to achieve the desired end, we would need to know in advance which features (based on class and/or attributes) should command higher weights/priorities. Due to complexities in the data this is not possible (an example: a school site may contain another school site but nothing in the class/attributes tells us this - the geometry carries this information). Technically, if we had to, I think we could use GP tools to create a field, determine containment and set a hierarchical value for the field based on this; and then use the field value for weighting or prioritising. This would be quite complex and would add processing time to preparation of the cartographic database. The context for creating the labels is one where customers select the map extent, scale etc and the map is generated automatically and labelled dynamically.

I welcome any further suggestions.


Thanks for the additional details, Ita.  The idea stands as reviewed and open to voting.