Symbolizing One (pole) to Many (signs) (for a Sign Inventory)

03-28-2014 11:19 AM
Occasional Contributor III
Mapping road/traffic signs is becoming a hot topic in the world of government transportation as there is a federal mandate in the US to have them in a managed database, which translates into mapping them in the GIS (  The LGIM provides schema for a sign pole feature class and a sign table which is then related to the unique pole ID (,   I'm glad to see that Esri has established a great method for handling street sign data using a one (pole) to many (signs) relationship.

A common problem comes up when trying to map the street sign table for decision makers and field crews.  Ideally all signs would be represented by an image of their MUTCD standard design at the pole location.  This is easy enough, except that many poles have assemblies of multiple signs.  To map the signs, the GIS needs to clearly symbolize (or label using Unicode with a symbol font?) multiple signs at the same pole location without stacking the symbols on top of each other.  This issue gets a bit more complex as it would be ideal if the symbols looked similar to/stacked in the order of the sign assemblies actual arrangement out in the field.  Attached is an example of this being achieved with non-Esri software.

Are there any out of the box tools provided by Esri for symbolizing the many in a one to many relationship?  Any thoughts on how to achieve something like this?  It would be ideal if the solution was functional with web maps served via ArcServer.

As a side note for the Esri peeps: it would be great if the LGIM came with domains set up for MUTCD sign types. Additionally it would be great if the Esri transportation font included all MUTCD and state MUTCD signs, it would also be great to find a printable table of the Unicode characters for all Esri fonts but specifically the Esri transportation font.
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4 Replies
MVP Honored Contributor
Concerning the availability of sign faces for ArcMap, while I do not have any links for additional MUTCD fonts, the Federal Highway Administration website contains Encapsulated PostScript (.eps) and PDF files available for download of their most recently designed signs at full size design specification quality at this link.  While the available signs at this link are limited and not the most widely used signs, it is the most official free download available for these particular signs.

The Wikimedia Commons website contains the large majority of images of MUTCD sign faces based on the Federal Highway Administration designs that are not covered by the other link as Scalable Vector Graphic (.svg) and PDF files.  These files were predominantly authored by a user named Fry1989 and are in the public domain.  See this link for the search results for MUTCD at that site. 

With Adobe Illustrator the .eps and .svg files can be exported to Windows Enhanced Metafile (.emf) files which can then be used in ArcMap as Picture marker symbols.  EMF files preserve the vector information contained in the .eps and .svg files and therefore should scale much better than the other supported picture formats.  EMF files also seem to be managed better in memory by ArcMap than picture formats like Windows Bitmap (.bmp) files.

I hope this helps.
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Occasional Contributor III
What would be really useful is if the x and y offset of symbols could be controlled by attributes the same way as rotation and size.  Then people could style it based on a height attribute.  Too bad this function doesn't exist. 😞 I've approximated this in my sign maps by adjusting the vertical offset of my most common overlapping symbols such as street names and stop signs, but I still get many other overlaps.
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New Contributor II

Is there any update on solving this issue of displaying overlapping signs? It would be nice if we could disperse markers vertically based on their rotation angle and height.

New Contributor

At Mapillary | Crowdsourced Street Photos  we recently started to address the issue of web-ready fonts and symbology for street signs with the open source project Traffico .

It would be very interesting to public an example layer that takes this and makes an example street sign layer using this symbology. Does anyone know how to build this (probably using ArcMAP)? Any help would be hugely appreciated.