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Solution for Contour Line Labeling with masks matching DIFFERENT background colors.

Question asked by chloeas on Aug 14, 2014
Latest reply on Sep 2, 2014 by strothesriuk-esridist

Hello all!

 

So I am writing this post because, after searching and reading and searching some more, I failed to find the easiest way to be able to label contour lines with a mask (or halo, or whatever you want to call it) that matches different background colors, kind of what is featured in this link, but with a single background color --> (ArcGIS Help 10.1).http://resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#//00s800000064000000

 

I encountered a major setback.

This masking technique does not work if the background is not of the same color. And yes, I know, there are some solutions on how to deal with that (e.g.Esri Mapping Centre - Ask a Cartographer), but most of them are not so straightforward, and this is why I decided to provide my own input, in attempt to group together all the bits and pieces of help I have found on different forums tackling this issue.

 

SO, first, find attached the output of what I did.

 

Here is the step by step:

- Add the contour line shapefile to the table of contents (the shapefile has to be saved in a database)

- Add the contour labels so that they are centered on the contour lines ( Using the Labeling Toolbar)

- Make sure you are satisfied with the position of the labels. This is crucial for the following steps.

- Convert the Labels into Annotations (this is done by right-clicking on the contour lines shapefile and selecting the 'Convert Labels into Annotations', this will add a new layer to the table of contents)

- Use the Feature Outline Masks tool (ArcGIS Desktop) from the Cartography toolbox on the Annotations created. (Cartography-Masking tools-Feature Outline Masks)

                PS: If for some reason this tool does not work, I found that using the Buffer tool on the annotations yields almost the same results.

- The Feature Outline Masks tool will add a new layer to the table of contents

- Use the Intersect tool in order to intersect the layer from the feature outline mask tool with the layer containing the background colors (most probably a polygon shapefile)

- Change the symbology of the output of the Intersect tool to fit the symbology of the layer containing the different backgroud colors.

 

VOILA!

 

This process can easily be automated by building a model, but I just wanted to go through each step because I found it frustrating that such an easy task would take so much effort.

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