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Top 5 reasons why I made the switch to ArcGIS Pro – A Working Example

December 30, 2016

by Robert Krisher
Senior Consultant at POWER Engineers
This article was originally published as a LinkedIn Article

ArcGIS Pro – A Working Example

In the previous articles, I gave some generic examples of new features we can use in ArcGIS Pro:

First Article – Graphics Engine

Second Article – User Interface

Third Article – Scale Ranges

Fourth Article – Smarter Symbol Sizing

Before I wrap up this series with my last example I wanted to pull together what we’ve learned so far into a real-world example. In this section we’ll use all the new and exciting features in ArcGIS Pro to create a map product that we intend to publish as either a Portal or ArcGIS Online map.  To recap we’ll be using three sets of scale ranges on each layer to fine tune our displays; one for the layer itself, one for each symbol class, and one for each label class.  Let’s look at an example of how we can apply all three of these techniques to a substation polygon.

Labeling without symbols

Let’s start with a polygon class with a small number of features spread out over a large area, we can quickly see that drawing a shape for the feature at higher scales actually does more harm than good in terms of both visual clarity and performance.

The first thing we can do to address this is to set a scale range on our symbol while leaving the scale suppression on the layer itself off. This will effectively give us a range of scales where we are only labeling features without drawing their shapes.

Scale Ranges

Our next step is to figure out at exactly which scale we want to start drawing the polygons. To help with this, we’ll add the rest of our layers to the map. With a bit of experimentation, I’ve decided that based on the size of the polygons and the density of features around it, I want to set the maximum scale range for this symbol to be 1:100,000.

 Scale Range Symbology

Our next step is to go through the rest of our scales and see how this new layer lines up with the rest of our data. As I zoom into the map, I start to notice that at lower levels my symbol is too large and is hiding other features on the map.

Because of this I decide to make this symbol smaller so I can see the rest of the data. I can achieve this by creating a symbol range for when I’m zoomed in closer and use the smaller version of the symbol.

Minor Adjustments

Now that I’m feeling pretty good about how this layer is drawing, I need to re-run through all the major scales of my map document again. But this time I want to see how my new layer performs in a few different areas and make any of the usual cartographic adjustments. I made a few adjustments to the font size of my label, and decided to have the label draw centered on my point when I’m not showing a symbol and offset when I am showing a symbol.  I also noticed that my label was hard to read in many instances because it was sitting on top of other features.  After playing around with both haloing and label weights, I decided to choose halos because I couldn’t consistently have enough white space to shift my label without interfering with other important features.  I then do a quick test of my features against an ESRI basemap as well as some vector landbase data.

Here’s the ESRI basemap version at 1:250,000.

Here’s the ESRI basemap version at 1:50,000.

Finally, here’s the ESRI basemap version at 1:10,000.

And here it is against some vector landbase data at 1:250,000.

The same vector landbase at 1:50,000.

Finally, the same vector landbase at 1:10,000.


The map looks pretty good now and what would have taken us seven layers to achieve in ArcMap we were able to do with only three layers in ArcGIS Pro. In my last and final article, I’ll talk about the process to turn this map document into a vector tile cache!

About the Author:

Robert is a Senior Consultant in POWER’s Geospatial and Asset Management group with over 10 years of industry experience. Robert excels at pushing the boundaries of what is possible with GIS and related technologies at utilities, often by re-purposing proven technologies and methods in clever ways. As an active member of many early access programs across the industry and author of more than a dozen published articles, Robert is a recognized expert with Esri’s latest technology including ArcGIS Pro and the new Utility Network. He loves finding innovative solutions to complex challenges and sharing his insights with the GIS community. If you have any questions or comments for Robert, you can contact him at robert.krisher@powereng.com.