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We have a point data type to symbolise. The feature classes can often contain more than 6000 points up to 20000. There are about 30 different symbol catergories to these points.

My question is what's more performant - creating EMF pictures and symbolising using picture markers or create a font and use character marker symbolisation?

We would be using this dataset in both ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server (silverlight API).

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I am pretty sure that CharacterMarker symbols draw faster than PictureMarker Symbols, thats assuming your using just one layer in your CharacterMarker symbol.

This link has some good information:

  • The drawing performance of marker symbols, whether used to symbolize points or as a component of one of the other types of symbols, can be improved greatly by using simple marker symbols and single-layer character marker symbols; these are the best choices for symbolizing large point feature datasets.

  • emf pictures will draw faster than .bmp pictures

If it were me, I would try both, and then use the 'preview' option from the Map Service Publishing Toolbar, to get an idea on which one draws quicker.

In terms of consuming this in a Silverlight application, I would also consider looking at using a clustering technique to render your points when at small scales.

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