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I am running ArcGIS 10 (ArcView) with the standard labeling engine. I am very familiar with Maplex and have used it in the past but it still lacked the "feature-linked" functionality given the type of license I use. (Arc Info - Maplex combination was quite good)
Still, I found Maplex to be better than the built-in labeling engine but not stellar. Decent label masking for elevation contours and orienting labels up-slope, etc. are still difficult if not impossible to acheive even with maplex. Area there any good alternatives?

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locked by PolyGeo Dec 18 '15 at 3:05

This question's answers are a collaborative effort: if you see something that can be improved, just edit the answer to improve it! No additional answers can be added here

    
maptext.com/Label-EZ.shtml (never used it as have ArcInfo with Maplex) I would like to see improvements in Maplex by version ArcGIS 10.2, have given ESRI many hours of product improvement they just don't have the resources to improve the Carto aspects that makes the maps cleaner and more useful. – Mapperz Sep 13 '10 at 13:11
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes Maperitive is a good (though young) Open Source verison of Maplex capabilities

[works more closely to the orignal standalone Maplex software which works with shapefiles and controls layers as well as text placement]

http://maperitive.net/docs/manual/

Text Rendering http://maperitive.net/docs/manual/Properties/Text.html

Google Group: http://groups.google.co.uk/group/maperitive/topics?gvc=1

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