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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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I should have mentioned that i would like the labeling engine alternative to be compatible with ArcGIS 10. It does not need to be a free solution either. Thanks –  Jakub Sep 11 '10 at 12:58
    
I agree maplex labeling engine is not 'stellar' based product compared with the standalone product in the 90's. Though I have yet to see a third party extension better than maplex with ArcInfo. I would consider 'Cartographic Representations' as this does support feature-linked data look at possible text manipulation on blogs.esri.com/Support/blogs/mappingcenter/archive/tags/… –  Mapperz Sep 12 '10 at 12:22
    
Thanks. I've been wanting to try representations for a while now but it comes only with ArcEditor, ArcInfo. –  Jakub Sep 12 '10 at 12:35
    
Yes, I agree that Maplex/ArcInfo combination is quite good, but too expensive for for my employer... I have come across a 3rd party extension a few years ago that was cheaper than Maplex and promised comparable and other interesting functionality but i cannot for the life of me remember the name of it. It's possible the company is no longer in business... –  Jakub Sep 12 '10 at 12:44
    
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
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1 Answer

up vote 4 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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Thanks, i was looking for something more mature than Maperitive... I believe the Label-EZ is the tool I was looking for. Thanks –  Jakub Sep 14 '10 at 0:43
    
Glad it helped. We got there in the end. –  Mapperz Sep 14 '10 at 8:25
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