I have a question, but it is difficult to phrase. I am picking up GIS methods as I go, and I have run into this problem frequently. Please excuse me if I am in the wrong place.
When organizing information, is it better to group Features together and display/arrange accordingly? Or is it better to attach specific information to each Feature individually?
For a real-world example, I have lots of Features (>10000). Each Feature is given an icon, where the icon represents aspects of the feature. The map consists of layers that organize and display the Features. Take, for example, the question of where to store the icon information? Should I let the layers dictate the icons that are displayed? Or should I let the Features render themselves in whatever layers they are in? This is coming from a programmer, so processing speed/memory are the main issues.
Is there a general design principle for this sort of behavior? If my question indicates a deeper misunderstanding, please fill me in. I've been running in circles.