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Rather than collapsing parallel lines, I am looking for a process that would separate them.

There are a number of lines on the network that run too close together to distinguish as separate features and I would like to 'push' them apart from each other.

The image below has an inset that shows the features where they visually merge, but the full picture shows the lines at a larger scale.

Anything?

Parallel lines

  • There are no tools to perform this task and I suspect you have ruled out using a finer line thickness since this won't work in all cases. – user681 Jul 22 '14 at 15:12
  • Yep, I also looked using some of the merge tools, to create a new symbology class for those features that are actually parallel lines. That might be the route I need to go. – BrianJBaldwin Jul 22 '14 at 15:16
  • You could probably achieve this programmatically with arcpy / arcobjects. Fairly advanced though. – pvdev Jul 22 '14 at 15:53
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    I have not tried it personally, but have you looked into Cartographic Representations using the Line Offset option? Since you don't really want to move the physical feature, this seems like it would accomplish what you are after. – RyanKDalton Jul 22 '14 at 15:54
  • @RyanDalton I went with your suggestion. It certainly isn't the perfect solution, but it works. I'll need to run through all of the features and assign an ID to one of the parallel lines (in each set) and then generate a rule. – BrianJBaldwin Jul 22 '14 at 16:59
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Based on your example, I can surmise that you might be working for a utility company, or something similar where the linear features you want to "spread" probably represent a real-world location. If that is the case, I would prefer to just change how they are represented on the map when you zoom out, rather than in geographic space.

I have not tried it personally, but have you looked into Cartographic Representations using the Line Offset option? Since you don't really want to move the physical feature, this seems like it would accomplish what you are after.

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You could use Copy Parallel, offset by x amount, although this would also move the physical location. If this is more a schematic drawing that might be ok.

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See a possible duplicate of this question here (How to move an existing line to a parallel offset of another existing polyline) and my answer.
You can achieve this with the COGO toolbar.

Copy paste: Within the editing tool bar you can also create a new feature and specify the angle and length of the segment.

If you have the COGO editing toolbar available to you there is a tool called:

Offset Line

you could also edit your sketch properties by +/- the specified distance (more math).

The Copying Parallel Features might be of interest to you. From the help: "Copy Parallel makes a copy of selected lines at a distance you specify. You can choose to copy the new lines to the left, right, or both sides of the selected lines. You can use the Copy Parallel command, for example, to create a street centerline or a gas line that runs parallel to a road"

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