I'm creating a series of maps using ArcGIS data driven pages. I know how to display features that share an attribute with the index layer, but is it possible to display features (and similarly, labels), based on their proximity (i.e. within a certain distance) of the current index layer feature? I know I can do this using the Atlas Generator in QGIS but I'd like to achieve the same result in ArcGIS.

ArcGIS example

Here I have an example of my index layer in ArcMap Desktop (polygon with dashed outline). Suppose the point data shown in the map does not share any attributes with the index layer - can I display only the points within the polygon (or close to it, for example)?

enter image description here

I can do this in QGIS 2.12 (above) using rule-based styling and tests between the geometry of the point feature and the geometry of the current atlas feature. And I can display labels based on these tests. Is there a similar alternative in ArcGIS?

I'd rather not have to create a new layer using a spatial join to add the index attribute to the other layer(s), and a spatial join seems to be limited to only features within the polygon.

  • This is not very clear, can you give us a pictorial example? anything within the current DD index gets shown, and can be labeled. If you talking about showing/labeling features outside but close to the currently selected index are you planning to have a larger area than your current index mapped?
    – yanes
    Dec 23 '15 at 18:04
  • @yanes I've added an example now. Showing features outside of the current DD index but close by is an example of the kind of relationship I'd like to be able to use, without creating a new index layer (with a 100m buffer, for example), although that would be a straightforward alternative. Can I display features within the DD index if they don't share any attributes with the DD layer?
    – Dùn Caan
    Dec 24 '15 at 10:14
  • @dunkinnear,I found something for create rules for map layout but It's available in Aviation Extension or Mapping and charting extension but I couldn't find anything in ArcMap at least not yet. If you feel it would be useful please add extension tag and mapping and charting tag to your question
    – PredatorX
    Dec 27 '15 at 9:02
  • @PredatorX thanks for doing that, but I'm really looking for core functionality - how easy is it to install extensions to ArcMap? I'm not familiar with them.
    – Dùn Caan
    Dec 30 '15 at 18:03
  • @dunkinnear If I'll be honest I did many research about that in different resources moreover I tried many ways in ARCGIS and their extention but I couldn't find any solution in those, Hence I got result in ARCGIS is not any tools or trick can be used sames as capable in QGIS, these extention are separaly than ArcGIS you should buy them, unfortunately they are expensive or finding them in Warez website. Sorry if I disappointed you.
    – PredatorX
    Dec 30 '15 at 18:18

It would be great to have this (and other features) but it currently cannot be done in ArcGIS out-of-the-box. This feature will likely not be available any time soon since ESRI seems to be putting 100% of their resources towards developing ArcGIS Pro. Even whe a user suggestion is ranked very high and receives a lot of upvotes, ESRI implments this new feature into Pro and calls it solved. (There are no Data Driven Pages in ArcGIS Pro yet)

However it could be done (unfortunately not easily) programatically with ArcObjects and Visual Studio. Alternatively, there maybe some crude workarounds to your problem, one of which you've already alluded to and if you have a lot of index features and your AOI and index features do not change it seems like a good solution to me. What also comes to mind is exporting all labels to static annotations (and correct placement manually) then create a masking layer based on your distance parameter (buffer the index features by a desired value then once a feature class with buffers is created - create a negative mask by turning the buffers into holes inside a feature that is the maximum extent of your AOI.) Once you have the masking layer created, enable Advanced Drawing Options and use this layer to mask any other layer whose features ought to be hidden. The features not covered with the mask will be displayed. For this to work, the masking layer must be in the TOC but can be turned off and also any layer that is being masked cannot have any transparency set. If you use a transparency, masking is ignored. (Layers in the same data frame that do not participate in the Advanced Drawing Options can be transparent and masking of the other layers will still work) I do not remember if and if so how well masking works on layers with joins/relates.

Why are you trying to do this in ArcGIS if you have a working solution in QGIS?

  • 1
    Thanks for clearing that up. I'm not familiar with ArcGIS Pro myself, but it seems odd to stop updates to a program that so many people still rely on even if a newer fancier program is being released. Crude workarounds are not something I'm keen on, especially when there is an elegant solution using QGIS. My reasons for doing this in ArcGIS? Curiosity. The rest of this project has been done in ArcGIS using ESRI GDBs and the like and I wanted to know if I could complete it using ArcGIS. Another win for QGIS and another reason to encourage my co-workers to use it!
    – Dùn Caan
    Dec 30 '15 at 18:12
  • Apart from cartography, QGIS is a very capable alternative to ArcGIS. Paired with GRASS geo-processing, it blows ArcGIS out of the water in many areas. Personally, I still mostly use ArcGIS but mainly because I am used to it and it is still easier for Cartography, labelling and annotations, etc. which is the main focus where I am, however we use QGIS and GRASS more and more often. Dec 30 '15 at 19:39
  • @jakub I was in the same situation as you and currently I find QGIS very user friendly and packed with lots of features for cartography that are missing in ArcGIS. Jan 29 '16 at 10:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.