I've got a sequence of large (E sheet) maps that are exported to PDF. The problem is that my roads layer (gray in the image below) is sometimes getting distorted on output -- but only in some places.

In the below snippet, the :( indicates a section of road that's got a distortion (almost "jumpy" line), while the :) points to the same layer with the lines printed cleanly.

What's even weirder, the other line layer (blue/yellow lines) is always clearly represented. That implies to me this is some sort of symbology difference between the two layers, rather than a compression or resolution problem, but I honestly don't know what it could be -- they're both plain cartographic line symbols, just one in color and the other gray.

I tried unchecking the Format options in the Export Map dialog (Compress Vector Graphics, Convert Marker Symbols to Polygons, Embed All Document Fonts) and none had any effect.

What do I need to tweak in either the symbology or the export settings in order to get the line vectors to show cleanly?

enter image description here

  • If you zoom waaayyyyy in in ArcMap in map view, do the lines look nice and smooth? – Chad Cooper Jun 30 '16 at 18:04
  • I don't know if I've ever seen this specific issue but have you tried the usual workarounds for graphic problems like this? For example, varying the resolution of the output, varying the JPEG compression level , exporting to JPG, TIFF, or PNG instead, printing (rather than exporting) to PDF using a different PDF driver... – Dan C Jun 30 '16 at 18:05
  • @ChadCooper Yes, they look very normal. – Erica Jun 30 '16 at 18:10
  • Do you have overlapping lines at these locations? Use your Select too and draw a box over these lines to see if there are second lines here. Or possibly the lines cut back on themselves (overlap themselves) – Midavalo Jun 30 '16 at 18:18
  • @DanC Only some of those options are available; the ultimate project is getting this to export hundreds of system maps to PDF via ArcPy script, so it's going to need to use the export option. Customer won't accept images instead of PDF. I did try different resolutions (300, 150) with no noticeable effect, I'll try compression type/level next. – Erica Jun 30 '16 at 18:18

This was resolved by using a compression other than JPG compression.

No compression at all was by far the best, but resulted in a massive (100+ meg) PDF that was too large to be usable. LZW ("lossless") compression had image quality almost as good, and kept the resulting PDF file size within 20% of what the JPG compression had been accomplishing.

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