Cartography question.

I do have administrative boundries for counties in polygon FC. What tool do I use to prioritise display of features. In example, when lines overlap- I want to show only 1 dashed line instead 2 overlapping lines with shifted dashes.

Similary, when I do have 2 separate polygon feature classes, I want to prioritise certain class over another in way, that higher rank is displayed and lower is not. Of course in both cases rules would affect only overlapping segments of the polygon or polyline, if it would be more convinient.

[EDIT] On the picture overlapping lines in area 1 should look like line in the area 2.


  • providing a picture of problem could help understanding the problem. – geogeek Mar 25 '13 at 9:21
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    It would be also important to know how do you have your data organized. I would say that the problem you present is more related with data organization, than with symbology\representation. – Alexandre Neto Mar 25 '13 at 9:39
  • I am not sure, what kind of information I could add here. Simply, I have polygons representing counties. Features are topological correct, in way that touching sements of polygons are covered by vertexes at the same points, therefore touching borders are overlapping. I'm using dashed line to represent these borders, which result in effect as attached. I want to add some rule, when borders are overlapping, I want to prioritise 1 feature over another. Any solutions? I probably can do it by some combinations of geoprocessing tools, but would prefer to use some sort of representation etc. – Tomek Mar 25 '13 at 9:50
  • Also, representation of borders may vary for different features, in which case again I would like to set certain ranking, which border to display. My polygon FC's are sitting now in .gdb, but I do not mind to convert them into any other format, if more convinient. – Tomek Mar 25 '13 at 10:09
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    The reason why I asked about how the data is organized, is that I have an administrative boundaries layer that is organized in a more topological approach. There are no repeated lines, each line has the info about its left and right administrative "polygons". This and some drawing rules might do what you want, because the Overlap info is contain in the line attributes. For instance, if LEFT = "Portugal" and RIGHT is "Spain", then there is a "overlap" between this two countries borders, and you can choose which to represent. – Alexandre Neto Mar 25 '13 at 11:21

In the Symbol Property Editor, try putting a white sold line underneath your dashed line of the same thickness. This seems to clean up miss-matched overlapping line representations, see caption below:

enter image description here

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  • Probably I should add that I intend to use some orto as background :) Otherwise great solution. Sorry for misleading example above. – Tomek Mar 25 '13 at 12:23
  • Cartographically, a contrasting color such as white or yellow might show your boundary line better too when your ortho is on. A black dashed line will be harder to see against areas that have more vegetation. – artwork21 Mar 25 '13 at 12:36
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    It's not a solution but a possible workaround, if you can convert your polygons to lines, and planarize them to remove the overlaps, then you can get the display you want within a layer. Between layers we use something like artwork21's method (we add the layer a second time under the first and symbolize it differently so it can be turned off or on in a pdf), and we do use that approach over aerial photos. – johns Mar 25 '13 at 14:49

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