I am working with a shapefile with a jagged coastline and interior regional boundaries. I am trying to create a thin line for the coast, so it appears more clearly, while still keeping bold, thicker lines showing the interior regional divisions. Normally I would just rearrange the drawing order, but because the interior lines need to be thicker, they just overpower any thinner lines. How can I create a thinner coastal line while still keeping a thick interior line for these polygons? Thank you!!!

closed as unclear what you're asking by blah238, Jason Scheirer, whuber Aug 27 '13 at 21:59

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  • 5
    What GIS Software are you using? – Mapperz Aug 26 '13 at 16:47
  • Are the coastline boundaries part of the polygons that define the interior regions? If so, this will be difficult (at best). – user3461 Aug 27 '13 at 12:02
  • possible duplicate of How to hide "internal" polygon boundaries? – blah238 Aug 27 '13 at 14:18
  • Because the answer is crucially software-dependent, closing pending a clarification of the software environment. – whuber Aug 27 '13 at 21:59

Make 2 copies of your coastline layer, then below that put your interior divisions layer. For example:


On the top Coastline layer, make the border a thickness of 1 (thin) and whatever color you want.

On the second Coastline layer, make the border a thickness of 3 (thick) and make it white (or whatever color your background is.

On the InteriorDivisions layer, make the border a thickness of 3 (thick) and whatever color you want.

This should (mostly) achieve what you want.


I don't know what software you're using, but in ESRI, you could DISSOLVE a copy of the original shapefile. This would leave you with an outline of the area (which you could make thinner).

Then ... convert the polygon shapefile to polylines -- SEE THIS LINK and delete the outer edges in an edit session so you can leave the interior lines thick.

I am assuming there's no analytic component to your project.

Shouldn't take very long -- Good luck

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