A general problem for me with digitized material is that it can be too precise. Sometimes I just need to show a line or surface without sharp borders. I don't regularly need to visualize the exact extent of, say, a wetland to meter or dm level, only show that it exists in approximately that area.

Now I have lines (that I also have buffered 50 m) which I need to "smooth" at the edges. I want the center of the line/buffer to be strong in color. Further away from the center it should be more transparent, and eventually fade away.

How can I accomplish this?


I have seen similar techniques described at Ask a Cartographer and I suspect that what you may be looking for is something like Tint Bands.

Tint bands effectively look like a wide line symbol that is drawn just inside the boundary of a [polygon].

This is one such example.

Alternatively, you may be looking for the "Fade to white background effect" that Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead at Esri describes here.

Buffer vignettes symbolize the interface between two areas. They are often used to show the land-water interface by gradually fading blue at the coast into white or vice versa. You can also use them to fade the map out into a white background. These types of vignettes are created using buffers that are symbolized in a special way.

  • I believe this could be applied to my case, although I don't work with borders/boundaries this time. I just have to buffer my lines on each side instead. – Martin Feb 24 '14 at 9:27

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