One of the most time consuming aspects of creating a map is creating the labels. Yet, to be honest, labels are probably one of the most important pieces of most maps. Now, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that the native labeling tools inside of GeoMedia 6.0 leave “something to be desired”. Before going any further, I did want to note that the labeling tools inside of 6.1 are better…but they still leave a lot to be desired. So outside of the native GeoMedia labeling tools (and a lot of manual user interaction), what else is out there to make the labeling job easier? MapText’s Label-EZ, Label-Edit, and as of very recently, Geolabel.
Label-EZ is MapText’s flagship product. You can think of it in a way as GeoMedia’s native labeling tools on some really strong (and I mean strong) steroids. A Label-EZ job is divided into two components
- Specification file – This is where you define the layers to be labeled, the attribute columns that will be used for the label contents, the scale of the map, where to place the text (output warehouse), the style properties of the labels for each feature class, along with many other settings.
- Configuration file – This is where you set the rules on how to label each feature class you’ve defined in the specification file. And let me tell you, there are quite a few rules you can modify to fine-tune the labeling for any feature class on the map. Here are a few screenshots of the LabelConfig utility (the utility used to create and modify the configuration file)
From taking a fast look at the screenshots, you can fairly easily tell that there are a ton of options. Now although there are a ton of options, MapText includes very helpful inline help so that you know what each option does either before or as it’s selected. Furthermore, the product is delivered with a 150 page manual that goes into even more detail. Additionally, MapText delivers a few “common” templates that can be selected for general labeling of different types of features. For instance, for area features, you have the option of four different templates:
Here’s a description of the parks template:
This template will exhaustively attempt to place the text inside, outside, or partially inside the park.
To be continued….