Using the Disperse Markers tool to show community amenities

By Matthew Hampton, Senior Cartographer, OregonMetro

I was recently asked to lend a cartographic hand to a project my agency is working on. I work for OregonMetro (the Metropolitan Planning Agency in the Portland, Oregon area) and among other things, we are charged with planning the future of the region. One of the facets of the planning program involves helping the 25 cities in our jurisdiction collaboratively plan for future growth. We have identified 39 urban centers and we defined a list of urban amenities that have been shown to have a positive impact on residential pricing and convenience or family-oriented amenities. These include the following:

  • bars
  • bakeries
  • bike shops
  • book stores
  • brew pubs
  • child care
  • cinemas
  • clothing stores
  • coffee shops
  • delis
  • dry cleaners
  • fitness gyms
  • garden stores
  • grocery stores
  • fast food restaurants
  • full service restaurants
  • limited service restaurants
  • wine bar/sales
  • music stores.

Data for each Urban Center were extracted using Esri’s Business Analyst and the resulting file contained 2,050 points.

Most of these point classes were coincident or overlapped on a regional-scale map, but I wanted to figure out a way to depict them as they explicitly portray a spectrum of urban amenities (see pic1). After trying a few different techniques for placement (including using Maplex to disperse the points drawn as labels), I found your blog post on the Disperse Markers tool that is new to 9.3. It worked wonderfully and the final representation resonated very well with our designers as well as our constituents. Here is how the map turned out:

Disperse Amenities - Figure 1

I tried symbolizing the different amenities into 5different classes and the resulting pattern is quite random. Here is how it looked:

Disperse Amenities - Figure 2

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to group the classes bytype such that the resulting pattern explicitly shows the different characteristics of the urbancenters. It would be great to see that available in the next release.

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One Comment

  1. UnkleJ says:

    Regarding your last comment on this post about grouping the points by class, are you aware if there has been any talk about this functionality arriving? I’m looking at performing exactly that for approx 10 classes, and the disperse markers and/or maplex examples don’t provide that functionality.