This brief article will provide ideas and suggestions on setting up a seed file for creating Map definitions. This seed file will contain typical settings for map management with respect to feature symbology and labels.
A new design file is created in the Seed folder of the project workspace. In order to define feature symbology and labels, query or place one element for each feature class. A legend can be drawn and be used as a quick graphical reference to verify symbologies as they are defined in the Map Manager.
A Map definition is created which provides the ability to perform a number of map management tasks.
Since there is an instance of each feature in the seed file, all aspects of feature can be set up and defined. This includes re-ordering the display stack, creating user defined symbology, specifying zoom extents, and setting up labels. In addition, features can be arranged into logical groups to simplify toggling their display.
Label definitions can be set up as needed, for example the illustration below shows labels on the following features: Lots, Streets and Hydrants.
When the feature and label definitions are complete, the file is ready to be used as a seed for the creation of new map models in working design files.
Set up the following configuration variables to facilitate map model creation using a seed file:
MS_GEO_MAPDEFINITIONSEED_FILENAME - Specifies a filename containing a seed map model.
MS_GEO_MAPDEFINITIONSEED_MODELNAME - Specifies a model name for a seed map model.
When the map model is used as a seed, the results are immediate. Levels have user defined symbology and labels. The layers are grouped and the display stack is in a custom order.
An alternative to this approach is to define the map manager contents in the standard seed file used for creating new design files. While this does work reasonably well, care should be taken that the legend is drawn well away from the project area.
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