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How are you improving your Labels?

  • 1.  How are you improving your Labels?

    Posted 09-26-2019 06:11

    Normally when you add labels to your map in MapInfo Pro, all labels for the layer appear in the same way. They have the same color and the same size.

    At least that's the case unless you start taking advantage of the more advanced elements around auto-sizing of labels etc. We'll leave that out of the game for now.

    I'll give you a quick example on how to do better with labels. Hopefully this can spark an discussion on other things users are doing to improve their labels in MapInfo Pro so that we all can learn something new.

    In the map below, I have turned on Automatic Labels for the Countries of the World. You can quickly see that there is no order used when deciding which countries to label and which countries not to label.

    Another way of adding labels to your map is by having multiple instances of the same layer in your map and for each control which objects will get labeled.

    In our example, we have the layer Countries of the World 3 times and for each, we will specify specific records to be labeled.

    The first layer will label all the countries with more than 100 million inhabitants. The second will use 20 million as the limit and the last will try to add labels for the countries with less than 20 million.

    To determine the order of the layers, you need to know that MapInfo Pro will render the layers and labels from the bottom up. So the further down a layer is, the earlier it will get rendered. The same goes for labels. This means that you will need to have the important, or in our case bigger, countries furthest down.

    To make it easier to see the different labels, I'll make the labels for countries with more than 100 million inhabitants size 12 and red, the countries with more than 20 million will get be size 12 and black and the rest will be asize 8 and black.

    I'm using the IIf() function that we added to MapInfo Pro 17.0 to specify which records I want to be labeled. For the larger countries, I'm using this expression:

    IIF(Pop_1994 > 100000000, Country, "")

    The expression says: if the population is larger than 100 million, return the country name otherwise return an empty string.
    I'm using similar expressions for the other two layers:

    IIF(Pop_1994 between 20000000 and 100000000, Country, "")
    IIF(Pop_1994<20000000, Country, "")

    The resulting map looks like this:

    This technic gives me two benefits:
    1. I can try to make sure certain labels always appear on the map. Of course, you can still run into issues with overlapping labels if they are close together. In the example above Bangladesh is missing from the countries with more than 100 million inhabitants. It's too close to India.
    2. I can control the font used for the separate layers and so give some of my labels a different appearance.
    What tricks are you using to improve the labels in MapInfo Pro?

    Peter Horsbøll Møller
    Pitney Bowes

  • 2.  RE: How are you improving your Labels?

    Pitney Bowes
    Posted 09-26-2019 19:52
    A couple of tricks I use:
    1. Apply Proper sentence case if label text is all in capitals
    2. Pay attention to style, use halo + shadow to make the labels "pop out" and hover above the surrounding features. Also choose a colour that doesn't jar with the surrounding palette

    Here's a quick before -

    and after -

    showing how these simple changes make a big difference to the look 'n' feel of the resulting map.

    Keen to hear tips & tricks from others in the community!

    Thanks, Ashley

    Ashley Crane
    Regional Director, Software Support
    Pitney Bowes