Pitney Bowes
MapInfo Pro™ Monthly Journal

Something a bit more Advanced: Improving your map appearance with Stacked Styles

Anika Contrast is a very important principle of cartography. If objects cannot be seen against the map background, the map can lose its effectiveness. MapInfo Professional map objects can be changed in many ways to make them stand out more. Using stacked style overrides allows users to create higher contrast map objects than by using standard style overrides.

A stacked style is basically one style override on top of another, for the same layer. Usually the bottom style is more dense, wider and/or darker than the top style, although this can be reversed to create interesting effects.

To create a stacked style override, double-click the layer in the layer control to open the Layer Properties dialog. Click both the style override tick box and the Use Stacked Styles tick box underneath. If you then click the style picker box, a new dialog opens allowing you to add additional style overrides to this layer.

Figure 1: Map data includes StreetPro Australia data.

In the example below, the Add button was clicked to add another slightly wider and darker line style underneath the first. This gives a "cased" look to the line segments and makes the line object (in this case a road) stand out more on the map background.

Figure 2: Stacked Line Styles dialog

Stacked style overrides can also be used for point or region layers. For example, the MapInfo Real Estate font already includes a coloured cross inside a transparent square, but you can use stacked styles to create a white cross inside a coloured square, both from the MapInfo Cartography font, instead (see screenshot below).

Figure 3: Stacked Symbol Styles dialog.

For regions, stacked styles may be used to create interesting effects. In the example below, you can use a stacked style override on the parks polygons to add a lighter tree fill on top of the green background. I'm not saying this is necessarily cartographically tasteful, but you get the idea.

Figure 4: Stacked Region Styles dialog. Map data is from StreetPro Australia.

The stacked style functionality means fewer layers are necessary in the layer control, making edits to the map settings much easier and reducing layer control clutter.

For more information about style overrides in general, you can access a copy of the MapInfo Professional User Guide 

Article by Anika Claire, Data Engineer based in Brisbane, Australia

When not writing articles for "The MapInfo Professional" journal, Anika enjoys making map data from around the world look nicer. Outside of work Anika loves to travel, although with a toddler and another bub on the way, this is becoming tricky. Instead, she likes to read many fantasy books and play computer games.