Connectable tracks have special cartographic properties that allow intersecting lines to form smooth junctions, accept adornments, termination styles, feature labels, special overlay styles, and more. Creating smooth and automatic junctions between styles is a hallmark of Ortelius. These are created exclusively with Ortelius’ Cartography Tools.
Related topic: How Do I… Make Smooth Track Junctions.
Adding Adornments to Connectable Tracks
An adornment is any object, symbol, text, or image that is snapped to a connectable track. Once placed as an adornment, the object becomes a property of the track. By default, adornments are aligned to follow the direction of the track; alternatively, they can be set to align with the page (right-click the track and uncheck “Align With Track”). Adornments will move when the track is moved. Special symbols, such as highway shields, can even pick up the track’s attributes when used as adornments.
Related topic: Special Symbols.
To place adornments, use the Symbol Stamp tool to drop a symbol directly onto a track. Alternatively, drag the symbol until it covers a track at which point the track will become selected and the symbol will snap to it.
Adornments are repositioned by clicking in the adornment box and dragging it along the track. Any object can be copied (Edit > Copy (or Command-C)) and pasted onto a track as an adornment. Simply right-click a track and choose Paste Adornment, or choose Edit > Paths & Tracks > Paste Adornment from the main menu.
Track Termination Styles
Connectable tracks can have different termination styles at their start and end points. By default, the end termination style is open-ended (none). For example, when you have a cased line, an open-ended termination looks like this:
The start and end points can also have either round-ended, closed bar, or a “turning circle” termination. Change the end termination style by selecting the track or tracks and choosing Edit > Paths & Tracks > Terminate Start or Terminate End from the main menu.
Tracks can be split into multiple segments using the Split Track drawing tool ￼or by highlighting the track with the linear select tool and choosing Edit > Paths & Tracks > Split Track from the main menu
Paths and tracks can be joined together when their end points are very close together or touching. Select two paths or two tracks and choose Edit > Paths & Tracks > Join from the main menu (or Command-J on the keyboard).
The stylizing behavior when joining paths together is slightly different than when joining tracks together.
When joining two paths, the entire new path adopts the style of the first drawn path. When joining two tracks of different styles, a transition is made between the two styles, similar to how style transitions are applied using the Linear Select tool.
Buffers are new polygons that represent an area of specified distance around another object. Buffers can help map readers visualize what other features are near or far from another feature. For example, you can create a 1-mile buffer around a road.
Buffers can be created around paths or tracks. Select the linear feature to be buffered. Choose Edit > Paths & Tracks > Buffer from the main menu. A dialog appears. Enter the distance for the buffer (note that buffer distance is related to the scale of the drawing) and click OK. A new buffer polygon is created and can be stylized appropriately.
Reverse Paths & Tracks
When paths and tracks are drawn, they inherently have a direction, progressing from the start point (the beginning of the line) to the end point. The proper display of some styles (such as a single-ended arrow) and text labels is dependent on the direction of the path. If you need a path to flow the other direction, choose Edit > Paths & Tracks > Reverse Path to reverse the start and end points. Alternatively, for text labels you can just leave the path as-is and right-click the label to choose Flip Label. Adornments can be rotated by right-clicking and setting the relative orientation by choosing Rotate > [angle].
Related topic: Direct Feature Labeling.
Smooth is used on paths consisting of linked straight-line segments, such as vector paths imported from Shapefiles. Smoothing replaces these segments with Bezier curves which are calculated to smoothly interpolate between the points. Smoothing a path that already consists of curve segments has no effect.
Drawing and Ending Tracks
Holding the SHIFT key while placing paths and tracks will confine your paths to straight line segments aligned to the page at 15-degree intervals. End a path by double-clicking. Alternatively, clicking ESC on the keyboard will end a line.
When making a connection between two tracks, end the connecting line with a single or double-click, depending on whether the Auto-complete Tracks setting is enabled in the Ortelius > Preferences window.
The Curved Track and Freehand Track tools draw with Bezier curves. Curve handles are placed with points along the track. When adjusting curve handles, the length of the left and right ends of the handle are adjusted independently. Modifier keys provide control over curve handle adjustments. The SHIFT key constrains the angle of the handles to 15-degree increments. Holding the ALT/OPTION key keeps the length of the curve handles symmetrical to each other when making adjustments. The CMND (Apple) key allows the handles to be adjusted completely independently, including length and direction.
HINT: When drawing multi-point paths and tracks, you can click backspace on the keyboard to remove the last point on the path and go back to placing the previous one.