As part of any ArcGIS/ArcFM implementation there is always a discussion of what technology to use to display map text: annotation or labeling. Each approach has multiple pros and cons (and in our experience many companies end up with a combination of the two). However the purpose of this post is not to review all pros and cons but rather to focus on one, possibly underappreciated aspect of annotation – at least feature-linked annotation – which is the fact that it’s so helpful in selecting related features.
As we know, annotation is stored as a feature in the Geodatabase and has a precise and persistent map location – as opposed to labeling in which text is rendered at display time at a location determined by white-space management logic. Further, the annotation feature actually has two geometries, one that defined its placement (either point or line) and another which is a surrounding rectangle sometimes referred to as a “hit test box.” To select the annotation feature all that’s needed is to click anywhere inside this hit test box – much easier than picking a point geometry.
Then, as an added bonus when you’ve selected the anno feature you also get the repoint point, line or polygon. If you’re in a congested area using the annotation to select the associated feature can be way easier than picking a point.
And yes, while we’re on this point we have to point out that Esri introduced a great improvement to aid dense area selection in the selection chip – which is great, don’t get us wrong. Nonetheless, where feature linked annotation is present, using it for selection is still the easiest way.