Cartographic features

Cartographic features are child features that control feature depiction on a chart-by-chart basis. Users can modify the attributes of cartographic features while maintaining the integrity of the parent features, referred to as master features. Cartographic features are copies of master features.

Attributes that control the cartographic depiction of features on a chart-by-chart basis, such as symbology, associated text, and visibility, are stored on cartographic features. Attribution pertaining to the feature itself, such as type, upper limit, lower limit, and the feature geometry, are stored on master features. A master feature depicted on multiple charts will have a cartographic feature for each chart. This is a 1:M relationship (one master feature to many cartographic features). This relationship allows cartographic feature attribution and geometry to change while the master feature remains intact.

Managing cartographic features

The Carto Commander tool creates, modifies, and deletes cartographic features. Based on defined settings, the Carto Commander tool creates new cartographic features when new master features have been added to the geodatabase, synchronizes existing cartographic features if the master feature has been updated, and deletes orphaned or no longer needed cartographic features. The Carto Commander tool relies on information from the following properties:

Instances Maintained

The Carto Commander tool manages cartographic features for those charts identified through the Instances Maintained property on the Production Properties dialog box. This limitation prevents production databases from filling up by preserving cartographic features for only those charts maintained at a particular facility or by a specific group. The Carto Commander tool removes all cartographic features associated with an instance that is no longer maintained by the production database upon the next iteration of the tool.

Use Geographic Extent

The Use Geographic Extent property property is set within the product library at the product class level. If this property is set to True, the Carto Commander tool creates and maintains all the cartographic features within the spatial extent of the area of interest by default. This property can be overridden through the use of cartographic exceptions and/or filtered through extraction queries. If this property is set to False, the Carto Commander tool creates and maintains cartographic features for only those features specified by cartographic exceptions. The default setting for the Use Geographic Extent property is True. It is suggested that you set the Use Geographic Extent property to False for terminal procedures, thereby only creating/maintaining cartographic features for those features specifically identified for each chart.

Cartographic exceptions

Cartographic exceptions are a set of tools used to specifically include or exclude features for an area of interest:

Extraction queries

Extraction queries are a set of defined filters used to limit the creation of cartographic features. Cartographic features are not created or maintained for features that do not meet these queries. Extraction queries are set in the product library at the product class level. Extraction queries are ignored if the Use Geographic Extent property is set to False.


CartoModified_Code is an attribute on a cartographic feature. By default, the Carto Commander tool synchronizes the geometry of a cartographic feature to the geometry of its corresponding master feature if the two are different. This functionality remedies inadvertent movement of the cartographic feature. If this attribute is set to Yes, the Carto Commander tool ignores the difference in the geometries and does not synchronize the placement of the two features. This attribute must be manually set from the default value No to Yes if you do not want the cartographic feature geometry synchronized with the master feature geometry.

Carto Commander

The Carto Commander tool begins by creating a set of master features to be processed by spatially identifying them within an area of interest. This initial set is reduced by filtering through applicable extraction queries. Next, the tool determines which features should be processed based on the cartographic exceptions. Finally, the Carto Commander tool takes this last set of master features and synchronizes them with the cartographic features for an instance (chart), adding, modifying, or deleting cartographic features based on the logic described for master features. In the case where the Use Geographic Extent property is set to False, the set of features consists solely of those master features included through cartographic exceptions.


Carto Commander deletes orphaned or no longer needed features. Orphaned features include the following:

  • Features from an instance no longer present in a product library.
  • Features no longer associated with a master feature.
  • Features that no longer satisfy the extraction query.
  • Features based on a carto inclusion that no longer exists.

This tool is enabled in ArcMap and can also be run as a geoprocessing tool.

To see how this tool is used in a data information management and chart production environments, see the sample production tutorials that are available with the Aeronautical Solution setup.

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