A linear feature that describes a change in the smoothness or continuity of a surface.
The two most common forms of breaklines are as follows:

  • A soft (round) breakline ensures that known z values along a linear feature are maintained (for example, elevations along a pipeline, road centerline or drainage ditch), and ensures that linear features and polygon edges are maintained in a triangulated irregular network (TIN) surface model, by enforcing the breaklines as TIN edges. They are generally synonymous with three-dimensional (3D) breaklines because they are depicted with series of x, y, z coordinates.
  • A hard (sharp) breakline defines interruptions in surface smoothness (for example, to define streams, rivers, shorelines, dams, ridges, building footprints, and other locations) with abrupt surface changes.
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