Take the 2-minute tour ×
Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am currently searching for a possibility to create an "Inner Buffer" in ArcGIS.

I have a lot of polygons (houses)(in one feature class) and one big polygon (in one other feature class). I want so select all houses contained in that one big polygon with a distance to the outer border (e.g. 1000 meters).

Select Layer By Location could be one possibility to solve this but I can't figure out how.

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

i dont know is this work for you, but you can do:


1.Select your layer with clicking on it

2.From Editor toolbar, select Start Editing

3.in Editor Menu, select Buffer

4.Write Negative Distance Amount for inner buffer...


Without Inner Buffer:


With Inner Buffer:

with buffer

manual inner buffer solution which i use.

i hope it helps you...

share|improve this answer
I can't believe it. So simple. Thank you! –  ChristianFu May 7 '12 at 13:08
you're welcome. :) –  Aragon May 7 '12 at 13:14

Select by Location with negative 1000m buffer, switch selection, select by location "Within" again from reversed selection set

Step 1:

  • Selection method: Select Features From (default)
  • Target Layer: Houses
  • Source Layer: Big Polygon
  • Spatial Selection Method: Target layers(s) features intersect the Source layer feature (default)
  • Apply a search distance = -1000m

Step 2:

Once you obtain the selection set (only features inside the "big polygon" and that are located 1000m from the boundary will be now selected): SWITCH SELECTION

There are a few ways to switch (reverse) selection; for example, right click on the layer in the TOC --> Selection --> Switch Selection

Step 3:

Use Select by location on the reversed selection set:

  • Selection method: Select from currently selected features in
  • Target Layer: Houses
  • Source Layer: Big Polygon
  • Spatial Selection Method: Target layers(s) features are completely within the Source layer feature
  • NO Buffer is applied in this search

The resulting selection set will contain all features that are completely within the "Big Polygon" and whose boundary is less then 1000m from its boundary.

share|improve this answer
+1 since this can be easily scripted or modeled in ModelBuilder; for step 2, the Select Layer by Attributes tool can be used to just switch the selection –  blah238 May 7 '12 at 16:51

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.