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I have the land occupation of an area and a layer for each year : 2005-2006-2007-2008...2010.

Theses are polygons.

There is errors on layers which are common to all of them. For instance: There's a house and a big garden, and the whole thing is considered as one entity on every layer. I would like to cut the polygons one time (and not edit the four layers round by round) and later give the Land occupation on the polygon. It's a little bit boring to repeat this operation.

I thought about topology but there are other differences that make this approach very complicated (that the normal evolution of landscape) I've heard about relationship classes but it wasn't clear and it seemed to me that you can only work on 2 layers simultaneously.

Software doesn't matter. I can work on Arcgis suite but I would prefer to work on Open source software.

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you don't mention software. the detail of your question is really going to require a direction (software) to get specific answers. Also there is no question here. I can't follow what if your 4 layers are all polygon or what. A picture might help us and you. Just edit your question and add tags –  Brad Nesom Jun 28 '12 at 14:33
    
You're right, that wasn't really clear. I didn't give you all the informations for appropriate help. –  Bobo Jun 29 '12 at 9:48
    
nevermind, not enough famousness to upload pictures on my post ^^ –  Bobo Jun 29 '12 at 10:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is how I'd do it in ArcMap for a simple desktop user, without any levels of versioning/validation

  • Create a new field on each layer, 'Year', and set to 2005, 2006, whatever for all items
  • Merge the layers. This will retain overlapping polygons
  • Work with them as one layer for splits, selected vertex editing, etc
  • Make sure that you work in a manner that can operate on multiple polygons: Select points and shapes with a dragged selection box rather than clicking on them.
  • When you're done, export each layer back to an independent one based on select by attributes -> year={2005,2006,etc}
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Nice idea, it sounds good for me thanks ! –  Bobo Jun 29 '12 at 9:49

Chris.Leeney's solution will work, another way to do it in ArcMap is to just store all your polygon layers (I'll assume they're shapefiles) in one folder. When you click Editor > Start Editing in Arcmap and choose the layer you want to edit, any layers that are stored in the same folder as the one you choose can be edited simultaneously. It doesn't work with all editing operations, for example you can't edit vertices for more than one feature simulaneously, but for splitting polygons it will, as long as you select all the features (not just the top-most one) first.

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