Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am working on a map book using data driven pages of the Silvies Valley in Northeastern Oregon. The basemap is a high resolution aerial image (raster) of Oregon with a shapefile overlay of USGS geologic map units. I neglected to clip the dataframe before I set up the data driven pages.

Now I would like to add contours to the map. I am using the contour tool in the raster surface toolbox,...the process has been running for about 8 hours now. I understand this is because the raster is so big.

My problem is, as far as I understand, if I turn off data driven pages in order to clip the dataframe, I will lose the data driven pages settings. This is not that big of a deal for me, but I would rather not do the work again.

My question is, how do I clip the data to the dataframe, while I have data driven pages set up?

Thanks in advance for the help, JL

share|improve this question
Just for clarification, when you say clip to the data frame, do you mean an actual Clip process, or a mask? Also, are you using the USGS geologic map units shapefile to run your Data Driven Pages? Not really sure what contours have to do with your question. – Baltok Nov 15 '12 at 16:25
I need to clip the data. ArcMap is attempting to draw contours for the entire state of Oregon (the entire raster), and I only need it to do it for the map area. The problem is that it could take days to draw the contours for the whole state. – J_L Nov 15 '12 at 16:30
The raster itself, the geologic unit overlay, and the index for the data-driven pages map book are the three layers driving the data driven pages. I guess I am just confused about how exactly to clip the raster to the extent of the dataframe, and not the raster. – J_L Nov 15 '12 at 16:32
Okay. When you run the Contour tool, set up a mask in the environment settings based on your USGS geologic map units shapefile, or whatever your area of interest is. – Baltok Nov 15 '12 at 16:38
Okay I'll give this a try. Thanks! – J_L Nov 15 '12 at 16:41
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Alright, now that I understand the question better, I will post my answer here rather than the comments so hopefully people will find it easier. I'll include more detail here as well.

Within the Contour tool dialog, click on the Environments button at the bottom. Contour Dialog

In the Environment Settings, navigate to Processing Extent. In that setting you can define the extent you want to use for processing through several different methods, including manual coordinate input. enter image description here

An additional note is that this setting can be changed for many tools in ArcToolbox.

share|improve this answer

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.