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'll try to describe my problem the best I can. I'm very new to ArcGIS.

I have a jpeg showing an old map of NYC zones. I was able to georeference this image with a shapefile of NYC blocks. I wish to now create a new feature class where I can trace these zones from the old jpeg onto the new feature class layer using the blocks shapefile as a reference. I will also wish to trace along the blocks in that blocks shapefile layer.

I've been following this thread's advice (second reply) so far. It is as follows:

Add your empty feature class/shapefile to arcmap, and click your Editor button and go to Start Editing. (Assuming you are using V10?)

If you plan on following existing geographic features, look at using the Trace tool. Hint: When tracing, whatever feature you want your line to follow, it has to be Selected.

There are several ways to select a feature: Location Attribute Graphic

Try to explore the Feature Construction toolbar and the various segment creation tools.

However, after I create this blank feature class and add it as a layer, I cannot edit it! I go into "Start Editing" mode, choose the blank feature class, but I cannot trace or do anything after that.

Is there any hope for me? Please let me know if you need more info and thank you so much in advance for any advice.

share|improve this question

migrated from Mar 26 '14 at 4:57

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

You need to make a new feature template first before you can create any new feature classes (via tracing, etc.) I believe this is new to version 10. See In short, if I remember correctly, from the editor menu you go to more winodws -> create features. Then click "new" to make a new feature template.

share|improve this answer
After I create a feature template I can draw things but I'm not sure how to save them as a new layer. At this point I think I've rushed into something I wasn't prepared for. This all seems too complicated for me. Thank you for your help, though. – rdoge Mar 2 '14 at 22:46

I sympathise with this problem. This is something that ought to be very simple but is actually quite confusing in ArcGIS10.

When you say:

'I can draw things but I'm not sure how to save them as a new layer.'

It makes me think that you haven't created a new layer first for editing. For your task it sounds like you want to create a new layer first (I usually use catalogue). In catalogue right-click on the folder you want to work in and select 'Add new Shapefile Layer'.

Then do your tracing etc on this new layer.

share|improve this answer
I was finally able to figure it out. ArcGIS is a cruel mistress.. Thank you for understanding. – rdoge Mar 15 '14 at 2:58

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.