The world map that I am using from NaturalEarth.com has France and French Guyana as one feature. I want to split these into two separate shapes. I'm sure there is a quick fix for this, and the others I'm sure to soon encounter. I am using ArcMap 10.2 and need to use a feature that will make it so that when I click on Guyana, France isn't also selected.

  • 1
    Which GIS tools do you have access to? In QGIS for example, you could use multipart to singlepart tools.
    – underdark
    Jun 13, 2014 at 15:35
  • Would you be able to edit your Question to include the GIS software and version that you are using, please?
    – PolyGeo
    Jun 13, 2014 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


If you have access to ArcGIS, this can be accomplished using the Explode Multipart Feature tool. Start an editing session on your feature, turn on the Advanced Editing Tools (Editor dropdown menu - More Editing Tools - Advanced Editing), select the France/French Guyana feature, and then click the Explode Multipart Feature tool from the Advanced Editing toolbar. This will create two separate features, with each maintaining identical attributes to the original feature. You may want to edit the newly split attributes as your workflow dictates.

  • This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks JWallace
    – Joseph N.
    Jun 16, 2014 at 14:29

you can use vector ->geometry tools -> multipart to singleparts

update: this of course seperates ALL multiparts. if you only want france to seperate. first export this to new shapefile: Layer ->Query and enter in the last box name = "France" and click ok. the actual layer now contians only france. right click on this layer and use save as. now do the procedure described on top. good luck! enter image description here

  • Can you add which software suite this utilizes?
    – Paul
    Jun 13, 2014 at 15:39
  • @Paul this works with qgis
    – Kurt
    Jun 13, 2014 at 15:44

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