(*disclaimer, I don't know any Python/scripting) Ok, so I have clipped several layers in the past using Arcmap 10.+, but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around how hard it can be at times.

I used to own a photography/design business, so I'm used to manipulating crops via Photoshop. I think because of this, I have issues with simple clipping when composing a map.

For this current clip/crop, I would like to freehand a polygon around several connected streams and "crop" out everything around that polygon. Within the polygon, there are several layers having many polylines and points, and a Ortho_tile_tiff catalog layer aerial view. I believe it's this Ortho_tile geodatabase that's throwing me here. If someone could break it down for a semi_green GISer I would be much appreciative. Thanks!

  • Are you clipping the layers to export them or just for viewing /visual purposes? – GISKid Jul 15 '14 at 14:47
  • To both export and print. – MrJoshua Jul 15 '14 at 15:15
  • Maybe this will help: The layer I am trying to clip is a File Geodatabase Raster Catalog. Basically it's a county-wide aerial tile. I essentially want to freehand a polygon around some streams, and clip everything outside that polygon, including the geodatabase raster catalog. – MrJoshua Jul 15 '14 at 15:27
  • See my answer, specifically the blog post – GISKid Jul 15 '14 at 15:29

Here are a few options for clipping in ArcGIS:

  1. Clipping the DataFrame This allows you to draw a shape with the draw tools and "Clip to shape" which may be more what you're looking for. You should be able to draw a shape like a polygon and clip to it using this option.
  2. Using the Editor to clip. This is a quick and dirty way to clip your existing dataset, however, again, no rasters.
  3. What your most familiar with no doubt is using the tool Clip you could always create a separate shapefile with your polygon area and clip everything to that. However, this won't work with raster files. You need to use a separate tool to clip rasters. You could always design a simple model builder with these clip tools in order achieve this faster.

This blog post highlights different ways to clip a raster which you may also find useful. If you don't find this answer sufficient please update your post as to what exactly you're having difficulty with or what isn't working.


If you have access to the Spatial Analyst extension, you can also use the extract by mask tool.

  • The problem I am continuing to run into is any clipping work I try to do with this catalog gives me the error, "One or more droped items were invalid and will not be added to the control". I tried running the Raster Catalog to Raster Dataset, but if gave me a fail with no reason or error code. – MrJoshua Jul 15 '14 at 17:16
  • I take that back... it did give me the error code [999999: This is a generic error for which the cause does not have a specific error ID.] Sooo... basically no, no error code. – MrJoshua Jul 15 '14 at 17:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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