I am trying to find a tool or workflow for creating a type of minimum bounding polygon or envelope for complex land areas. (Not just a rectangle, but a simplified perimeter)

Can anyone recommend a way to create the simplified black boundary lines around the irregular colored checkerboard areas in the attached image without having to manually digitize.

I’m using ESRI ArcMap Advanced, but open to other tools.

enter image description here

  • What do the white space represent?
    – Hornbydd
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 22:29

2 Answers 2


You might try Aggregate Polygons. It is located in the Cartography Toolbox, Generalization toolset. This requires an Advanced ArcGIS license. http://resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.2/index.html#//00700000000s000000

  • Indeed,this tool is useful but very, very, very much memory intensive.
    – Learner
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 6:11

Assuming that white areas are small polygons ( if not they can be created) repeating Spatial join of whites with colored (share boundary with option, one to many) might work. After first join assign to white color of first colored. Append colored with subset of assigned whites. Remove subset from whites, etc. You might want to sort colored first, to set a priority. It will nicely fill gaps inside same color areas, result on the boundary will depend on priorities in colored.

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