Can someone recommend a good tool for ArcGIS that would help summarize how many acres of a polygon feature occur within each parcel in a separate layer.

I have a layer containing a few hundred parcels stored as polygon features. Each parcel feature has an APN, calculated acreage, owner name/contact info, and a few other attributes. In a second layer, I have approximately 5000 smaller polygons with a five column attribute table. I need to figure out how many acres of each of those attribute values occur within each parcel. The issue is that the smaller parcels can potentially overlap multiple parcels.

Is there a tool that would be able to easily summarize this data for me? I'm envisioning something that slices those 5000 into separate polygons where they overlap a parcel boundary.

I've been learning on ArcGIS 10.2, but have QGIS installed on the computer if this would be easier in that program.

2 Answers 2


The Union tool in the Overlay Toolset is probably the easiest and quickest - then you can get the size of each polygon feature through the attribute table.

However, if that is not the exact output you are looking for, browse the example outputs shown on the Overlay Toolset Overview page.

  • This worked perfectly. Now it's time sort through the 20,000 rows that the Union generated. RStats, here I come. Cheers! Sep 3, 2014 at 20:02
  • @JasonMorgan Good Deal :) Mind marking as accepted?
    – Barrett
    Sep 3, 2014 at 20:19
  • Thought I did...sorry about that. It didn't let me upvote being a new user, but I found the check mark. Sep 3, 2014 at 22:55

With ArcGIS 10.1 and higher, you can use "tabulate intersection" if you have an advanced licence. You'll need to run it once per field but it gives directly what you need. Otherwise you need to do the process in several steps:

1)union of the two datasets

2)summary statistics for the resulting table, based on the ID field and each of the value field, querying the sum of the area (I suppose you work in a gdb, so no need to compute the area)

  • Looks promising, but I don't have an Advanced license to test it. Until I get the budget, I'll have to make do with manually running the Union tool and then summarizing the exported data. Sep 3, 2014 at 22:58

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