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I use the Traverse Tool to run out legal descriptions on deeds and recorded subdivision plats. I'm looking for a way to display the survey calls once I'm done. Is there a way to do that? I'm using ArcMap 10.0.

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Yes, there is. If you did not save your traverse to a text file when finished, you can:

  • be in an Edit Session, have the Traverse dialog open and blank
  • select the shape you want the calls for and enter edit vertice mode (ie, double click the shape)
  • in the Traverse tool, right-click the description window and choose Load Traverse from Sketch

You can then right-click again in the description window (may need to click one of the calls first) and save that traverse out to a text file for future reference. They can be loaded from text files as well.


Now if you want to label the lines with the calls, that's another animal. Parcel Fabrics automatically track the details of the calls in attributes, but just creating a shapefile/feature class and inputting with COGO doesn't. To add those attributes, there's a tool you can run on the shapefile or feature class from within ArcCatalog. It's only available in ArcCatalog (the actual program, not the window within ArcMap) and not visible by default, so you have to right-click somewhere in the menu space and choose Customize. Then go to the Commands tab and type COGO into the search box. There should be only one result - Add COGO Fields. Add that button to a tool bar, then click it to run. Note since you're adding fields, you can't have the file open in an edit session, and in fact you probably shouldn't have it open at all in ArcMap (or ArcMap even running for that matter) because Catalog and Map tend to lock each other out of access to files.

Note that it only works on line shapes. If you're creating polygon parcels, you'll have to first convert them to a line geometry and run the tool on those. It will add fields to hold the bearing and distance of the lines as attributes. Once that's done, you can open the shapefile/feature class up again in ArcMap and use the Update COGO Attributes button (last on the COGO toolbar) to actually populate the fields. Then you can create labels using those attributes. Of course, if you want to label the polygons you'll have to have the line layer in there too with a null symbology, and if you change polygons you have to re-export to lines and re-update the COGO attributes every time.

For this reason, you might want to consider using Parcel Fabrics. Not only does it track more information, but it's all integrated. However, it does require a higher license level (Advanced), has a bit of a learning curve, and is actually much more complex on the back end.

  • Thanks so much for your response! I got to the part where I add COGO Fields, but unfortunately it's not an option for me. My available tools (when typing in COGO) are: COGO Area, COGO Report, Split into COGO Lines and Update COGO Attributes. Sorry, I'm missing something. – pac_co Feb 9 '15 at 21:56
  • @pac_co I suspect you're in ArcMap, not ArcCatalog (and based on my testing and your description of the commands you can see, I'm sure of it). That tool is only available in Catalog, by which I mean the actual program, not a Catalog window within ArcMap. Also note that you cannot have the layers/files open in ArcMap while running it (and in fact you shouldn't have any ArcMap sessions running at all when working with Catalog, generally speaking). They tend to lock each other out of file access. – Chris W Feb 10 '15 at 7:16
  • Thanks for the update. I was able to add COGO Fields directly in ArcCatalog successfully! I converted my COGO Polygon into a Polyline, added the COGO Fields in ArcCatalog, re-open ArcMap, Edit mode, double click with edit tool to activate the Update COGO Attributes, but the warming message I'm getting is 'Could not update the COGO attributes on select feature. Either its geometry does not conform to a 2-point line or circular arc, or the feature class does not contain the necessary attribute fields'. I confirmed that my Polyline has the attribute fields. – pac_co Feb 10 '15 at 17:00
  • You shouldn't need to be editing the vertices of the line (ie, double clicking), just have the desired lines selected. Are your lines two point lines? It won't work with any line that has more than two vertices, because then you'd have more than one bearing/distance in the line (the same reason it won't work on polygons). Might want to run Split Lines at Vertices (requires Advanced License). – Chris W Feb 10 '15 at 19:42

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