I am using ArcGIS 10.1 and I have two shapefiles I'd like to process:

A Polygon shapefile with 1000 features representing lakes covering a specific area, and;
A Polygon shapefile with the Land Use features for the specific area.

I would like to Buffer the Lake Shapefile to 10km and somehow determine the composition of land uses from the Land Use shapefile by their area within the buffer.

The final product would be an excel file or the buffer shapefile with a table where each row represents the 1000 lakes with columns for the differing land uses and the area value associated.

I know this can be done with the Buffer tool and then the Clip tool, but this process can be tedious even if automated with python. The result would be 1000 shapefiles with the areas for each land use, when I would like it all organized into one file.

Are there any recommendations on how I can go about this task? Maybe a third-party tool I'm not aware of.

1 Answer 1


If you have a license for ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced (formerly ArcInfo license), you can use the Tabulate Intersection tool to do this.

Tabulate Intersection

First, buffer your lakes, probably with the line_side parameter in the Buffer tool set to OUTSIDE_ONLY so you don't include the body of the lakes themselves. Then, run Tabulate Intersection with the following parameters:

  • in_zone_features would be your lake buffer

  • zone_fields would be your ID for lakes

  • in_class_features would be your land cover polygons

  • out_table is a table on disk

  • class_fields is your land cover class IDs

If you don't have and ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced license, you'll have to do this using a combination of the Union and Summary Statistics tools.

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