I have two identical shapefiles of Estonia. The only difference is that the attribute table of shapefile 1 has mean temperatures from the period of 1991-2000 and the attribute table of shapefile 2 has mean temperatures from the period of 2001-2010.

I want to compare these two shapefiles now and the result should be a shapefile which shows the difference in mean temperature between the two periods.

How can I do it?

I tried Feature Compare but it did not work. I got an error.

  • 2
    What does the error message say?
    – artwork21
    Feb 21, 2015 at 4:16
  • @artwork21 There is no special error message, but when I use the Feature compare I cant see the columns to compare? I cant see the 1991-2000 column and the 2001-2010 column. Maybe because the name is not the same?
    – Carl
    Feb 21, 2015 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


Assuming that there is a unique key in common to both shapefiles I think you should be able to use the Join Field tool to join the fields you want from shapefile2 onto shapefile1.

Then you can do whatever calculations/comparisons that you wish.

  • Isn't there something easier? I thought that it is possible to input two datasets and get a third dataset (with the differences in temperater) as result?
    – Carl
    Feb 21, 2015 at 22:30
  • 2
    I cannot think of anything easier than this - have you tried it and encountered a problem? Alternative approaches would be to convert your shapefiles to rasters so that you can do map algebra on them, or write an ArcPy script to use cursors, but I think this way is the easiest.
    – PolyGeo
    Feb 21, 2015 at 22:56
  • I tried it. But why does it take so long? When I do a table join I have to wait about 5 seconds but the field join (only 1 field) is working for 15 minutes now
    – Carl
    Feb 23, 2015 at 19:50

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