This may be trivial question. I am new to GIS. Could any of you can brief me the difference between the feature and Geometry.


Feature, according to the Esri GIS dictionary:

A representation of a real-world object on a map.

Geometry, according to the Esri GIS dictionary: :

The measures and properties of points, lines, and surfaces. In a GIS, geometry is used to represent the spatial component of geographic features.

A feature has both spatial (geographic) and non-spatial (descriptive) properties. One could say that any feature has geometry (length of the line or area of the polygon) and some descriptive attributes (the number of people, the temperature).


"Geometry" refers solely to the spatial aspects of a feature: for a point feature, the location of the point (with at least an X and Y coordinate, maybe a Z coordinate as well), or for a polygon it would refer to all the vertices of the polygon and the order in which they're connected to draw the polygon.

A "Feature" is a single entity in GIS that has both geometry and attribute data. The attribute data can be just a single ID number or it can encompass all kinds of other data about the feature. For example, a polygonal feature representing a parcel of land could have attribute data naming the property owner, the parcel's mailing address, and so on. A feature can also consist of more than one geometry (these are called multi-part features): in the land parcel example, a parcel of land that is bisected by a railroad track right-of-way would be represented on-screen by two separate geometries (one on either side of the RR track), but would be one feature in GIS. You could also split that one feature into two features, both with identical attribute data, but different geometries. You can also have features with no geometry, which wouldn't show up on a map but would appear in the layer's attribute table.

  • Thank you people for your very good explanations. Really it helped me a lot. I now got a clear idea of both the feature and geometry. – User123 Mar 6 '15 at 17:39
  • An detailed discussion about these and other related terms can also be found in the OGC Reference Model. – heltonbiker Mar 6 '15 at 19:00

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