Note: in the picture below white space between the polygons is blank space – it does not contain any polygons as a result of Intersect or Union functions.

enter image description here


In ArcGIS, you should be able to use the Integrate tool to snap these features together (I am pretty sure it will work on a single feature class).

You should BE SURE TO MAKE A COPY OF YOUR DATA before running this tool, though, as the Integrate tool modifies the input data directly (you are not writing to a new output). You could however get around this limitation by creating a model that:

  1. creates a new output layer using the the Copy Features tool, and then
  2. run the Integrate tool on the output of Copy Features.

There are a number of caveats to this tool, and you should be sure to READ ALL OF THE HELP before performing this action on your data.

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    If integrate doesn't work on a single feature class, there's also the Snap tool (also directly modifies input) and Align to Shape. – Chris W Apr 7 '15 at 21:15
  • Thanks, Ryan - I will try this method. On the other hand, I tried an approach suggested by @Chris, but was not getting what I wanted. Could someone elaborate on the Snap tool approach a little bit? – Sena Apr 8 '15 at 6:25
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    Here is the Integrate tool explained in a short video clip. Works well! youtube.com/watch?v=xSr7Tto1yl4 – Sena Apr 8 '15 at 15:24
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    @Sena Snap and Integrate are very similar tools, but do have some key differences. Integrate is available at Basic license, will add in vertices if needed, and can alter both features its aligning. Snap (Editing) requires Standard or Advanced, will not add vertices (can use Densify for that), can have additional rules on what/how things are snapped, and typically snaps the object with the lower OID to the higher OID. – Chris W Apr 8 '15 at 18:25
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    @ChrisW, you should add your response's as an additional answer so that it stands out better. – RyanKDalton Apr 16 '15 at 17:51

In ArcMap, if you are doing a limited number of features, you could edit the features using the Reshape Feature tool and the Trace tool.

First, start editing the layer and select the feature you want to snap to the other one. Then pick the Reshape Feature tool from the Editor toolbar. Choose a point inside the selected polygon to start, and then use the Trace tool (also on the Editor toolbar) to trace the edge you want to "snap" to. When you are done, you should end with a regular line segment back inside the polygon.

If the tracing proves difficult because your lines overlap, another option would be to use the Trace tool to draw new polygon with the boundaries you want. The Trace tool has an option to only trace selected features, so you can select the feature you want to trace the edge of.

  • I do have about 200 such features and my goal is to keep all those features unique/separate, while eliminating blank space between edges - as you already guessed. Thanks for sharing your approach to this issue. – Sena Apr 8 '15 at 6:16
  • For that many features, an automated approach may work better. Thanks for your comment. I hope you find a solution that works for your situation. – Sara Barnes Apr 8 '15 at 12:15

If you only have a few of these to do, AND you are actually wanting to make the 3 features into one ... My suggested workflow is to do it in an edit session (in ArcMap). Just create a new feature and draw it like the one you drew in red +/-. Then select the new polygon and the other polygons that you want to merge and choose "Merge" in the Editor menu. If you have a lot to do, the previous answer (esp. the 2 step workflow) seems like a good way to go.

  • I don't think they are looking to combine the three features into one through a merge. I think they want to keep the same 3 features, but have the edges be contiguous. – Sara Barnes Apr 7 '15 at 17:42

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