I have a DEM and I want to apply some tools to it (fill and others). In my DEM I've zones (drawn as mask) that need to be exlcluded from that processing.

I don't want to apply the processing to the whole zone and then put a mask on it.

How do I get the zone where I can apply my tools? My masks are the zones I don't want to process.

I thought about Clip (data management) but it does not work, I also tried to substract this mask from the DEM, without success. Same with "Erase tool", it does not accept my DEM.

I'm using ArcMap 10.2.2.


2 Answers 2


The best way to exclude areas from raster processing in ArcGIS is with the Mask Environment Setting. To use it, you will need a positive mask that covers the areas that you want to process, rather than a negative mask that covers the areas that you want to exclude. To create a positive mask, draw a really big polygon and clip it with the features covering areas that you want to exclude.

  • thanks, I did use the erase tool to substract the non wanted zone from the big polygon
    – Vectorito
    Jun 16, 2015 at 20:35

From the help: Mask—A dataset that defines which locations in the inputs will be considered in the execution of the tool. If the mask dataset is a raster, all cells with a value will compose the mask. Cells that are NoData in a raster mask will be NoData in the output. If a feature dataset is used as input for the mask, it will be converted internally to a raster on execution.

So you might want to just convert your vector mask to raster using the the dem as a snap raster and the dems cell size. The extent of the vector being functionally used may be the rectangular extent..or may include internal holes depending on your settings. At least this way you'll see your mask. You could also just make your reverse mask polygon and use Extract by Mask...not clip.

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