In ArcGIS, I have a shapefile for a pipeline and another for plots of land that the pipeline shapefile touches and I was wondering if there is an obvious way to calculate the area that the pipeline covers within each of the individual polygons for the land plots shapefile.

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    Generally pipelines are modeled as lines in GIS, do you want the length of line that passes through a land plot? Or do you actually want 'area' taking into account the width of the pipeline/trench?
    – DMusketeer
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:22
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    @DMusketeer - Good point! I think in either scenario, an intersect would be the first step before creating a new field to calculate the length/area of the line/polygon.
    – Joseph
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:25
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    @Joseph Intersect is probably the easiest way to go for this user, especially if it is a one off. I work in pipelines and would use linear referencing tools to manage the data better. It is a bit more complicated though.
    – DMusketeer
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:34
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    Or do you mean something more like easements/RoW when you refer to area? Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 16:24
  • Thanks for the responses, I am including a working area around the pipeline so it is a polygon. I really only want to know how much of the land in each plot/polygon will be taken up by the pipeline area that crosses it. Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 11:00

1 Answer 1


If the pipeline is a line feature class use buffer tool to create a polygon. Then use intersect tool with pipeline polygon and land plots as inputs. The resulting polygon will be the areas of overlap between the inputs.

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