I have a lab assignment that i would need some help with. I have a 25km buffer that's in a circle. Within that i am supposed to make a map were the berries that people can pick are. The assignment is to put in some "demand" that needs to be fullfilled to be in the buffer. I have a layer with vegetation that contains many different vegetation codes. I have made a Selection > Select By Attributes and exported the data with only the vegetation codes that i need.

The problem comes when i run Selection > Select by location. What is the target layer and what is the source layer? I don't understand what the difference is? What is the "acive" layer and what is the "search layer"?

EDIT: Okay i will try and explain. I tried to upload pictures to be even more clear but i am not allowed to post links apparently. This would be SO MUCH easier to explain if i could post pictures.

  1. First i add my layers of Sweden, the city, islands, roads etc.

  2. I create a pointlayer shapefile to buffer from called R25 and edit in a point right at the city core.

  3. Then i go to geoprocessing > Buffer and chose to buffer R25 to 25km. I save the bufferzone as Buffer25

  4. Then i go to select features and click "Luleå kommun" and then the contour of the city area turns blue. I export this as Data > Export data > Lulea

  5. I go to analysis tools > Extract and chooses clip. There i chose Buffer25 as indata and Buffer25_Lulea as out data. Now there is a new shapefile called Buffer25_Lulea

  6. Now there is a layer called Buffer25_Lulea with a radius of 25km from city core with all the areas that doesn't belong to the city cas been cut off.

  7. Now i have to add the layer called "vegetation". The vegetation types im interested in is vegcode 41, 51 and 52. So i go to Selection > Select by attributes and write "VEGCODE" = 41 OR etc.I save this as Data > Export data and saves is as veg_41_51_52.shp

  8. Now i go to Selection - Select by Location and the method intersect. HERE IS THE PROBLEM!! What layer is the target file and what layer is the source file????? I want all the berries that are in the city to be shown as "Berries Lulea"


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    I think this is well described in the Online Help for Select By Location which you do not mention having read. The target layer is the one having selections performed on it. The source layer is the one being used to determine what features in the target layer will be selected. If you are still stuck, after reviewing that, then can you edit your question to detail the precise steps that you have performed, and where it ceases to make sense, please?
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 8:54

1 Answer 1


Your target layer will be veg_41_51_52 (because you want to select from that) and your source layer will be Buffer25_Lulea (because you want to only select within its polygon).

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