My objective is to clip a single shapefile based on multiple tiff files. Consider that we have a map of a country and we want to clip the states that have residential areas. The residential areas are represented by multiple tiff files.

My current method employs converting tiff into shapefile using the Raster to Polygon tool and using dissolve tool to get a single polygon (iteratively done with multiple tiffs and merging them together to get the final polygon). However this route takes a long processing time and results in freezing/ sudden exit from ArcGIS 10.4.1 application.

Current procedure

  1. Raster-Polygon : Raster is single banded with values ranging from 0-250 with 30m x 30 resolution. The resulting polygon is very large with several polygons.
  2. Dissolve (each tiff)
  3. Merge
  4. Clip the single shapefile using the merged polygon feature

I am assuming there should be an efficient way to capture the boundary/ extent into a polygon and then merge these polygons, instead of converting and dissolving the polygons from each raster file.

3 Answers 3


There is a tool in the 3D Analyst toolbox called Raster Domain that does exactly this.

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  • 1
    Thanks for tip. This works. On my end, the tiff must be cleaned of black (255) values to NoData before this step to avoid empty areas.
    – HexGuy
    Jan 27, 2017 at 15:21

"Dissolve" the Tiffs before converting to polygons, i.e make them all the same value.

For example:

  • In the raster calculator - Int("your_raster" * 0) which will convert all Data values to 0, NoData will remain as is.
  • Alternatively, use the Create Constant Raster tool and in the tool environment settings, set Processing Extent/Extent and Snap Raster and Raster Analysis/Cell Size and Mask to your raster.

Then convert the result to polygon.


The above methods worked as well. Alternatively, I tried a method where I created a selection polygon around my mosaicked tiff images manually (no processing done) and created a separate layer from the selected polygons from the shape layer. This method was quick and easy and required no image processing.

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