I am working on generalization of Geological map generalization and as part of it I am dealing with displacement of polygons from each others. Because, in previous steps I enlarged small polygons which are small they became close to each others and now to be displaced. Basic parameter is Object Separation constraint which is 1 mm on the map, meaning, if polygons are closer than 1 mm they should be made further from each other unless it reaches 1 mm distance. Here, is the small portion of the map, with red line 14, 40 meters are distance between polygons before and after enlargement respectively. And in green line 25 meters, is the Object Separation distance, how far they should be.

I am considering using buffer as a solution though, is there any other ideas how can I do this better way? enter image description here

  • Can you provide which software you are going to use? As it looks like ArcMap the available licences is important too.
    – Matte
    Feb 6, 2017 at 15:43
  • Yes, I am using ArcGIS
    – peter
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:14
  • Are you saying that you want these two polygons to stay at the "green size" but that you want their nearest edges to be 25 metres apart? i.e. one needs to be moved west about 5.5 metres and the other east about 5.5 metres. If so, why not "Start Editing", select and move each of them?
    – PolyGeo
    Mar 7, 2017 at 7:05
  • Yes, I am trying to move the polygons apart from each other to the allowable distance, which is 25 meters in the example. Why I cannot to them in the editing mode, I am dealing with thousands of polygons, which means I am not able to do all of them manually.
    – peter
    Mar 7, 2017 at 10:48

1 Answer 1


Select by location with your polygon feature class as both the target and source features. Select features that intersect within a distance of 1 meter. Make a negative buffer -1 meter o whatever your minimum separation distance should be or preferred offset, etc. Reverse the selection on the original feature class and merge the buffered output and the selected features.

  • I could not really get how it can displace polygons from each other. Can you please, a bit more elaborate this for me? Thanks.
    – peter
    Apr 18, 2017 at 14:32

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