I am attempting to create a table that summarizes habitat information for a given survey area. My habitat information is in the form of a local raster file, with codes for specific habitat classes. My survey areas are circular buffers saved as a local polygon shapefile. Many of these polygons are overlapping. When I run the Tabulate Area (Spatial Analyst) tool, the values for overlapping polygons totals to less than what they should be. It appears that for overlapping polygons, only the area not overlapped by another polygon is being tabulated. If I select a single polygon and run the Tabulate Area tool on it, the values that are output are correct.

Is there a way to work around this without running the tool for each individual polygon?

Or if that is the only way, is there any suggested Python code I could use?

I am using ArcMap (ArcGIS 10.3.1).


2 Answers 2


You could use a search cursor and iterate all the rows of the polygon and do the analysis:


Modelbuilder is also an option:



There are several ways to deal with this as @Niels has suggested but have you looked at this ESRI blog, there is a Tabulate Area 2 tool which deals with overlaps (but reading the subsequent comments it appears the tool is a bit flaky and the author has not maintained it).

  • It appears this supplemental tool was made to fix the exact problem I was having. Thank you!
    – Matt G
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 15:38

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