First, I'm working in ArcMap 10.3.1

I have many layers which are made up of multiple features (polygons). I want all those polygons to be merged into one. First I tried dissolving the layers, but when I went into the attribute table they were still made up of multiple features.

I have now found a workflow using merging, but I was hoping there might be a simpler solution. Here's what I've been doing:

This is what it looks like when I start. I have 7 features selected, which are all part of one layer. After I select the features I start an editing session, and merge the features.

When I do that, I get this. There is only one feature now, which includes all 7 of the original features. However, the acreage hasn't been updated. It just took the acreage from the first original feature. Then I calculate geometry for the acreage, and it updates it correctly.

enter image description here

This is the output I want, but I have a lot of layers to do this for, and it seems like there might be a better way to do this.

Maybe something involving the dissolve tool?

Or if this is the best way, is there any way that I can automate the process?

I'm new to GIS and have never tried doing that before.

  • 1
    I think we need more details for a decent answer. Is there an attribute that you are merging the polygons by? eg.) soil type
    – GISHuman
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 20:59
  • Yes, the features I'm merging are all the same soil type. However, each of the layers I'm trying to this for already have only one soil. That's why in the first picture all of the features share the same MUSYM.
    – Scott Z
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 21:50
  • 1
    I think you should edit your question to clarify a few things. Do you have multiple polygon shapefiles for every soil type, or do you have one shapefile with made up of many polygons with multiple soil types ? I think dissolve is worth looking into in this case if its the latter.
    – GISHuman
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 22:19
  • That's a good point. I believe the latter is the case - Each layer is composed of one shapefile with multiple polygons.
    – Scott Z
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 23:02
  • Looks like you are working with soils data and I would not recommend merge all into one, because each soil features has it's own attribute for that site.
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 0:23