I am using ArcGIS Desktop 10.4.

I would like to create multiple ring buffers surrounding my polygon localities. My buffers should not overlap and I need to know, which location each of my buffers surrounds.

I've thought to simply use arcpy.MultipleRingBuffer_analysis. However, if I use Dissolve_Option = "NONE", I am able to define which locations my buffers surround, as the locations ID is stored in newly created "ORIG_FID" field. However, my buffers overlap.

If I use Dissolve_Option = "ALL", my buffers do not overlap. But, I have no information about which location does my buffer surround.

How do I accomplish having multiple distances non-overlapping buffers but be able to know the location they belong to?

My code to create multiple ring buffers:

# Import modules
import arcpy, os

# Set environmental settings
inWD = "C:/Users/Localities"
arcpy.env.workspace = os.path.join(inWD, "analyzed.gdb")
outPath = os.path.join(inWD, "output.gdb")

# Allow files to overwrite
arcpy.env.overwriteOutput = True

# Define input variables
inFC = "NPR"


    # Define Multiple ring buffer variables
    distances = [100, 500, 1000, 2000]
    buffUnit = "Meters"
    Field_Name = "distance"
    Dissolve_Option = "ALL"
    Outside_Polygons_Only = "OUTSIDE_ONLY"

    # Process: Multiple ring buffer
    outBuff = os.path.join(outPath, "buff_complete")
    arcpy.MultipleRingBuffer_analysis(inFC, outBuff, distances, buffUnit,
                                      Field_Name, Dissolve_Option,


Simple illustration for distances [100,500,1000,2000] Meters: even if I click only on 100 m buffer (the closest to inFC), my buffers have to overlap, as in attribute table I've selected 3 different buffers.

enter image description here

  • What do a couple of your input features and output buffers look like? A picture should help.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 12:27
  • 1
    Just leave the buffers undissolved and erase the overlaps.
    – Bera
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 12:41
  • how can I erase the overlaps please? Please, be more specific. I have Advance licence
    – maycca
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 12:43
  • 1
    Hi @BERA, why did your answer disappear? Your approach actually solved my problem! Can you put it back that I can accept it?
    – maycca
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 7:53
  • 1
    It was untested so i removed it thinking someone else would post an answer. Nice, i have undeleted it.
    – Bera
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 8:10

1 Answer 1


Dont dissolve the buffer, just erase the overlaps. Add this after buffer:

outerasedbuffer = 'outerasebuffer'

for d in distances:
    if d==100:
        sql = """{0}={1}""".format(arcpy.AddFieldDelimiters(datasource=outbuff, field='distance'),d)
        arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management(in_features=outbuff, out_layer='lyr_100', 
    if d==500:
        sql = """{0}={1}""".format(arcpy.AddFieldDelimiters(datasource=outbuff, field='distance'),d)
        arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management(in_features=outbuff, out_layer='lyr_500', 
        arcpy.Erase_analysis(in_features='lyr_500', erase_features='lyr_100', 
    if d==1000:
        sql = """{0}={1}""".format(arcpy.AddFieldDelimiters(datasource=outbuff, field='distance'),d)
        arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management(in_features=outbuff, out_layer='lyr_1000', 
        arcpy.Erase_analysis(in_features='lyr_1000', erase_features='lyr_500', 
    if d==2000:
        sql = """{0}={1}""".format(arcpy.AddFieldDelimiters(datasource=outbuff, field='distance'),d)
        arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management(in_features=outbuff, out_layer='lyr_2000', 
        arcpy.Erase_analysis(in_features='lyr_2000', erase_features='lyr_1000', 
arcpy.Merge_management(inputs=['lyr_100', r'in_memory\buff500',r'in_memory\buff1000',r'in_memory\buff2000'], output=outerasedbuffer)

Or dissolve the buffers and join the attributes back using Spatial Join.

  • how would you go about doing the erase if there were about 100+ buffers? Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 16:56

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