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I have multiple polygons that show me metropolitan areas and rural areas across a state. I want to modify the layer so that there are no rural polygons by assigning portions of the rural polygons to the metro polygons. This would ideally be a distance based operation, i.e., the areas of a rural polygon would be dissolved into the metro polygon that they are nearest to.

  • Can you Buffer the Metro areas? Use the buffer to Intersect the rural polygons, splitting the rural polygons so you can alter the attributes overlapping the buffer. – klewis Apr 2 at 21:54
  • What happens when the buffers from the metro polygons overlap with each other? – jtam Apr 4 at 0:07
  • @tjam, if you have overlapping buffers, those areas are still converted from Rural to Metro. They are within the distance to a metro polygon. – klewis Apr 4 at 14:53
  • I see, you need to assign a single Metro name, but there might be two Metros. Maybe sort the Metro names assign the first one, as opposed to randomly selecting a name. – klewis Apr 4 at 15:02
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This is an ideal raster situation and can be resolved with a simple tool function.

For ESRI software the tool is called Nibble: http://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/tools/spatial-analyst-toolbox/nibble.htm

You'll need to assign your areas a unique numerical ID, convert only your metro areas (rural = NoData) as a layer to use as a mask, and convert your entire dataset to raster as the input. Then you can convert your raster back to polygon based on the unique ID and join any other attributes you wish from your initial dataset.

  • Thanks! I'll check this out and see if it works. – jtam Apr 4 at 0:05

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