I have 500 polygons in a feature class. There are a lot of overlapping polygons and I need to remove these overlapping areas according to three criteria.

What we do now: we have a column with the order in which they should be clipped (1 to 500), and we select each polygon in that order and clip it (editor clip -discard the area that intersects).

Is there a way to automate this?

  • 1
    Welcome to GIS SE. As a new user, please take the Tour, which explains how our "Focused question/Best answer" model operates, and emphasizes the importance of asking One question per Question. By including an "or" in the title, you are effectively asking two questions. In addition, "Is it possible?" questions are of limited use because the real challenge is in "How is it possible?". This is certainly possible from ArcPy, but you really need to start coding to get the best benefit from GIS SE. – Vince Jun 4 at 16:06
  • Try to adopt this gis.stackexchange.com/questions/324543/… – FelixIP Jun 4 at 19:22
  • When you say that the clip took from editor is not available I assume that you are looking for its erase function. If you only have a Basic license then to workaround not having the Erase tool you can use Union and Select. – PolyGeo Jun 4 at 20:01
  • @FelixIP I tested with a shapefile like the one in the example, and it worked perfectly. But it did not work with my data. These 500 polygons are protected areas scattered through the landscape. Some polygons don't overlap, and the ones that do overlap are not completly contained in the others. Something like this: eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/…. – Mariana Oliveira Jun 5 at 15:01
  • @PolyGeo I Have an advanced license, but erase tool does not help much. We transformed each polygon in a feature and tried in model builder repeatedly erasing, merging, and erasing but it is only stable with a small number of features. – Mariana Oliveira Jun 5 at 15:05

I've done something like this in the past.
I Selected the top priority Polygons, Erased everything overlapping.
This output will be the input to the next step.
Select Priority #2 Polygons, Erase everything overlapping.

Since you only have 3 Criteria in the same Field, these steps might work in Model Builder.

Create separate FeatureClasses, SplitByAttributes.
You now have 3 feature classes FC1,FC2,FC3 (name your data to fit your needs)

FC1 is not edited because it is the top priority.

Erase FC2 by FC1 producing FC2_erase
Merge FC1,FC2 producing FC12_merge
Erase FC3 by FC12_merge producing FC3_erase
Merge FC1,FC2_erase,FC3_erase producing Final_FC

  • We have three criteria on three different fields, what sums up to hundreds of combinations. Based on them we created a field that indicates the desired sequence (1 to 474) – Mariana Oliveira Jun 5 at 16:53

We resolved the issue using the Feature to polygon tool, to get the shapefile without the overlaps. The result was used as target in the Spatial Join tool. The attributes were joined based on spatial location (intersect/search radius: - 10m) and on the field containing the sequence (Field Map of Join Features -> Right click on field containing the sequence -> minimum).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.