I have ArcView 10 and I'm trying to clip a DEM (TIFF) to a wilderness boundary (polygon). I know ArcView won't let me do this without Spatial Analyst which I do not have.

I tried exporting my raster and vector in QGIS but I can't get the two to line up (different coord systems).

I've tried to "DEFINE COORD SYSTEM" in ArcToolbox, but something just isn't right.

  • Ultimately I need to export the clipped DEM raster to STL format somehow for importing into CAM software...any ideas are appreciated Oct 14, 2012 at 1:37
  • Why can't you do this through Data Management toolbox? Their help says that it is allowed in ArcView help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#//…
    – nadya
    Oct 14, 2012 at 2:59
  • I have only been successful clipping a vector with a vector through data management. When the input features box comes up...only vector files are selectable Oct 14, 2012 at 3:02
  • more specifically, you CAN clip a raster using an envelope (extent coordinates), but not a ploygon Oct 14, 2012 at 3:05

4 Answers 4


You can go to Data Management -> Raster -> Raster Processing -> Clip, and Spatial Analyst is not needed. There just check the checkbox "Use input features for clipping geometry".

From help: If the checkbox "Use input features for clipping geometry" is checked, then the output raster is clipped based on the perimeter of the polygon shape. If the checkbox is not checked (default), then the raster is clipped based on the extent of the polygon.


If you're having trouble doing this in QGIS, make sure your coordinate systems are the same.

  1. Load your DEM and check the CRS (right-click, "set layer CRS" and see what's selected);
  2. Load the shapefile - if it has a different CRS, then right-click and Save as ... to the same CRS as the DEM, then load the resulting reprojected polygon;

Now you can clip the DEM with Raster|Extraction|Clipper using the 'Mask layer' option, and selecting the reprojected polygon as the mask.


It's simple really. Just select the polygon that you want to clip with. Then right-click the vector layer in the table of contents. Convert features to graphics. I generally choose "Draw the converted graphics and draw the features". This will overlay a vector graphic on top of the polygon. Using the arrow select tool, select the graphic.

Once selected, right-click on the DEM (or any raster for that matter), and choose Data > Export Data. In the extent options, choose "Selected Graphics (Clipping). Continue with the other options to your liking, and then save. You should then have a raster clipped to the vector polygon you wanted.

Edit: I should say this isn't the most expedient way to do multiple clips, but if you need a raster clipped to a vector, and you don't have spatial analyst, then it certainly works.


You can use ArcToolBox

Extraction -> Extract by mask to clip raster by polygon

Here clip for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoKBI8znZRw


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