In ArcMap, I'm trying to create a site suitability map for a solar farm but I have issues with the building footprint file. I'd like to exclude areas with buildings but I have no idea how to go about that given there are numerous polygons representing buildings, and offsetting each one of them seems ineffective. I tried once but it was still creating buffers after 2 days of starting.


  • From which layer you want to exclude the buildings? The suitability map? Is the suitability layer vector or raster?
    – Padmanabha
    Aug 7 at 17:40
  • This building footprint is currently a vector layer. I haven't created a map to exclude the building from yet.. I'm still preparing each layer (including this building footprint) so I can use raster calculator to generate a suitability map. I'm following a slightly similar tutorial on Youtube but it's confusing because the project worked on didn't have building footprint as an exclusion criteria.
    – Yfunfur
    Aug 7 at 18:27
  • Without knowing the layer(s) you want to exclude the building layers, it will be hard to help you.
    – Padmanabha
    Aug 7 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


If you do not have the entire area in a polygon, you could just create a polygon layer that holds the entire set of building footprints. You will call the layer "Suitability Area". then you use the Erase tool from the ArcToolbox and use it to punch holes in the big polygon using the the footprints. Check out this link for more details https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ViVKIEM7pg you could create a buffer of the footprints if the installation cannot be near a certain distance from the buildings then use the erase tool.

Here is the latest documentation on the erase tool: https://pro.arcgis.com/en/pro-app/2.9/tool-reference/analysis/erase.htm

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