I have a huge dataset that I am capturing that was full of errors previously and I want to make sure that the new version is error free - which can be very time consuming with only a Basic/ArcView standard license.

Therefore, I was wondering if anybody knew of any free/low cost (<£200/$350) alternatives that can be used to build topology without having to shell out for Standard/ArcEditor?

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    What sorts of errors do you need to find? While ArcView is unable to build database topologies, it can build MapTopologies. Programs can be written that inspect the maptopology for errors via IMapTopology.Cache. Jul 30, 2010 at 14:37
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    Here's a script that works in ArcView that finds polylines separating two polygons that have the same attribute: arcscripts.esri.com/details.asp?dbid=12863 Jul 30, 2010 at 17:24

8 Answers 8


Have a butchers at ET GEoWizards topology tools. I remember using these a couple of years back and they did some basic topology tasks for me without problem.


If you are a java developper (and have time!), the geoxygene library can do that. It can be used on big datasets stored in postGIS.


You can also use GRASS-GIS where topological editing is fully supported.

The modules you will probably use are:

  • v.type
  • v.build
  • v.edit
  • v.clean
  • v.to.db

The GRASS Manual here.


Try using map topology which is also available at the Basic/ArcView license level.

It's much simplified relative to the geodatabase kind, many fewer rules you can implement, and topology gets handled within your edit session and can't be saved.

But it works.


I agree with Simon. Take a look at ET GeoWizards. I use it, and the intersect and union tools in ArcMap all the time to correct map topology problems. While you're on the site, check out the Clean Polygon datasets - the overlay approach page. It has some good advice on how to go about using the tools. Full license is priced at $245 US.


There is the open source Java Topology Suite. It's been around for a number of years and is used in some significant projects (Batik, GeoServer, GeoTools, gvSIG, OpenJUMP, uDig). Not sure how well it handles huge datasets.


Mark I was wondering what type of Topology you were after

  • Coincidence
  • Connectivity
  • Adjacency
  • Containment

Depending on what you are after there are options. If you are just after Coincidence then map topology can be your answer for the editing environment. If you are after some of the others then the OpenSource environment can assist. GRASS is a good option, Oracle have Topological Functions if you use the SDO datatype, as to some of the other Spatial databases. But in my opinion the easiest solution is ArcEditor as you seem to already know the interface. There is also an Extension call GIS Data Reviewer which can be used for Topological verification of features but it is also a paid environment. It is meant to be used for QA/QC in conjunction with core Topology but it does offer some features for things like Checks on Shapefile

--for full disclosure I am an ESRI Distributor Employee but don't let that put you off


We have some products for checking line-topology, starting at 1500 €. They mostly point out where possible issues are and then it is up to you to correct them. Can be used from inside ArcGIS, standalone or as a SDK depending upon what you prefer. Checkout RouteWare

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    the starting price is clearly far above the max budget noted in the question, therefore not a relevant answer. Jul 30, 2010 at 16:56

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