I have river networks (polyline) of several adjacent countries as shapefiles that almost match up at the borders, but not quite.

Is there any way to automatically connect them to a consecutive river network and define a tolerance distance. I was thinking along the lines of ArcGIS's Integrate feature but it didn't do the trick. Open to suggestions in ArcGIS 10 sp5 (or 10.1) and Qgis. Exact preservation of the geometry is not necessary.

Update: Sometimes there are only small gaps between the networks, but mostly they overlap in very weird ways, so edgematch and extend line are not an option. The following picture should clarify my problem:

enter image description here


In ArcGIS you can use an edgematching process from the Spatial Adjustment toolbar:

The edgematching process aligns features along the edge of one layer to features of an adjoining layer. It is mainly used when you want to merge separate adjacent layers, such as soils or contours sheets, and you need to ensure the features from those layers will meet at the join.

You can drag a box around the features you want to match: enter image description here

  • Thanks for the tip. I didn't know about that tool and it will surely reduce my workload should I have to implement the process manually. Sadly it's no comprehensive solution to my problem (see updated problem description) – hoelk Mar 26 '13 at 10:39

OK, after you updated your question: the edgematching process is not the right tool.

You need a tool like the Integrate Tool (ArcGIS). But the Integrate Tool has one disadvantage: you can NOT fix a master layer (your red lines). In this question Polyline Global Snap Wizard is given as a solution (ET Geowizards) because the master layer will not change his geometry.

I've also used this approach:

  1. make serveal copies from red lines (= "master1", "master2", ...)
  2. integrate red and blue lines
  3. discard result of red lines from step 2
  4. integrate master1 with result of blue lines form step 2
  5. Repeat the steps (with master2, ...) until blue is adjusted to the original red line.
  • The ET Geowizard tool does exactly what I need; sadly it seems to slow for my whole dataset. The problem with integrate is less the displacement for me, but that it simplifies the geometry not only of the sections where both feature class overlap, but of the whole integrate feature class. – hoelk Mar 27 '13 at 8:09
  • Perhaps an other approach: buffer red lines. erase all blue lines in buffer. edgematch blue lines to red lines. – Jens Mar 27 '13 at 9:07

you can try Extend line tool with extend_to feature parameter, then use Dissolve tool with empty dissolveFields parameter, finally use Multipart To Singlepart tool.

  • 1
    I already tried extend line doesn't really help me because I got lots of cases where the river networks just overlap (see updated problem description). I should have been a bit more clear on that I guess. – hoelk Mar 26 '13 at 10:41

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