I have two multi-polygon layers, one a map of land uses, the other borders of administrative areas.

I am interested in analyzing the amount of land use in each administrative area, but the polygons in the map cross the boundaries, therefore it need to split these polygons into parts along the administrative boundaries.

I know I can use the Split Tool but that makes each administrative area a separate layer. Is there a way of splitting up the polygons in the map layer but leaving the whole map as a single layer?

3 Answers 3


If you have an ArcGIS Advanced (ArcInfo) license available the Identity (Analysis) tool would be the way to go for this situation.


I think you need to clip out your land use layer by your admin. layer. You can then run your area analysis on your land use layer per admin feature.

Clip (Analysis)

  • Clip in this instance will only keep land use attributes whereas polygon overlay tools like Identity, Union and Intersect offer the option of keeping attributes from both inputs in the co-planarized polygons that result.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Nov 17, 2013 at 1:31

Yes - you need to use polygon overlay.

Assuming that you are restricted to a Basic (ArcView) level license of ArcGIS for Desktop I recommend the Union or Intersect tool - which depends on how many polygons you want to keep.

  • Beacause of output of Union(All features and their attributes will be written to the output feature class. ), Intersect is better than Union.
    – BBG_GIS
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 14:59

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