I am working with a bicycle and pedestrian facility file geodatabase in ArcMap. I noticed a some of the records in the shapefiles/feature classes have a shape length of zero in the shape length field in the attribute tables. These records have attributes but no geometry that appears when I try to "zoom to selected feature." This makes since because the shape length is zero.

Does anyone have an idea of how these records might've come about? How can you have records in an attribute table with no corresponding geometry? I want to say in the past i've been in an editing session adding new features and seen ArcMap created blank features that have no corresponding geometry when I attempt to "zoom to selected feature."


This is normal and has been around since at least ArcView 3.1. It is easiest to consider geometry as just another attribute. ArcGIS has to create a empty record before it can start to fill it with any kind of information including the geometry. As a result if there are edits that do not completely go thorough you can have what looks like empty records. In my office I see this most often when someone gets overzealous (or lazy) and places a number of features on the map and then goes back to fill in the common attributes at once and ends up adding more records in the attribute table than there were features added to the map.

You can check the length or area fields to find these and delete them. Another option, but more time and processor intensive is to select all features on the map and inverse the selection set. This will give you only the features that have no geometry in your area of interest, either no geometry or way out of place such as at (0,0). Once you have your final selection set just delete them.

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