I've been doing some digging and a few days of playing around with my data in ArcMap (Advanced level license) but I haven't been able to find a solution to merging datasets, which consist of many different point, line and polygon shapefiles.
The files are electronic navigation charts in a vector format (some examples of these are freely available: http://www.charts.noaa.gov/ENCs/ENCs.shtml). Each of these charts covers a different spatial extent or resolution and contains information relevant to mariners, fishermen etc. (e.g., depth, substrate type, buoys, lights, shipwrecks, obstructions, and so on). There is a standard for the display of these data called S-57 in which each feature is universally coded (e.g., obstructions are OBSTRN in each ENC file: http://www.s-57.com/). The coding of the attributes of each feature is also standardized. Therefore, each file you open in ArcMap will have identically named point, line and polygon layers for the features on the chart (although some charts may have features not found on other charts [e.g., some areas might not contain shipwrecks]). I am wanting to merge many of these ENC files, which cover portions of my region of interest, into a large regional layer. My hope is to use the respective shapefiles (and attributes) for this whole region rather than for the smaller areas the charts cover individually. The merge has to maintain all the respective point, line, and polygon shapefiles (e.g., depth, substrate type, buoys, lights, shipwrecks, obstructions) (i.e., it is basically a merge of all identically named shapefiles nested within each chart).
I know the merge can be done between two respective shapefiles from 2 different ENC chart datasets (after a name change of one of them), however, I have potentially 20-30 charts to merge and there are 20+ shapefiles in each chart file.
I attached a screenshot of the ENC file in ArcMap 10.0. Each chart file has these identical layers covering a different spatial extent I wish to merge.