OK. well this is silly, in that there is no way it should be as difficult as it has been for me to find information regarding how to generate a polygon tile index from multiple vector (contour) tiles. With web publishing, tilecaches, etc. all the search results are not what im looking for.
I have a folder full of about 50 contour shapefiles tiles that combined cover a US county. However there was no index distributed with the contour file collection, so I need to create one based on the bounding boxes, convex hulls, or some other function for each contour tile, and merge those together in a meaningful layer to be used to locate tiles necessary for a particular area...
I'm failing to see a tool to do this in either QGIS or ESRI? I must be missing something so if someone could point me in the right direction, that would be great.