I'm using ARC View v10 and have a requirement to buffer 1500+ building polygons by 2m. When buffered an overlap is created as shown highlighted in green in the image below.

Where as I would normally use a dissolve or merge to leave only the outline, I need to preserve the identity of each individual polygon after removal of the highlighted areas.

Can anyone out there demonstrate how this could be achieved?

Polygon Overlap

  • Do you want to buffer only the outside to preserve the original inside polygon boundaries?
    – Aaron
    Jan 10, 2014 at 16:33
  • Thanks Aaron. I need to buffer the original polygons, remove the overlap and maintain the data against the original polygons.
    – Huwey
    Jan 10, 2014 at 20:48

3 Answers 3


To preserve the outside of your buffers but collapse just the overlapped portion to the median line between the overlaps, you could try using the Integrate tool. I have had some success using this tool for this sort of operation. Both your inputs to the tool are the same file (i.e. you are integrating your buffer feature class with itself).


To get the overlapping polygons i will suggest to use intersect.

Just for info, if you use intersect with only one layer, output will be all overlapping areas of this layer. If there is no overlaps then output will be an empty layer.

  • I managed to find all overlapped polygons using intersect. Could you please let me know what is the best way to fix all these overlaps at once? Thanks
    – shiny
    Sep 11, 2015 at 5:22

The alternative solution would be to work with rasters. You can use the Euclidian allocation with a maximum distance of two meters and convert the result back to polygons. The problem with this method is that you will need very small pixel size (10 to 50 cm) for smooth results, so the size of your raster come become very large if you have a large extent.

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