As the next step to what I did in this previous question, I would like to add a buffer to a polyline, with 5 meters on either side.

I tried adding buffer to two versions of the line, one in geographic WGS 1984, and the other in projected UTM 16N, but in either case I get the error "spatial reference does not match data frame".

Does ArcGIS have specific requirements as to whether I need to have the project/data frame in geographical vs. projected coordinate system? And how do I alleviate this problem? Thanks.

P.S. I am running ArcMap 10 in Windows.

  • Which version of ArcMap are you using? (The answer depends on the version, I believe.)
    – whuber
    Apr 18, 2011 at 22:36
  • @whuber : I am using ArcMap 10, as indicated in my question title. :)
    – hpy
    Apr 18, 2011 at 22:38
  • LOL! I hunted through the message and the tags but never looked twice at the title.
    – whuber
    Apr 18, 2011 at 22:40
  • 2
    I would insert a new dataframe, then add the projected data to it...this will set the coordinate system of the dataframe to that of the first added data set. Buffer that file. Are there still any problems?
    – user681
    Apr 18, 2011 at 22:45

2 Answers 2

  1. you can modify or use the comment previous to set the coordinate system of the dataframe.
  2. you can also use the environment settings in the buffer tool to set the output coordinate system.

This ArcGIS10 help article will give some more insight into the process.


Why don't you just do it in ArcCatalog instead? It will just work off the datum that's assigned to the shapefile if you do it in there (shouldn't be any such problems this way).

Also, if you put everything in to a well-organised geodatabase, all you'll have to do is assign a datum to that geodatabase and it will essentially manage your projections/datums for you. In case you're not familiar with geodatabase, ESRI has a cheap introductory course (only $32.00 US).

Getting Started with the Geodatabase (for ArcGIS 10)

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