ArcWatch: Your e-Magazine for GIS News, Views, and Insights

January 2007

Buffer Contiguous Polygons

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After adding the Buffer Wizard button to the ArcMap interface, choose click on it. In the first pane, select "Features of a Layer" and the layer containing the objects to buffer.

Contiguous polygons can be buffed as one unit for display or analysis purposes using the ArcMap Buffer wizard. The buffer is created as a separate shapefile that is added to the map document. The Buffer wizard is not part of the default ArcMap interface but can easily be added to the interface.

  1. Start ArcMap in ArcGIS Desktop (ArcInfo, ArcEditor, or ArcView) and open the desired map document.
  2. Customize the interface by choosing Tools > Customize. In the left pane of the Customize dialog box, scroll down and select Tools. In the right pane, choose Buffer Wizard and drag it to the toolbar.
  3. In the map document, use the Selection tool to select the polygons to buffer. Hold down the Shift key to select multiple polygons.
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    In the second wizard pane, choose multiple rings and set number of rings to 1 and the units ones that are appropriate for coordinate system used.
  5. Click the Buffer wizard button. In the first pane of the Buffer wizard, choose "Features of a Layer" and choose the layer containing the selected polygons. Click Next.
  6. In the second wizard pane, select "As multiple buffer rings," then set the number of rings to 1 and the distance between rings to the desired width for the buffer. Set Buffer Distance Units to one appropriate for the coordinate system used in the map document. Click Next.
  7. In the third wizard pane, select "Yes" for "Dissolve barriers between and create buffer only outside the polygon." Set the path and select a name for the output layer. Click Finish. The buffer is added to the map document. If desired, it can be symbolized with a more noticeable color than the default brown.

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