Spatially Join two polygons: Based on Maximum Area

01-23-2012 08:04 AM
Status: Implemented
Labels (1)
Occasional Contributor III

I have read numerous posts where we are looking for an easier way of joining two polygons based where the the majority of the one polygons area lies. ESRI needs to add more options in how spatial joins are made when joining vector layers. We are currently delineating crop fields and  and need to associate the crop fields to the appropriate parcel boundaries. Crop fields are more accurate than parcel boundaries and therefore the crop fields overlap the parcel boundaries. I clean and simple method that does not require you to export your data to excel is required to join polygons to another polygon based on where the majority of the polygon falls within.

by Esri Regular Contributor

This sounds like a polygon-to-polygon matching/conflation task; we are looking into some solutions in this area. Would you be able to share a sample data (two polygons sets - crops and parcels) with me for internal research and testing purpose only? If you can, please send the data via email to Thanks!


In the meantime, I think you can use the following steps to get what you need:

1.       Use Intersect tool to intersect the crops with parcels; so you get a 1:M result.

2.       Use Summary Statistics tool to get the MAX_shape_area of each crop_FID; the correspondent/intersected parcel_ORIG_FID would be the one to associate with that crop.


I'll email you a subset tomorrow. I came up with a similar work around, your solution seems shorter that the one that I cam up with. I'll test your work around and get back to you with the results and a sample dataset first thing tomorrow


This sounds very similar to a requirement that we are currently addressing using the Spatial Join - Largest Overlap tool, which is available for download from ArcGIS Online here.  It would be ideal if this "largest Overlap" match option could be included as part of the core Spatial Join tool. dflater-esristaff

Status changed to: Implemented

This is implemented in ArcGIS Pro 2.9.  See Ideas in ArcGIS Pro 2.9 or go directly to 4:40 in the video for a quick demo.