Do I have to put all layers in same folder, and if so, how?

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08-23-2017 06:59 AM
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New Contributor

I want to use the rotate tool in the edit menu of ArcMap Desktop 10.4 to rotate around 100 features on about 8 layers, around a certain anchor, by the same angle. When I start editing, I am prompted to choose which layer to work on, I believe this is because my layers are stored in a few different folders. I suspect this is why I can't get rotate to work, because the features are stored in different folders. Am I right?

If so, what is the best way to get all the layers in the same folder?

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Esri Esteemed Contributor

Shapefiles for which "name given to the projection isn't always exactly the same" are likely to cause all manner of pain. If you're sure that the projections are identical, I suggest you make the .prj files identical.

Shapefile was the format of ArcView 2.x/3.x. I'd recommend copying data sources you're planning to edit in Desktop over into a file geodatabase created way higher than the current files in your home directory.  Make sure to set a sensible precision (0.05 ft/0.01 meter) to make your geometries as efficient as possible.

- V

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

what kind of features? features in a geodatabase? shapefiles?

Can't you reorganize your data so it is in one folder? You can move/copy your data into one folder, start a new project and load everything... this would make editing a lot easier if you have to do it a lot.  When you are done editing, move/copy it back if needed

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What I'm calling "features" are shapes such as points, lines, and polygons which, in ArcMap, are shown as being on a particular layer, and when I right-click the layer in the table of contents and bring up the properties, an example source property would be "C:\Users\card9\OneDrive\Documents\ArcGIS\Packages\Belgo783April2013B_2929292D-08C7-4AA1-AA20-79CCC6030D2B\commondata\shapefiles\DeedMonument.shp" The relevant shape files are spread among three different Windows directories. All the layers are in the Vermont 1983 state plane coordinate system, and the numerical parameters defining the projection are all identical, but the name given to the projection isn't always exactly the same.

Is reorganizing the data really as simple as moving the .dbf, .prj, .sbn, .sbx, .shp, .shp.xml, and .shx files from one directory to another, or is there more to it than that. Would the "create layer package" feature be a more efficient way to move layers around?

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Esri Esteemed Contributor

Unfortunately, "folder" has multiple potential meanings.

Are you referring to a feature dataset, which is symbolized as a folder in ArcGIS browser tools?  Note that this is a graphical representation of a specific set of relationships between data tables in a geodatabase, not a true container -- there are those that use FDS membership as a folder, but this can cause performance issues, and is not recommended.  The feature classes in a feature dataset are required to share a Spatial Reference, which makes it possible for them to participate in a topology. It's not possible for shapefiles to participate in a feature dataset.

- V

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New Contributor

It's confusing that ESRI and the community have so many similar names for so many related products. I'm using what is labeled "ArcMap" at the top of the Window, but if I click on "Help" then "About ArcMap" I am told it is "ArcGIS 10.4.1 for Desktop" and "License type: Advanced". The names and symbology for the layers appear in the Table of Contents. In the Catalog there is a folder icon with the name "Folder Connections" (and I have created some of these connections) and under that there are various subdirectories containing my data. If I expand the directories deeply enough I eventually come to the files with the extensions I mentioned in the previous post.

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Esri Esteemed Contributor

Shapefiles for which "name given to the projection isn't always exactly the same" are likely to cause all manner of pain. If you're sure that the projections are identical, I suggest you make the .prj files identical.

Shapefile was the format of ArcView 2.x/3.x. I'd recommend copying data sources you're planning to edit in Desktop over into a file geodatabase created way higher than the current files in your home directory.  Make sure to set a sensible precision (0.05 ft/0.01 meter) to make your geometries as efficient as possible.

- V

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New Contributor

I went through and made sure every .prj file was identical (except for the file name, of course). I created a new file godatabase and imported each shapefile (and associated files) as a feature class. I was able to edit all the shapes at once. In the editor, I selected everything, moved the anchor to the appropriate spot, and rotated by the appropriate number of degrees. Now my data should agree with the azimuth on the ground that I established with a total station and observations of Polaris and Venus. Thanks.

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New Contributor II

If I understand your question correctly, you are trying to rotate multiple layers at the same time and that when you try to edit them, you have to choose which layer to work on. You were thinking that this is because they were in different folders. Actually, that is not the case. The reason that you have to select which layer to work is because they are in different files. Each layer is a different .shp file, or feature in a geodatabase. So by moving them to the same folder in Windows will not allow you to edit them all at once. The only way I know how to do it is to either determine what the rotation angle is and rotate each one individually with that angle, or you can put them into the same shp file (if they are the same type of feature ex. all polylines, or polygons, or points) or feature set in a geodatabase and then edit that one or two files.