I have a feature class with approximately 1000 polygons. I need to merge these polygons together to create approx. 200 polygons. I need to merge them together by a unique attribute and I would also like to use a spatial tolerance as to only merge features that are within close proximity of each other.
I know that this can be done manually through the editor tool. I prefer not to do this manually. I also know that the regular merge command will work when combining two or more feature classes. However, I only have one feature class.
Is my only option Model Builder? Do you have any hints on how I would get my end result using model builder? Thank you for all your help!
If I understand you correctly, you want to combine polygons that are within a specified distance into larger polygons ONLY IF they share a common field value. You can try the Select Layer By Attribute followed by the Aggregate Polygons tool (ArcInfo license; Cartography toolbox - Generalization toolset).
If you have many unique field values for selecting features, you can build a model using the Iterate Feature Selection iterator (inside ModelBuilder - Insert - Iterators ...); specify the field you want to iterate as Group By Field (making a selection per iteration). Then use the Aggregate Polygons tool to combine/merge the selected polygons within the desired distance.