Running analyses on overlapping polygons within a shapefile

10-07-2013 10:07 AM
New Contributor II
I have a polygon file that displays various herd territories across the state. As you might guess, there is overlap between herds. Since there is different attribute data between herds, merging the overlapping data is out of the question. So right now my shapefile has overlapping polygons. Will running various analyses on this data create problems for us, and if so, does anyone have some ideas as to how to organize the data so as to avoid this problem?

Using ArcGIS 10.1 Advanced

Thanks in advance.
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1 Reply
MVP Regular Contributor
"Will running various analyses on this data create problems for us"

This all depends on the analyses you wish to run. For example, if you are interested in the area of a herd territory, overlapping polygons are not a problem. If you wish to add all those territory areas together to determine the area necessary to accommodate all herds, you will get an artificially inflated number, because herds can share overlapping territory. You could potentially Union the polygons, and make a distinction between shared and sole use areas within a single herd territory. Again, this all depends on the type of analysis being performed.
Best Regards,
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