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How do I merge overlapping shapfiles to get a single attribute area?

Question asked by mctraverso on May 22, 2017
Latest reply on May 22, 2017 by jayanta.poddar

Hi I have a question regarding merging shapefiles together.


I have shapefiles that contain burn areas from April-December of a given year. I want these shapefiles to be merged into one shapefile but I want overlapping areas to become one bigger polygon with one area. Their different attributes of individual burn areas and the Julian day of that burn I am not as concerned with as I am with just the overall area when they are merged together.


I think from reading up on the Merge Tool, it may only work for non-overlapping polygons. I understand that the Dissolve Tool will do what I want but it looks like it is not available for ArcGIS desktop. I haven't used Python before. Can the dissolve tool only be used with Python? Am I correct that the Merge tool will not give me what I want? Is there any other tool on the desktop version that will work?