Combining Polygon Shapefile issues

Discussion created by clclary on Aug 14, 2012
Latest reply on Aug 14, 2012 by clclary
I am trying to spatially combine 47 polygon shapefiles that contain county parcel data in ArcMap 10. The most obvious choice to me is to merge the shapefiles and I have had some success merging some of them together. The problem lies in the fact that I continuously get errors, especially with the Zip Code field.

I am only interested in merging 7 of the sometimes 50 fields in each shapefile attribute table. Often, I had to create new fields and field calculate over the data in order to have common named fields among the 47 shapefiles. The seven fields contain PIN, acreage, owner name, owner address, owner city, owner state, and owner zip code data.

Most of the time I get errors, they are attributed to the zip code field or long address fields. I was able to fix some of the errors (i.e. creating a VBScript to remove the dash and +4 from some zip codes and addressing any blank fields). Additionally, moving the merging files into the same folder has also alleviated some of the previous problems I experienced. I solved some of the long address issues by making sure all of the created fields allowed 254 characters (I mistakenly started out creating the address fields with only the 50 character limit selected). All of the fields are text except Acres (Double).

At this point in time, I am just overly frustrated with the process and wonder if there is a better or easier way to achieve my intended result. I have tried performing a union and a spatial join (not even sure if it would have achieved what I wanted) and have received errors with them as well.

Questions I do not know the answer to:

Will removing the unnecessary fields from all of the 47 attribute tables help? I have been removing them in the Field Map section of the Merge tool in order to save the effort of having to manually remove them from each attribute table.

Are blank fields to blame? The errors typically stall on fields that have names to them though.

Why can I not merge several of the shapefiles at once? I understand that some of them have over 300,000 rows and I am trying to merge a considerable amount of information but my computer is only a few months old and should be able to handle pretty much any geoprocess in Arc (especially when I turn off background processing).

Thank you for any assistance anyone can provide. I have searched up and down and left and right for a possible solution