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Add Clipping to Feature Layer Drawing (Opposite of Masking)

03-11-2022 06:55 AM
Status: Open
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New Contributor III

The introduction of the "Masking" option under Feature Layer > Drawing has been a major improvement for creating custom cartography. It however, falls short by not having the ability to accomplish the inverse at a layer level. There needs to be a "Clipping" layer option that functions exactly the same as Masking with the opposite results.



The "Clip Layer" option (still hidden) under Map Properties is very limited and doesn't give you the same flexibility needed. With it, you can only define 1 outline to use for the entire map which doesn't provide the same layer by layer customization found using the masking option. The purposed functionality would allow for the on-the-fly combination of multiple boundaries to form unique clipping areas. Plus, it would enable the application of different clipping boundaries to different layers in the same map. One could even apply both masking and clipping to a single layer to highlight certain areas without any extra geoprocessing. The options are endless from a symbology and labeling perspective if you have this flexibility.

There clearly are many workarounds to accomplish this, many of which require creating new features or manipulating your current data. But splitting features, adding additional attributes, creating snapshot copies of dynamic data, or manipulating data in general for cartographic reasons is not always the best approach from a data management perspective. Regardless, none of these approaches compare to the simplicity of clicking a check box that has no impact on the underlying data.

I would like to see a toggle for "Advanced Drawing Options" masking that lets you mask inside OR outside of a polygon. Only being able to mask inside a polygon is often of no use or requires the implementation of smoke and mirror strategies.
I have created 'outside' masks for years with a large polygon and then erasing with the polygon of interest.
The ability to mask on the fly would save time.  It also would be good to have the ability to adjust percentage transparency for the outside mask.
.....or the clip to shape option could also be fixed to not mask annotation of unclipped layers...

This would be very ideal. I have a set of about 40 rasters that extend slightly beyond a set of lakes (polygon features). I would like to mask each raster using these lake polygon features. I want to show the rasters inside of the particular features but not outside of those features. 


I wonder why this isn't possible yet. It's just logical, my mask should hide the outside not the inside !


I have to agree with Joabel here. For me the expected behavior is that mask affects the outside of my area of interest!


Would be fantastic to be able to display a raster that only lies within the bounds of an existing polygon. Much like a clipping mask works in Adobe Illustrator etc.

A simple toggle for inside/outside would be best.

by Anonymous User

please add the ability to choose to mask inside or outside of poygons! I would like to display trees inside of a number of parks without having to clip the parks out of a larger mask layer (it's unnecessary to store this feature layer for any other purpose). At first, I thought I would mask using our parcel layer (query out the parks) BUT some trees are located in right of ways which are not included in our parcel fabric so those still appear in my map. 

Isn't this the same concept as select by location? In the meantime, I'm using the select by location tool to only select trees that fall within my parks of interest, then right click on the feature class and use the make layer from selected features option to create a subset of the data. The thing I don't like about this is that it won't be clear to anyone else who opens my map document that the layer was created this way.


I can't believe this has sat here since 2011 without an update from ESRI on their intentions to either implement, consider or even ignore this request. We would value this change to the way the program works and can show our main use case below. 

We produce maps in the remote West Australian areas that show land systems as the background, but only within the operation boundary. To achieve this at present, we need to ensure that the Operation  Boundary Layer has complete coverage over an area, and then instead of just querying the area we want displayed (the red boundary on the map), we have to have a second layer with the inverse definition query (everything not of interest) that is invisible in the symbology/100% transparent but then masks the land systems around the operational area. 


My view of a solution - the option to select Masking either In (inside) or Out (outside) of a polygon layer:




I like your proposed solution @LindsayRaabe_FPCWA!

It would be incredibly useful to be able to set layers to only draw inside of a polygon.

You can always clip to shape and exclude layers, but that means you have to micromanage it, when instead you could just manage it on an as-needed basis for each layer you want.