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How do I convert polygons (graphics) to a layer/shapefile?

September 19 2007 | 0 comments

I've created some polygons (graphics)in ArcGIS that I want to convert to a shape file. How do I convert these to a layer/shapefile?

Mapping Center Answer:

There is no way to do this using ArcMap. A few folks created ArcObjects samples for this task, though these are now years out of date (2001 created for version 8.1), so I don’t recommend trying them.

I did, since you indicated that you were only using polygons, make a few polygon graphics, selected them and right-clicked on the selection and chose Copy. I opened up Adobe Illustrator and pasted them, and was able to select the graphics and then remove the clipping mask. Then I saved them as an AutoCAD .DWG file which I could then read in ArcMap.

One major caveat, the coordinates must match up to something. If I were telling you how to do this as if this workflow were some kind of best practice, I would say set your data frame’s coordinate system before you draw the graphics, because, you’ll have to set your CAD file’s coordinate system to the same one your data frame was using. Set the .DWG file’s coordinate system in ArcCatalog by opening it’s properties and on the General tab click the Edit button and then the Select button to choose the coordinate system.

Anyway, you can convert the polygons in the CAD file to a shapefile and a little worse for the wear you’re on your way. If you don’t have Adobe Illustrator, try any other vector graphics editing software that will paste the ArcMap graphics.

If you don’t have any alternative, you’ll just have to create a new polygon shapefile in ArcCatalog and add it ArcMap, and recreate your polygons as features using the Editor.

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