Three Methods for Clipping a Network Dataset in ArcGIS Desktop

Imagine this: you’ve been assigned a project where you must find the drive times (at 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and 30 minutes) for 100 different customers and the best routes to deliver supplies to all customers. On top of that, you’ll need to do it for many different datasets. The result of each analysis, along with the underlying data used to produce those results, must be sent to the client.

ArcGIS Network Analyst is the best option, but you’ll need your own network dataset. So, you reach out to a colleague or friend. They’d be happy to give you a network dataset, but it contains data for a much larger area than needed. While it may work for your analyses, you can’t send the client the whole dataset.

A network dataset containing turn features, sign features, and/or traffic data can be difficult to clip. Using a regular Clip operation on the streets can break connectivity between the streets, as well as break the link between the network edges and the turns, signs, and traffic data.

So, the question is how can you clip the network dataset to a manageable size and keep all the connectivity between the streets, turns, signs, and even the traffic data?

There are a few ways to accomplish this, as outlined in this post.

Using Extracted Data from the Distributed Geodatabase Toolbar in ArcMap:

  1. From the Distributed Geodatabase toolbar, select Extract Data. 
  2. In the Extract Data Wizard, check the box to ‘Show advanced options for overriding data extraction defaults when I click Next’.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Choose the extent of the data to extract to a new geodatabase (when using an extent smaller than the full extent of the network dataset, the network dataset will be clipped to that extent during the extraction).
  5. Choose the feature classes to extract. By default, all feature classes in the map are checked, and the network dataset is one of those layers.
  6. Click Next > Finish.

Using the Consolidate Layer Geoprocessing Tool in ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro:

  1. In the Data Management toolbox, select Package toolset > Consolidate Layer.
  2. Choose the input layers and the output folder. Choosing the network dataset layer (for example, Streets_ND) brings all source layers with it.
  3. Choose the output format.
  4. Choose the extent of the data to extract to a new geodatabase (when using an extent smaller than the full extent of the network dataset, the network dataset will be clipped to that extent during the extraction).

Create Mobile Map Packaging Tool in ArcGIS Pro:

Note: This is the best option if you plan to use routing in Navigator for ArcGIS.

  1. Choose the input map(s) and the output location.
  2. Optional: Choose an input locator. If you want to use data in Navigator for ArcGIS, you must use an input locator other than the World Geocoding Service or the default XY locator.
  3. Choose the appropriate extent (when using an extent smaller than the full extent of the network dataset, the network dataset will be clipped to that extent during the extraction).
  4. Check the box to Clip Features.

With all methods above, your data will still allow routing and other network analysis, but will now be a much more manageable size for sharing with others.


Rachel A. – Desktop Support Analyst

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