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Invalid Geometry

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The Invalid Geometry check finds features that contain invalid geometry. This includes features that contain null or empty geometries, empty envelopes, and may optionally include geometries that are not simple.


The creation of an invalid geometry is caused by a variety of processes, including loading and clipping data, especially when using shapefiles generated by third-party applications. Geometry that is considered invalid meets one of the following conditions:

  • Empty—This condition occurs when the geometry of a feature has zero points and does not contain geometric information, represented by SHAPE_LEN and SHAPE_AREA fields, beyond its original initialization state. Empty geometries can be introduced when data is created or edited programmatically and when bad data is imported into your geographic information system.
    • A point or multipoint geometry type contains a point or multiple points as its geometry information, respectively.
    • A line or polyline geometry type contains a line segment or multiple line segments as its geometry information and is represented by points.
    • A polygon geometry type contains rings, formed by line segments, as its geometry information and is represented by points.
  • Has an empty envelope—This condition occurs when a feature's envelope, or bounding rectangle, does not have any geometric information. This condition is similar to the empty geometry scenario.
  • Nothing—This condition occurs when a feature has a NULL value in the SHAPE field. This type of error is returned when the check is unable to retrieve geometry information for a feature.
  • Not Simple—This condition occurs when any of the following conditions are true:
    • Ring orientation is incorrect (applicable only to polygon features)—A polygon that does not self-intersect, but its rings are not oriented correctly—outer rings, clockwise or inner rings, counterclockwise.
    • Segment orientation is incorrect—Individual segments are not consistently oriented. The to point of segment i should be coincident on the from point of segment i+1.
    • Contains short segments—Some segments are shorter than allowed by the system units of the spatial reference associated with the geometry.
    • Contains self-intersecting rings (applicable only to polygon features)—A polygon must not intersect itself.
    • Contains self-intersecting paths (applicable only to polyline features)—A polyline must not intersect itself.
    • Contains unclosed rings (applicable only to polygon features)—The last vertex in a ring must be coincident with the first vertex in the ring.
    • Contains mismatched attributes—The z- or m-coordinate of a line segment's endpoint does not match the z- or m-coordinate of the coincident endpoint on the next segment.
    • Contains discontinuous parts—One of the geometry's parts is composed of disconnected or discontinuous parts.
    • Empty z-values (applicable to z-enabled features)—The geometry has one or more vertices with an empty z-value (NaN for example).



Input Layers


The input feature layers evaluated by the rule.

Valid inputs for this rule type are point, polyline, and polygon feature layers. Click the Forward button Forward to apply filtering to specific features in the feature layer.

Reviewer rules



A unique title or name for the rule.

This information is used to support data quality requirement traceability, automated reporting, and corrective workflows.

Reviewer rules



Descriptive text of the error condition when noncompliant features are found.

This information is used to provide guidance to facilitate corrective workflows.

Reviewer rules



Severity of the error created when noncompliant features are found.

This value indicates the importance of the error relative to other errors. Values range from 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest priority and 5 being the lowest.

Reviewer rules



Tag property of the rule.

This information is used in rule authoring and management workflows to support traceability and reporting of data quality requirements.

Reviewer rules


  • Error results created for features that contain an invalid geometry may not be usable in a map due to the nature of the geometry error. For more information about correcting features with invalid geometry, see Repair Geometry and Replace feature geometry.
  • Any features that contain empty geometries or no geometries are automatically detected as errors regardless of whether they are selected or within the current map extent.
  • When configuring filter parameters, care should be taken when using database-specific SQL functions that differ from those supported in your production environment. For more information, see SQL reference for query expressions used in ArcGIS.

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