Skip To Content

Create Cartographic Partitions


Creates a mesh of polygon features that cover the input feature class where each polygon encloses no more than a specified number of input features, determined by the density and distribution of the input features.

The resulting partition feature class is ideally suited for the Cartographic Partitions geoprocessing environment setting. The Cartographic Partitions environment setting dictates to certain geoprocessing tools to load and process input features by partition. These tools operate contextually, meaning that multiple features, possibly from multiple themes, must be loaded simultaneously. Memory limitations are encountered with large datasets. Partitioning allows large datasets to be processed by these tools in portions sequentially.


Partition polygon features created for world road features
Partition polygon features created for world road features



CreateCartographicPartitions(in_features, out_features, feature_count)
ParameterExplanationData Type

The input feature classes or layers whose feature distribution and density dictate the size and arrangement of output polygons. The input features are typically destined for subsequent processing with other geoprocessing tools. Typically, the input features, when considered simultaneously, would exceed memory limitations of other tools, so partitions are created to subdivide inputs for processing.

Feature Layer

The output polygon feature class of partitions, each of which encloses a manageable number of input features not exceeding the number specified by the feature_count parameter.

Feature Class

The ideal number of features to be enclosed by each polygon in the output feature class. The recommended count is 50,000 features, which is the default value. The feature count cannot be lower than 500.


Code sample

CreateCartographicPartitions tool example (Python window)

The following Python window script demonstrates how to use the CreateCartographicPartitions tool in immediate mode.

import arcpy
arcpy.env.workspace = "C:/data/cartography.gdb/transportation"
arcpy.CreateCartographicPartitions_cartography("roads.lyr", "partitions", "50000")

Licensing information

  • Basic: No
  • Standard: No
  • Advanced: Yes

Related topics