Merging Feature Types
This feature is useful if you have files that contain numerous layers (such as DXF files), you have similar source schemas, and you want to merge all the similar feature types for further processing, based on a matching pattern.
For folder-based formats, you can also use merge a folder of files. For example, if you had a folder full of Shapefiles like PIPE3.SHP, PIPE5.SHP, PIPE2293.SHP, you could merge them all together.
Note: You cannot use this feature with databases (except for file-based databases, such as MDB).
Deciding Whether to Import or Merge Feature Types
The two methods of handling multiple feature types have their own advantages and disadvantages.
The Import Feature Type tool has the advantage of keeping each feature type separate within the workspace. It therefore provides individual control over features types and how they are processed. The disadvantage to this method is that all feature types must be known and defined before the translation takes place.
Although it is not a hard and fast rule, generally the Import Feature Types method is used on file-based datasets such as MicroStation DGN or AutoCAD DXF formats.
The Merge Feature Type tool does not need to be aware of all of the feature types beforehand. By setting the filter to ‘*” all feature types in the source data will be processed, whether or not they were known about. The disadvantage, however, is that routing all data through a single feature type in the workspace causes a loss of individual control over how each feature type is processed.
Again it is not a fixed rule, but Merge Feature Type is generally used on folder-based datasets such as Esri Shapefile to ensure all feature types in a dataset are processed.
- Open the Feature Type dialog on an input feature type.
- On the Parameters tab, under General, check Merge Feature Type.
- Specify a Merge Filter and a Filter Type. The Filter Type applies the Merge Filter as an Exact Match, an exact match from a Regular Expression, or a Wildcard expression.
- Click OK to apply the properties to the feature
type from which you initiated the Properties dialog.
Click Apply to All to apply these properties to all input feature types (for example, if you add a bunch of attributes to one feature type, and you want other feature types to look the same).
When you run the translation, this pattern will be used to match against any incoming input feature types Matching input feature types will have their feature type "changed" to whatever the "known" feature type is.
Note: If a feature type matches more than one pattern, it will merge according to the first match.
For example, if you have a "PIPE145" feature type in your workspace as an input feature type, and you know there are many other feature types that have some sort of PIPE designation, open the Feature Type dialog, check the Merge Feature Type checkbox, and enter a pattern that any incoming feature type would have to match in order to be considered the same as PIPE145. So, you could enter:
as shown in the example above. You can also uncheck the Case-sensitive filter so that even if an incoming feature type is "pipe" or "Pipe", it will be matched.