Working with the parcel fabric traverse tool

This topic applies to ArcEditor and ArcInfo only.

The parcel traverse is the primary method for entering parcel data in the parcel fabric. For a single parcel on a survey plan or record of survey, dimensions for each parcel boundary are entered in sequence such that a closed polygon is formed.

The parcel traverse environment in the parcel editor facilitates the data entry of parcels using information from plans and records of survey. Recorded dimensions are entered directly from the plan as well as other parcel information, such as the PIN, stated area, and parcel accuracy.

Parcels can be entered either outside the parcel fabric in their own local coordinate system or in the projected map. The Parcel Editor Options dialog box lets you select whether or not to enter parcels in a local coordinate system. To open the Parcel Editor Options dialog box, click the Parcel Editor menu on the Parcel Editor toolbar and click Options.

Parcel Editor Options dialog box
Parcel Editor Options dialog box

When entering a parcel traverse in a local coordinate system, no set of coordinates or knowledge of a spatial reference is needed. All that is required are the parcel dimensions, which are on the plat or record of survey.

Parcel traverse in a local coordinate system
Parcel traverse in a local coordinate system

Once the parcel traverse is complete, the new parcel can either be saved as unjoined or immediately joined to the parcel fabric. An unjoined parcel resides in local coordinate space outside the parcel fabric layer. When joining a new parcel, parcel corner points are matched with the corresponding points in the parcel fabric.

When entering a parcel traverse in the projected map, you can start entering the parcel anywhere within the map extent or you can snap to existing fabric points. You would snap to existing fabric points for reference purposes when entering a parcel traverse.

Parcel traverse in the projected map
Parcel traverse in the projected map


If snapping to existing points in the fabric layer when traversing a parcel, the parcel still needs to be joined to the fabric, where new parcel points are matched with corresponding points in the fabric.

An incomplete parcel traverse can be saved as unjoined at any time by clicking the Keep changes to parcel data command Job Save on the Parcel Details window. After completing a parcel traverse, you can choose to save the traverse and immediately join the parcel the fabric by clicking the Keep changes to parcel data and Join command Save And Join on the Parcel Details window .

Parcel traverse units

The parcel traverse environment supports most of the common units used for representing recorded information on a plat or record of survey. Units are set on the Plan Properties dialog box, and each plan can have a different set of units.

The following direction, angle, distance, and area units are supported:

Direction or angle type

  • Quadrant Bearing
  • North Azimuth
  • South Azimuth
  • Polar
  • Internal Angle

When entering bearings using the Quadrant Bearing format, you can use numbers to specify the quadrant instead of having to type the required letters. This allows you to work solely with the numeric keypad and speeds up the data entry process. The following numbers represent the quadrants in the Quadrant Bearing format:

  • 1 = NE
  • 2 = SE
  • 3 = SW
  • 4 = NW

For example, N 45-59-59 E can be entered as 45-59-59-1.

Direction and angle units

  • Degrees Minutes Seconds
  • Decimal Degrees
  • Radians
  • Gradians
  • Gons

Distance and length units

  • Meters
  • U.S. Survey Feet
  • International Feet
  • Chains
  • Links
  • U.S. Survey Chains
  • U.S. Survey Links

Area units

  • Square Meters
  • Acres
  • Hectares
  • Square Rods
  • Roods
  • Perches
  • Square U.S. Feet
  • Square Feet
  • Quarter Sections
  • Sections
  • Square Meters, Hectares, or Kilometers
  • Acres, Roods, or Perches

Circular curve parameters

  • Radius and Chord Length
  • Radius and Arc Length
  • Radius and Central Angle

Circular curve direction

  • Chord
  • Tangent
  • Radial

Overriding curve parameters

Sometimes, curves on a plat or plan do not conform to a single set of curve parameters. There may be cases where you will need to enter a curve using different curve parameters from the parameters you specified for the plan. Instead of having to change the curve parameters, you can override the current, set curve parameters in the traverse line entry grid. The following letters can be used to override the current plan curve parameters:

  • Chord length—c (or C)
  • Arc length—a (or A)
  • Delta (central angle)—d (or D)
  • Tangent bearing—tb
  • Chord bearing—cb
  • Radial bearing—rb

For example, to enter a chord bearing when a tangent bearing has been set for the curve, you will enter 54-24-32-1cb or 54-24-32-1-cb (Quadrant Bearing format).

Line categories and feature templates

When entering lines in the parcel traverse grid, you can specify both a line category and a feature template.

Line feature templates and categories in the traverse grid

Line categories are system defined and are used to represent parcel structure. For example, if a series of boundary lines form a closed loop, a parcel is created. A closed loop of connection lines does not create a parcel. Remaining line categories, such as connection lines and dependent lines, connect to the parcel.

The following line categories are available in the parcel traverse grid:

Feature templates

In ArcGIS, feature templates are used to create new features. Feature templates help automate the creation of new features in that attributes are automatically populated when templates are specified. In the fabric, you can use feature templates on parcel lines and polygons. For example, you can define a Subdivision line template that automatically sets the line category to Boundary and Accuracy to 3.

The curve calculator

When entering a curve for a traverse line, there may not be enough curve parameters stated on the plan or survey document to complete the curve. You can use the Curve Calculator dialog box to determine the complete set of parameters of a curve from two known parameters.

Curve Calculator
Curve Calculator

The Curve Calculator command Curve Calculator is found on the COGO toolbar.

Learn more about the Curve Calculator command

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