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Contour polygons are created to find the area of elevation values between two elevation contours, or to assist in visualizing a map containing contour data. Representing a mapped area in color-coded polygons makes visualization and analysis more apparent.
The article How To: Create polygons from contour polylines describes the tools used in ArcMap to create polygons from contour data. As an alternative, the Filled Contours tool in the Spatial Analyst Supplemental Tools toolbox add-in enables the creation of contour polygons directly from Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data. The Spatial Analyst Supplemental Tools toolbox can be downloaded and installed at ArcGIS Desktop 10.2 and later versions.
The image below represents a DEM image of high elevation mountain ranges to the west (left) and low-lying areas to the east (right). In this article, contour polygons are created to visualize the whole area in 100-meter contour intervals.
Note: The Filled Contours tool from the toolbox used in this workflow requires the use of an ArcGIS Desktop Advanced license.
The following instructions describe how to create contour polygons from a DEM using the Filled Contours tool in the Spatial Analyst Supplemental Tools toolbox.
The output image below shows the contour polygons generated with a classification based on 100-meter contour intervals.