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I would like to be able to create a convex hull in ArcGIS Desktop 9.x, but I cannot find an appropriate tool.

How does one go about creating one?

I am interested in answers for all license levels: ArcView, ArcEditor and ArcInfo.

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There is a convex hull option in the qgis 1.7.4 geoprocessing tools that appears to do exactly the same thing as the tool in Arcgis 10 with the convex hull and group options – user7905 May 31 '12 at 14:02
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I've used Hawth's Tools "Create Minimum Convex Polygons" under the Animal Movements menu. You can use a feature selection within ArcMap.

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Nice. This seems to be the most broadly applicable answer. Here's a link to a description of this tool: – Charles Roper Jul 22 '10 at 19:46
I found this only for point features. If you have polygon or line then it fails. – SIslam Dec 26 '14 at 6:28

At version 10, there is now a Minimum Bounding Geometry (Data Management) geoprocessing tool which:

Creates a feature class containing polygons which represent a specified minimum bounding geometry enclosing each input feature or each group of input features.


The Geometry Type (geometry_type) options CONVEX_HULL, CIRCLE, and ENVELOPE are only available with an ArcInfo license.

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Wow, the new Minimum Bounding Geometry tool looks excellent. Unfortunately, CONVEX_HULL, CIRCLE, and ENVELOPE are only available with an ArcInfo license. More info:… – Charles Roper Aug 4 '10 at 15:03
in version 10, see… which produces all regardless of license level – Dan Patterson Jan 24 '11 at 20:06
@DanPatterson Esri's recent site cleanup has broken your link - do you know the new URL? What was the name of the tool/script? – Stephen Lead Jan 18 '15 at 22:18
The site appears to be in a state of flux...I will have to check on migrations within Geonet since I know they are ongoing. I will update when I find out... – Dan Patterson Jan 18 '15 at 23:16

There is such a tool.

Open ArcToolbox > Cartography > Masking > Feature Outline Masks

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That's for ArcInfo only. I've updated the question slightly to better help ArcView and ArcEditor users. – Charles Roper Jul 22 '10 at 19:33
That is true. :P – George Jul 22 '10 at 19:45

This an old arcscript that worked well (ignore 0k filesize error on arcscripts it is 359kb) creates the convex hull of a set of points or or the convex envelope (minimum bounding box) of a set of points

Note:uses VBA but works in arcview, arceditor arc/info.

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Old question, but since appears quite high when searching for "convex hull arcgis", thought I'd add the Create Convex Hulls Geoprocessing Sample.

This uses the geometry convexhull() method (requires 10.1 or above, tested in 10.2). Works fine in ArcGIS basic, the code in the (python) toolbox is also a good reference for using this method elsewhere.

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As the accepted answer to this question refers to Hawth's tools, which is now superseded, I decided to post this it's successor, Geospatial Modelling Environment.

The command genmcp (Generate Minimum Convex Polygons) will do the job. The tool accepts a point input and optional unique identifier and outputs polygons. A where clause can be specified to identify a subset of the input features.

NB, GME has some dependencies: ArcGIS and R most importantly.

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