So I'm new to this, the answer is probably really simple.

I have a point map of X Y data points (one for each participant) for a certain activity. I also have a shape file of zip codes, which I then made a point file out of this with the centroid for each zip code. I want to measure the distance from the point for the activity to the zip code that corresponds to each specific participant. I joined the attribute tables for these so that each participant has the a column for the lat, and long for the activity and the zip code lat and long. I must be close.

How do I ask ArcGIS to measure the distance between these points?

I'm using ArcMap 10.2.


1) Try using the NEAR function in the toolbox

2) Try using a Spatial Join

3) Try using creating "Euclidean Distance" rasters from each origin and then bringing these values into the points.

1 or 2 is most likely your solution.


You do not mention your license level, but if it is Advanced I would recommend trying the Point Distance (Analysis) tool which:

Determines the distances from input point features to all points in the near features within a specified search radius.

However, if you have a Basic or Standard license then it is possible to achieve the same functionality using the ArcPy workaround at:

Performing Point Distance analysis using Basic level license of ArcGIS for Desktop?

You also do not mention the coordinate system of your data, although you do mention it having lat/long columns, so you may need to get it into a Projected Coordinate System if you need units of meters or feet rather than decimal degrees.

  • I have a student version of ArcGIS, I'm not sure but that probably the basic level license. So to measure the distance between the two points, I need to have the same Projected Coordinate System for both layers right? I'm having an issue with that because I got the point data off of Google Maps for the lat/long and the GCS for that to display correctly is GCS_WGS_1984. If I try to specify a Projection System (my other layer uses USA_Contiguous_Albers_Equal_Area_Conic) the GCS automatically changes so the points disappear off of the zip code areas. – loud24noises Oct 31 '14 at 20:25

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