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Suppose I have many points distributed in a network. I want to place three facilities in the best way so that all points are near a facility.

How can I do it? Any solution and software should be fine (QGIS, ArcGIS Network Analyst, pure C/Python/Java algorithm).

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    Do you already have facilities to select from, or are you starting from scratch with just service points? If the latter, the Location-Allocation analysis @Erica suggests won't work. It's designed to determine the most efficient set of points from Group A to service points in Group B. If you don't already have a Group A, you need to do a different/additional analysis to come up with candidate points for the facilities before you can do that network solve. – Chris W Dec 3 '14 at 19:05
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Some background and description of the ArcGIS Network Analyst process can be found at Esri's help pages for Location-allocation analysis and Solving a location-allocation problem in ArcMap.

The relevant tool is Make Location-Allocation Layer.

After creating the analysis layer with this tool, you can add network analysis objects to it using the Add Locations tool, solve the analysis using the Solve tool, and save the results on disk using Save To Layer File tool

  • It's worth noting that the location-allocation problem can be solved in a variety of other platforms -- I just happen to know the ArcGIS one ;) – Erica Dec 3 '14 at 15:17

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