I have a shapefile with the nodes of a grid I have applied, for the purposes of interpolation, and I want to compute the euclidean distance that each grid node (it is a point vector) has to the coastline. I don not want to calculate the nearest neighbor for each point of my grid. I want to have in a table the euclidean distance that each point (the points are placed on the nodes of a regular grid) has from the coast, so that I can use this information as an auxiliary variable in my interpolation. I have found several tools in ArcMap that compute distances, but nothing that computes all the distances from one point feature to a line feature.

  • Would you be able to edit your question to include a picture of what you have tried to describe in words, please? The first two answers have interpreted what you wrote differently, and I am far from certain that I have interpreted it correctly. – PolyGeo Jan 27 '15 at 8:15

Have you looked at the Near tool? If I understand the question correctly, it seems like that might be the solution to your problem.

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  • Yes, I have tried it. The Near tool calculates the nearest neighbor of each point. I want the distance that every point has from the coastline. – Maria Karypidou Jan 27 '15 at 8:13
  • Near tool should do what you want, as would spatial join etc. Of course you need to join each point to the line of the coast. Could you explain exactly how you use spatial join/near tool so that it doesn't work ? – radouxju Jan 27 '15 at 9:15

The approach to this that I would use is to:

  1. Convert the vertices of your line to points using Feature Vertices To Point
  2. Calculate distances to those points from your original point using Point Distance

Both tools require an Advanced level license but, if you do not have that, then searching this site may be able to uncover workarounds that create the same outputs using a Basic level license.

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You quote

I want the distance that every point has from the coastline

In fact if i got you "Generate Near Table" tool will work for you if you have Advance License (e.g. compare distance) but both point and line feature layers to be projected on the projected coordinate system beforehand. My clarification is as below..


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  • Thank you! I work with an unprojected DEM (using Lat/Lon). Should I use as a method "PLANAR" or "GEODESIC"? – Maria Karypidou Jan 27 '15 at 11:28
  • Of course PLANAR-- – SIslam Jan 27 '15 at 11:38
  • Once I work on a Geographic Coordinate System, am I not supposed to use the GEODESIC method for calculating distances? – Maria Karypidou Feb 10 '15 at 16:46
  • Yes Geodesic = Geographic Coordinate system. – SIslam Feb 11 '15 at 5:06

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