I've generated a channel/stream network based on a DEM, but each branch of the network is split into very small lines. I'd like to have the network divided into as few separate lines as possible, so that each branch will be a single line up until where it meets another branch.

I've found some tools that will allow me to manually join lines by selecting the ones to be joined, but I'm looking for a solution to do this across a large stream network consisting of hundreds of tiny lines. In the end I want to export this as a GPX file, if that makes any difference; the GPX format doesn't allow for branching lines.


You don't say which GIS system you are using! You can dissolve lines using the Dissolve tool in ArcGIS. Make sure you tick on unsplit lines option.

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    @Julian QGIS has a similar dissolve tool. We were just discussing this task at the most recent iteration of this question on GIS.SE over at gis.stackexchange.com/questions/132723 though that question wants isolated trees as single objects rather than each branch. The comments are worth a read though imho. – Chris W Feb 4 '15 at 23:38
  • In the post that @ChrisW refers to, the final step in my answer will be convert Multipart to Single part to meet your goal – FelixIP Feb 5 '15 at 0:15

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