I want to calculate the distance to the nearest coastline from my site locations (point shapefile), and possibly the max distance as well. I am using ArcGIS 10.2 and I already have a shapefile of the coastline (lines), but I don't want to do it manually for each site using the "measuring" tool as I have hundreds of sites.

How else could I do it, perhaps using Euclidean Distance or Zonal stats?

  • The coastline is line, and my site coordinates are saved as a point shapefile - so vector. I am not really sure how to proceed. I have Advanced license so that's not an issue.
    – user19622
    May 16, 2015 at 6:45
  • Please use the edit button to revise your question with those clarifications.
    – PolyGeo
    May 16, 2015 at 6:48

1 Answer 1


You should use the Near GP tool for that (Advanced license only).

It will add two fields to your point shapefile: one for distance to the nearest coastline feature and another for the coastline feature ObjectID.

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  • 3
    For those without an ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced license (formerly ArcInfo license), this can be accomplished with the Spatial Join tool. The target_features would be the points, the join_features would be the coastline, and the match_option would be CLOSEST.
    – dmahr
    May 16, 2015 at 13:22

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