I am currently working with compressor stations on centerline routes. These compressor stations have a 3 mile buffer surrounding them. I wish to cut a portion of the circular buffer off. These cut buffers represent unidirectional flow on the route. I plan to clip the lines within each of the buffers so I can ultimately highlight these clipped lines.

Below is a picture of what I have done manually through the polygon editor. I wanted to see if there was an arcpy script available to help me automate this process.enter image description here

  • How would you determine which half to keep?
    – Aaron
    Jul 1 '15 at 15:21
  • The flow for the route is always north, so I would be cutting off the bottom portion of the circle buffer
    – GIS_ROOK
    Jul 1 '15 at 15:23
  • Will the 3-mile buffers ever overlap each other? Jul 1 '15 at 16:49
  • There is a chance that they will overlap. It all depends on the location of the compressor stations that the buffers will be built around.
    – GIS_ROOK
    Jul 1 '15 at 17:40

Here's a script I put together. The script uses your point and your line feature class, and outputs a new line feature class of line features as desired. The basic steps:

  • Iterate through points
  • Create a buffer around each point
  • Create East-West line from each point. This will be used to slice your buffer in half
  • Create point north of each input point. This will be used to select northern buffer half
  • Slice the buffer in half with Feature to Polygon
  • Select northern half with northern point
  • Add all northern buffers to new feature class
  • Clip input line feature class by northern buffers

Note that the script assumes a northern direction means an increase in the y-value of a point's coordinate. I've commented out a different line if the opposite is true. You should find it with my comments.

Also note that your input point feature class needs to be in a projected coordinate system.


  • pntFc: Full path to your point feature class
  • lineFc: Full path to your line feature class you wish to slice up
  • bufferDist: Distance in meters for your buffer
  • workspace: in_memory or a file geodatabase to store intermediate data
  • outLineFC: Full path of line output
  • outBufferFC: Full path of half-buffer output


Creates northerly buffers from point data set
Intersects line feature class 

#Input point feature class
pntFc = r"C:\temp\temp.gdb\testpnt"

#Input line feature class
lineFc = r"C:\temp\temp.gdb\testline"

#Buffer distance in meters
## 3 miles * 1609.34 = 4828.03
bufferDist = 4828.03

workspace = r"in_memory"

#Full path of line output
outLineFC = r"C:\temp\temp.gdb\testline_out2"

#Full path of buffer output
outBufferFC = r"C:\temp\temp.gdb\buffer_out"

#End locals -----------

#Import modules
print "Importing modules"
from arcpy import *
import os

#Optional: overwrite output
#Will allow for overwriting feature classes in workspace
env.overwriteOutput = True

#Get spatial reference to determine feature class meter unit conversion
SR = Describe (pntFc).spatialReference
metersPerUnit = SR.metersPerUnit

#Create empty line feature class for east/west line - used for slicing
ewLineFc = os.path.join (workspace, "sliceLine")
CreateFeatureclass_management (workspace, "sliceLine", "POLYLINE", spatial_reference = SR)

#Create empty point feature class for northerly point - used for selecting northern half of buffer
nPointFc = os.path.join (workspace, "nPoint")
CreateFeatureclass_management (workspace, "nPoint", "POINT", spatial_reference = SR)

#Creater empty polygon to store northerly buffers
bufferHalfs = os.path.join (workspace, "bufferHalfs")
CreateFeatureclass_management (workspace, "bufferHalfs", "POLYGON", spatial_reference = SR)

#Empty list to store northern buffers
northBuffs = []

#Iterate points
print "Creating northernly half-buffers"
with da.SearchCursor (pntFc, ["SHAPE@X", "SHAPE@Y", "SHAPE@"]) as cursor:
    for xCoor, yCoor, shape in cursor:

        #Buffer feature class
        bufferFc = os.path.join (workspace, "buffer")
        Buffer_analysis (shape, bufferFc, "%s Meters" % str(bufferDist))

        ###Create east-west line feature class ------

        #Array object
        array = Array()

        #Create easterly and westerly points
        ePoint = Point()
        ePoint.Y = yCoor
        ePoint.X = xCoor + (bufferDist / metersPerUnit) + 1

        wPoint = Point()
        wPoint.Y = yCoor
        wPoint.X = xCoor - (bufferDist / metersPerUnit) - 1

        array.add (ePoint)
        array.add (wPoint)

        #Create easterly/westerly line
        line = Polyline (array)

        #Add line to east-west line feature class
        inCurs = da.InsertCursor (ewLineFc, ["SHAPE@"])
        inCurs.insertRow ((line,))
        del inCurs

        ##Done creating east-west line feature class -----

        ###Create northerly point ------
        ###Allows selection of northern buffer

        #Northerly point
        nPoint = Point()
        nPoint.Y = yCoor + ((bufferDist / metersPerUnit) /2) #Assumes increased coordinate == north
        #If north == minusing y Coordinate use:
        #nPoint.Y = yCoor - ((bufferDist / metersPerUnit) /2)
        nPoint.X = xCoor

        #Add point to  north point feature class
        inCurs = da.InsertCursor (nPointFc, ["SHAPE@"])
        inCurs.insertRow ((nPoint,))
        del inCurs

        ##Done creating northerly point ------------

        #Slice buffer
        slicedBufferFc = os.path.join (workspace, "sliceBuffer")
        FeatureToPolygon_management ([bufferFc, ewLineFc], slicedBufferFc)

        #Make feature layer to select northerly half of buffer
        MakeFeatureLayer_management (slicedBufferFc, "sliceLyr")

        #Select sliced layer by northerly point
        SelectLayerByLocation_management ("sliceLyr", "", nPointFc)

        #Get shape object from buffer selection
        northShape = [r[0] for r in da.SearchCursor ("sliceLyr", "SHAPE@")][0]

        #Add buffer half to list
        northBuffs += [northShape]

        #Clean up
        for fil in ["sliceLyr", slicedBufferFc, bufferFc]:
            Delete_management (fil)
        for fc in [nPointFc, ewLineFc]:
            DeleteRows_management (fc)

#Insert cursor to add buffers to feature class
print "Creating split buffer feature class"
cursor = da.InsertCursor (bufferHalfs, "SHAPE@")
for half in northBuffs:
    cursor.insertRow ((half,))
del cursor

print "Clipping"
#Clip buffer halfs with input line feature class
Clip_analysis (lineFc, bufferHalfs, outLineFC)

print "Created:", outLineFC

#Export buffer feature class
buffName = os.path.basename (outBufferFC)
buffPath = os.path.dirname (outBufferFC)
FeatureClassToFeatureClass_conversion (bufferHalfs, buffPath, buffName)
print "Created:", outBufferFC

for fc in [bufferHalfs, ewLineFc, nPointFc]:
    Delete_management (fc)

print "Done"

Input example:


Result: Result Buffers

Let me know if you have any questions!

  • Sure, it was fun. I've updated the script so that the buffers are exported too, since this was your original question. Jul 1 '15 at 19:29
  • 1
    @EmilBrundage Nice script! One alternative for ArcGIS 10.2+ is to use the buffer() and cut() methods of the arcpy.Polygon class to perform the geometry operations instead of using geoprocessing tools. This shouldn't affect the output, but it is probably faster.
    – dmahr
    Jul 1 '15 at 21:39
  • @dmahr thanks! I was only semi-aware of the geometry class options. They look quite useful. Jul 1 '15 at 22:21
  • @EmilBrundage I was wondering if you could provide some assistance with the script you provided. When the script is running through creating the buffers, east-west lines and northern points, it throws an exception after a few minutes. The exception is: "Runtime error Traceback (most recent call last): File "<string>", line 65, in <module> File "c:\program files (x86)\arcgis\desktop10.1\arcpy\arcpy\analysis.py", line 687, in Buffer raise e ExecuteError: ERROR 000735: Input Features: Value is required" Could you provide some insight into why this may be happening?
    – GIS_ROOK
    Jul 6 '15 at 14:36
  • Interesting. It's indicating that it can't find the input for the Buffer tool. The best I can figure, there's something wrong with the geometries of one or more of your points. Try a repair geometry tool run. Otherwise you'll have to do a little troubleshooting. See if you can figure out how to print out OIDs each time it iterates through a point. Add "OID@" to the list of fields in the cursor, add OID to the for loop, and then print OID at the start of each iteration. Then you'll know which point fails. Jul 6 '15 at 14:47

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