I need to calculate the location of polygons along the route in ArcGIS (ArcInfo) 9 or 10. What I have already found out is only the calculation of the start and end of the intersection of a polygon with the route. But in my case I need to attribute all the polygons along the route, many of them do not intersect the route at all. The route is one and continuous.

I would need (at best) to get the following values:

  • Route measure of the polygon starting (aside from the route, by the shortest perpendicular line). Measures to be specified left or right side from the route (as the route measures increase) - probably +/- values
  • Route measure of the polygon ending (same)
  • Distance of the nearest polygon edge to the right from a route (zero if intersects)
  • Distance of the nearest polygon edge to the left from a route (zero if intersects)
  • Distance of the farthest polygon edge to the right from a route
  • Distance of the farthest polygon edge to the left from a route

This probably has something to do with VBA, Python or something - if so, please paste the code, since I'm not familiar with any scripting, unfortunately. I bet the problem is common (locating natural hazard sites along a road, for example), but googling and search in ArcGIS help didn't gave me any result. Also, there may be extensions doing that, but my search in ArcScripts didn't yield.

  • 1
    With regards to your last paragraph, this site isn't a code writing service. I'm sure there are plenty of people who are willing to offer a solution, but you may have to get your hands dirty with some code. Don't expect someone to do all the work for you.
    – BruceDoh
    Jul 15, 2015 at 18:49
  • Of course it isn't a code writing service, but maybe someone has a ready example. Anyway, I would prefer a standart option or a working extension, over struggling with code in which I don't understand any sufficient.
    – user55240
    Jul 15, 2015 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


There is a tool in the linear referencing tools called Locate Features along routes. It sounds like you might have already tried using it, but if you increase the search radius to a distance greater than the furthest distance from your route you should be able to get not only measures, but also offset distance. I think the distance option only works with point features.

So my suggestion is to covert all of your polygons to points using the feature vertices to points tool, then locate those point features along the route making sure to set a search radius and selecting the distance option.

The output of this tool is a table, so you will likely need to join the table to your polygon and calculate the fields with the values, or you may have to just do it all manually. I think this is the only way you can achieve what you are trying to do.

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  • It calculates distance only for points. I have no option of converting each polygon into a single set of points, then picking start/end/nearest/farthest. There are over 1000 polygons, each with lots of vertices. This should be more time consuming than just measuring them with a ruler.
    – user55240
    Jul 17, 2015 at 2:09
  • I understand, however I do not think there is an easy solution for what you are trying to do.
    – Michael B
    Jul 17, 2015 at 11:47

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