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What is the best method to take a set of points and generate a line? There are too many to simply guess a "connect-the-dots" situation & These points do not have an attributes in which they can be sequenced.

My first thoughts are to generate a small buffer to create a polygon or polyline from, but from here how would I efficiently generate a centerline from that road polygon? I have read methods of collapsing parallel lines but that requires a TON of manual splitting of edges of the polylines.

I am open to trying new methods not necessarily the path I began above. Open to using Arcmap, MapInfo, FME, Alteryx or any data format that can be helpful.

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Please check this How to convert points to lines?

If you are looking for a different scenario,could you please illustrate it.

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Try Points to Lines. It's an ArcScripts that works with ArcGIS Desktop. I have never tried it myself, but it seems like a good option.

There's also the Points To Line tool in Data Management.

  • This tool seems unsuitable since "points do not have an attributes in which they can be sequenced." – underdark Aug 5 '15 at 20:43
  • The Points to Line tool in Data Management doesn't need an attribute, only an input features (and of course an output feature class). The rest is optional. – Nahas Aug 6 '15 at 0:39
  • "By default, points used to create each output line feature will be used in the order they are found. If a different order is desired, specify a Sort Field." That still means that the points have to be ordered. – underdark Aug 6 '15 at 8:49
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If you want to use QGIS you can use the Points to Path tool. In recent versions (like 2.8 onwards) it's available in the Processing Toolbox under QGIS geoalgorithms - Vector Creation Tools - Points to path. For input, the tool requires two attributes - a group field that specifies the name of the feature that the points belong to (i.e. that will represent the new line feature - a street name, train line, etc.), and an order field that specifies the sequence in which the points should be connected.

See this earlier question:

Line Layer from Point to Point CSV file using QGIS?

Alternatively, there are also a few third party plugins (like Points2One) that can achieve this - activate via Plugins - Manage and Install Plugins.

  • This tool seems unsuitable since "points do not have an attributes in which they can be sequenced." – underdark Aug 5 '15 at 20:42
  • Sorry - an important detail that I missed. Not sure how this could be accomplished without knowing the order - unless you use the calculator to get the XY coordinates of the points, and somehow use the coordinates to specify order? That might allow you to draw lines, but you'd still have no attribute to group them into features. – fdonnelly Aug 6 '15 at 20:05

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