I have been trying to look for an easy/quick way to select a certain amount of polygons (layer 1) from a 90 points shapefile (layer 2).

The idea is to identify the nearest 300 buildings from each of the 90 vaccination sites. Selecting these buildings based on a distance is easy but based on the number of features around it seems much more complicated.

I could not find any good way (I tried "Near", "Make Closest Facility", "Neighborhood location"...but they don't seem to do what I'm looking for).

I can't find any tool doing this. Doing this for only 1 point is ok but for a larger number of points is not obvious.

Any suggestion?

I'm using ArcGIS 10.3 for Desktop.

  • Could you just use the Select Layer By Location?
    – TsvGis
    Aug 18 '15 at 6:57
  • Select Layer by Location only allows me to select the polygons according to a distance radius or other distance related options. This is my back-up solution if I can't select by "closest feature". Basically, I'd like to find a tool giving me the possibility to select the nearest polygons (with me saying how many polygons I need). An equivalent of the Buffer tool so that it would automatically be applied around all my points.
    – GIS_Vince
    Aug 18 '15 at 7:26

you could use "spatial join" to get the distance between the building and the vaccination center. If your vaccination centers are far apart, then you can do it in one go. Otherwise, some building could belong to two or more vaccination areas, so you need to select the 300 closest building for each poit separately. Then you need to use a Python or, if you don't want Python, the model builder (Iterate feature selection).

As a remark, you can look at this post to select the 300 closest when you have a valid distance field.


To do this I think you should use the Generate Near Table (Analysis) tool which:

Calculates distances and other proximity information between features in one or more feature class or layer. Unlike the Near tool, which modifies the input, Generate Near Table writes results to a new stand-alone table and supports finding more than one near feature.

Unfortunately, this tool requires an Advanced level license.

  • Thanks, I will try this. The idea is to get a ONE-TO-MANY sort of output with the vaccination sites points being ONE and 300 polygons for each of their respective point.
    – GIS_Vince
    Aug 18 '15 at 12:55
  • Ok, I think that Generate Near Table does the job. It takes more step than initially expected but it works out. Thanks for your help!
    – GIS_Vince
    Aug 18 '15 at 14:52

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