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I'm newbie in geography. I have a number of x-y coordinates in a text file. I want to compute the shortest path going through these points in ArcGIS. I can load my data points in ArcGIS, but network analyst options are disabled. Would you please help me how to do the computation?

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    Why negative point? Please let me know the reason. – remo Sep 14 '15 at 9:08
  • I have noticed that down voting is the way of saying 'hello to newbie' in SE, I have sterted with the same warm welcome. it is been taken off, lucky you ;) – ChrisL Sep 14 '15 at 13:49
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You would need to use Network Analyst extension. It is a separate extension you would need to buy, it can be installed with the ArcGIS for Desktop installation, but to use it you need to buy a license.

  1. Enable extension in ArcMap.
  2. Obtain / prepare network dataset.
  3. Use Route layer with Reorder Stops To Find Optimal Route option.

By default, a route traverses stops in the order you define. However, you can possibly shorten the route further by letting Network Analyst find the best order. It will account for a variety of variables, such as time windows. Another option is to preserve the origin and destination while allowing Network Analyst to reorder the intermediary stops.

When you check this property, the route analysis changes from a shortest-path problem to a traveling salesperson problem (TSP).

| improve this answer | |
  • Do you have to pay for Network Analyst or does it come out-of-the-box with every ArcGIS package? Did you purchase the Network Analyst extension @remo? – John Sep 14 '15 at 13:30
  • @John, updated my answer – Alex Tereshenkov Sep 14 '15 at 13:33
  • Thanks @Alex. I wasn't sure myself - which is why I asked the question =) Which is the point of GIS.SE! Thanks for verifying. – John Sep 15 '15 at 0:11
  • Yes, I have a full access to ArcGIS in my university. I can show the points on the world map in ArcMAP, but all options in Network Analyst are disabled there. I asked a professor, and he said me you have only points, but you must define routes! I am not sure how to define them , however it must be easy to insert them since there is a straight line connecting each pair using GEOM distance metric. – remo Sep 15 '15 at 5:13

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