I'm looking to calculate all combinations of the closest distance 2 polygons in a set of polygons in ArcMap 10.2.2. I have an advanced license. I'm assuming it has something to do with the Proximity toolset (Near Tool maybe? I've never done a "Generate Near Table" using polygon edges, only centroids and points).

Ideally there would be a simple way to loop through all combinations of polygons without creating a Python script (Although I'll write one if I need to, I'd just rather not if there's an easy tool available in an ArcMap toolbox).

For example, if I have a set of 4 polygons, I would want to know the shortest distance between 1&2, 1&3, 1&4, 2&3, 2&4, and 3&4 (all possible combinations).


1 Answer 1


I think Generate Near Table should do it, you feed the same layer in twice.

The help file states:

If no Search Radius is specified and Find only closest features is unchecked (closest set to ALL in scripting) , and Maximum number of closest is left to default (0 or empty), the output table will contain distance calculations between all input features and all near features. This kind of process can take quite a long time, and can create a large output table. For example, if you have 1,000 input features and 1,000 near features, the output table will contain 1,000,000 records.

So beware a 1000 polygons will generate an output of a million rows!

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