Lots of questions about turning metes and bounds into a polygon, but how about going in reverse? Are there any existing tools or do I need to look at building a script myself?

Ultimately I'd like to generate points with x/y and at all the vertices and line segments with distance and direction as attributes (so I can label them).

This for submission to our local government as part of their legal requirements.

  • Good question. You could use something like Feature Vertices To Points (Data Management; ArcMap solution) but ultimately you would need to determine your starting point (or use the one determined by how the feature was digitized!). Manually, in an edit session you could arrive at the lengths and directions. I'm not clear on how you'd automate that though (maybe someone has an idea). Good luck! – jbchurchill Oct 8 '15 at 16:43
  • Which GIS Software? – Mapperz Oct 8 '15 at 17:10
  • ArcGIS 10.3... I may just go ahead and build the script, then I can consider building it as a geoprocessing service on our internal web-map. – Cameron Oct 9 '15 at 19:06

If you're using a Standard or Advanced license, then yes, you can easily convert a polygon into a metes and bounds description via one of two methods.

First relies on the COGO tools, specifically Traverse. In edit session, double click the polygon in question to enter vertex editing mode. Launch the Traverse tool on the COGO toolbar, then right-click in the call box and choose Load Traverse from Sketch. This will create a list of calls for the polygon which you can then save to a text file. Note that the start coordinate will be based on the polygon creation, and that it won't cover the commencement calls to that PoB.

Since you're wanting attributes on lines and points, you'll need to break the polygon down as ed mentions. You'll need two different feature classes, one for points and one for lines. Getting points from vertices and adding coordinate attributes to those points is covered at other questions, as are getting the distance/direction attributes on the lines (which also uses the COGO toolbar and is discussed at How to display survey calls using the traverse tool?).

The second method involves using Parcel Fabrics and is considerably more complicated. Basically you import that shape, but all the information you're looking for is already tracked in a parcel fabric.

As an aside, you mention this is for 'local government legal requirements'. You don't mention where you are, but in some places and circumstances, generating metes and bounds descriptions for such records can only be done by certain people (licensed surveyors) and may potentially open you up to a host of liability issues.

  • Very good point in the last paragraph – ed.hank Oct 30 '15 at 20:48
  • Generating metes and bounds on a legal plan would have to be done by a surveyor (BC, Canada), but for the figures we produce, which are attached to applications under our Environmental Management Act, I don't believe the descriptions need to be produced by a legal surveyor... Good note though. – Cameron Nov 2 '15 at 19:44

If you are starting with a polygon I would convert it into line segments. Then I believe you can use the Inverse tool which is available in the Advanced Editing Toolbar. The tool calculates the coordinate geometry values for selected line features by inverting the geometry of the features. The values calculated include the direction and length for straight features and curve characteristics, such as chord distance, chord direction, arc length, radius, tangent length and side, for curved features.

Also I found what could be another way online as well: http://www.magney.org/Presentations/GeneratingMetesandBoundsMapsInGISweb.pdf

  • I wasn't able to find the Inverse tool... working with ArcGIS Desktop Advanced 10.3... – Cameron Oct 9 '15 at 19:06
  • Ahh it seems they moved it in 10.0 to the COGO toolbar. Here is a esri forum post about it and some other things you may find useful. forums.esri.com/Thread.asp?c=93&f=987&t=186120 – ed.hank Oct 9 '15 at 19:13

I have that code. You would convert your polygon to points and run the tool on the points. The tool requires that the points have a number of attributes pre-populated with X and Y values in decimal degrees. There also need to be fields to hold the azimuth and one to hold the distances but that is spelled out in the comments of the code. The script will take FID0 and FID1, calculate the azimuth and distance, then move on to FID1to FID2...best to not have a multi-part feature with this tool.

I wrote this a while back, it is set up for shapefiles and the coding is a bit ham-fisted. I see that it could be improved. Here is the link...



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