I am looking to calculate the minimum distance from the Center of a polygon (A crescent shaped polygon would have a center inside the polygon) to its edge. I have parcel data and I am trying to calculate in my model I created how tall I can build a cell tower on that parcel. The maximum height that I can build the tower is equal to the minimum distance from the center of the parcel to its edge. Is their a simple way to calculate this? Once I have the minimum distance calculated I can complete my query for my model.

  • There's a number of possible definitions of "center" and/or "centroid"; please edit the question to specify which particular "center of parcel" you want -- would the "center" of a crescent-shaped parcel be inside or outside the polygon?
    – Vince
    Oct 29, 2015 at 23:44
  • I think by centroid in the contex of his question he means center of gravity point. He has a parcel, and in the center of gravity of that parcel a cell tower will be raised. It doesn't really mater though the question is valid for any point.
    – nickves
    Oct 30, 2015 at 0:07
  • Have a look gis.stackexchange.com/questions/166230/…
    – FelixIP
    Oct 30, 2015 at 6:52
  • @nickves You can't erect a tower on a parcel you don't own to service the one you do without special arrangements. There are also potential propagation issues (direct line of sight) which would invalidate a center of mass centroid, even if it is located in a regular polygon (at which point visibility analysis may be necessary)
    – Vince
    Oct 30, 2015 at 11:13

1 Answer 1


The following approach requires you to have an Advance license:

  • Convert your polygons to lines using the Feature To Line tool
  • Identify the distance from your centroid point to the line using the Generate Near Table tool

These two steps can be wrapped up in a model.

  • Is there a way to achieve this with a Standard License?
    – GIS Pat
    Oct 30, 2015 at 20:53
  • Not if you want to use model builder..
    – Hornbydd
    Oct 30, 2015 at 21:02
  • How would you accomplish this outside of Model Building with the Standard License?
    – GIS Pat
    Nov 2, 2015 at 16:38
  • 1
    Python and arcpy. In 10.3 the Polyline object has a method queryPointAndDistance which can be used to extract the information you require. You could expose it as a Script tool and then embed it in to a large workflow model. So you would need to get your GIS developer to write this for you or employ someone who can.
    – Hornbydd
    Nov 2, 2015 at 17:49

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