I am in the midst of doing a complete overhaul of our (abysmal) centrelines, and I was wondering how everyone creates their centrelines.

We have a large rural area, and some of the roads meander all over the place within the ROW, so I am thinking that manual digitization through tracing the roads would be the best route to take.

Is there any downside to tracing, as opposed to having the centreline in the middle of the ROW?

  • gis.stackexchange.com/questions/29863/…
    – klewis
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 22:40
  • It depends on what the centerlines are supposed to represent. Ignore aerials and use COGO and parcel boundaries to define the Centerlines if they are supposed to represent surveyed documents and are referenced to define legal ownership, access rights and maintenance boundaries, since the actually driven roadway system in rural areas often only loosely complies with those boundaries. However, manual tracing is best If the primary purpose of the centerlines is to represent roads that can actually be driven in emergencies whether or not the public has clear legal rights to use those roads. Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 2:00

1 Answer 1


Instead of tracing you could try this Polygon to Centerline tool: http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=bc642731870740aabf48134f90aa6165 I have heard some people have had problems with it and others have gotten it to work just fine but it might be worth a shot and save you a lot of time instead of tracing.

There is also a tool called Collapse Polyline to Centerline : http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#/Collapse_Dual_Lines_To_Centerline/00700000000t000000/

And here is a semi How-To to do just as you are asking: http://support.esri.com/cN/knowledgebase/techarticles/detail/44238

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