To calculate wind fetch over water I need to create a point on the shoreline and then calculate the distance to to other shorelines all directions (0 - 360 deg). The shortest distance to another land feature = the short fetch = low waves. On the other hand, a long fetch or distance to another shoreline feature allows large waves to propagate. (In the extreme case fetch may be huge- crossing the Gulf of Mexico for example- in which case fetch is considered infinite).

How can I perform this calculation? The NEAR tool does a great job at measuring the distance to the nearest feature but not the furthest. This seems as though it should be simple but I haven't been able to come up with a clean workflow.


2 Answers 2


You could try this. Convert the Shoreline to Points, "Feature Vertices to Points. Run Proximity, "Point Distance" - this will give a distance from each input Point to every other Point in the Near feature class.

  • klewis, that's an interesting idea although borders would need to be enforced to avoid wind from traveling over land.
    – Dan S.
    Mar 21, 2016 at 19:51

A similar out-of-the-box ArcGIS tool called Generate Near Table lets you find all the features within a tolerance. Say you knew all the shorelines were within 1,000 miles, you would set the tolerance to that distance, and the tool would return the all the closest "hits" within 1,000 miles of each input feature.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.