I have a series of polylines, these represent various linear landscape features (Roads, hedges,rivers). I need to convert these to a series of points equally spaced (so hedges a point every 2m, a river a point every 5m etc) in order to model them in a 3D program.

How do I do this? I have done it previous in ArcView 3, but using ArcGIS 9.3 now and lost.


8 Answers 8


in arctoolbox use: editing tools/densify then convert feature vertices to points (data management tools/features)

  • This answer has been flagged up as low quality due to its short length and someone has already downvoted it. My recommendation is to quickly expand upon your answer, perhaps by listing the steps and using links to the relevant tool help.
    – PolyGeo
    Aug 14, 2013 at 21:55
  • It's a pity, too, because this is a really good answer. I think it is much better than construct points option which requires a target points feature class and can't be done in model builder. It's pretty easy to do what @user21068 says. I don't think it needs any expansion. It should be listed as the answer to the question in my opinion.
    – ndthl
    Sep 15, 2013 at 9:17

It's an out-of-the box feature in version 10 where you would use the Construct Points function on the Editor menu to create points along any line.

I can't think of a way other then doing it progrmatically in version 9.3

  • 1
    not as good as user21068's answer. See below. ironically the most downvoted answer
    – ndthl
    Sep 15, 2013 at 9:18

I'll expand on user21068's reply, and this is tested with ArcInfo 10.1 Select all your lines Arc Toolbox -> Editing Tools -> Densify specify your input dataset, Densification Method should be DISTANCE, Distance (optional) defines point spacing and you can select your units OK will start the tool With the lines still selected Arc Toolbox -> Data Management Tools -> Features -> Feature Vertices to Points select the Input Feature layer use the browser to define an output file leave Point Type as ALL, but you could drop the ends by selecting MID, etc. OK will start the tool and create a new layer

I agree with user21068 as the easiest and fastest method, I could follow it easily and I am a "help challenged" user, but there is a caveat. You must be using the Advanced (ArcInfo) version, not Standard (ArcEditor) or Basic (ArcView) to have the Arc Toolbox -> Data Management Tools -> Features -> Feature Vertices To Points tool available.

I also used the Construct Points method suggested by jakub, but it only works on one line at a time. Like reima suggests, I used dissolve to combine (?!?!?) the polylines into a single feature. This worked "well", but was fairly slow. when I went from a few feature test file to a country-wide coverage of road networks, Constructs Points method was still going after an hour plus (lunch break). Using the Densify / Feature Vertices to Points took 2 minutes, 29 seconds to generate 47,000+ points.


Add your polyline feature(shapefile) to arc map, add an empty point (shapefile) both files have to be in same workspace(folder). Then start editor, set point shapefile as target, then select poly line feature using selection tool available with editor toolbar, then click editor drop down menu, choose divide, then provide your required interval in " Place points separated by every .... Units). New point features will be created along polyline at specified interval

Tested in arc gis 9.1 , 9.3

  • I am not able to activate divide option. How do I activate it. I have selected the line feature and made the target as point feature but when I am going to drop down menu in editor, I can see the divide still in grey color and not allowing me to click over it.
    – user26161
    Jul 2, 2015 at 15:45

You could use ET GeoWizzard. Convert -> Polylines to Points or Polyline -> Split. Not sure if this feature is for free, some are entirely for free, some other features are free to use up to 100 objects.


You can also try this code. I did not test this.

  • I have ET Geowizards :) but have been searching for an easy way to do this in Arc owing to the vast number of linear features I need to convert - intending to use ModelBuilder. Thanks for the reply! Feb 2, 2012 at 11:17

I haven't used it myself, but I believe linear referencing would be the best way to achive what you want. http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#/What_is_linear_referencing/003900000001000000/


For ArcMap 10.x users: If you have many different polylines you'd want to dissolve the lines first before using the construct points function. This way the whole dataset becomes one polyline, so you don't have to do each polyline manually.


Use the Densify tool in ArcMap. The Densify tools allows you to add points to a line and you can set the distance between those points within the tool. For your case you can set the distance between the points to 2 meters for the hedges and 5 meters for the river.. After using the Densify tool you can then use the Feature Vertices To Points tool to convert the line with all of those points into only points.

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