I have two line feature classes representing the same roads. Their geometries are only crudely similar, while their attributes are totally different. I am trying to add the attributes of one feature class to the other based on their closest line segments. The screenshot is an example. I want to assign the attributes of the middle red line to the selected lines of the the other feature class (and ultimately do it for the whole feature class).

I've tried the "Detect Feature Changes" tool, which has worked pretty well, but still leaves a lot to be desired (ex: it might only assign the attributes to one of the selected lines below). Ive also experimented with the Conflation toolset, but am not very experienced with it.

How can I make this process more "fine-grained" or are there other/better ways to go about it?

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1 Answer 1


The detect Feature Changes works great when the geometry representations are the more or less the same with dual centerlines or single centerlines used in the same way. But the tool design is as good as it needs to be to do the process. You're attempting to do this with frankly very bad data, and garbage in garbage out continues to be an unbreakable law of computers.

Like most complex tasks that have no easy solution you have to break it down into phases. The fact that only one line gets matched is not really a problem. Validate the lines you are fine with and mark them as validated in a new field. Then select everything that is not validated and run the tool again on that set with a new set of outputs. Do this as many times as you need to until manually fixing the oddballs is easier that using the tool.

Since you are only transferring attributes doing multiple transfers in phases is a relatively simple process. Phasing geometry transfers would be the more difficult process, but you are not doing that.

  • Its quite a large dataset, so I was afraid something like this would be the only option, but it is what it is. Thanks for the input.
    – tordor
    Jul 10, 2016 at 23:14
  • 1
    You might want to post an idea on Geonet to add an option to let you tell the tool you want to match multiple lines in the target using a single line in the source. It should not be a default option or embedded in the tool without user input, since that would probably screw up users trying to match dual line networks in both the target and the source. Jul 10, 2016 at 23:25

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