Can anybody explain the concept of M-aware geometry?

I want to construct the M-aware polyline by using xy values. Before doing this exercise I want to understand the concept of M-aware and work on it.


2 Answers 2


An m-aware polyline has the ability to store m-values (in addition to x and y values). M-values are 'measurement' values, for example the distance along a given line. They are often used in linear referencing datasets.

Read more on the concept of linear referencing: http://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/guide-books/linear-referencing/linear-referencing-datasets-in-arcgis.htm


The M in M-aware stand for Measure and is another coordinate value like an X, Y or Z coordinate on each node. Measures are typically the relative linear distance of each vertex measured from the start of the line. M-aware lines are also assigned a unique Route ID and can then be used to create an event table for points or line segments which are defined by including a field for the Route ID value and one or two measure value fields. This is called Linear Referencing and you can read about it here.

Normally you would first use the Point to Line tool to build your xy points into a line first and then you can use that line to create an M-aware line feature class by using the Create Routes tool

M values are not limited to representing linear distances and could alternatively represent things like the time stamp of each point of a line for animal tracks, for example.

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