My situation appears rather simple, but it has given me headaches more than once already. I have a set of points and a set of polylines. I would like to use a spatial join to join the attributes of the closest line to the point data. However, there are many lines that have spatially coincident counterparts. That is to say, duplicate geometry exists that allows more than one line to occupy the exact (emphasis) space as another line. However, when performing a One-to-Many join for Closest feature in a Spatial Join, only one line is chosen. This does not seem to be proper behavior, but perhaps I am mistaking the terminology? If so, is there a better method to create an output table that creates duplicate point features with the attributes of all lines that are "closest?"

Pictures for clarity:

ArcGIS y u no count good

As you can see, there are 5 line features that are coincident at this location, but a one-to-many spatial join for closest feature only picks one. Coincidentally (that word never gets old), it is the first feature identified when the link is clicked with the Identify tool. They appear to list in order of ObjectID, but this may just be a... well, you know.

Any ideas?

1 Answer 1


If you have an ArcInfo License you can use the Near (Analysis) tool for your spatial search

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You will get a distance to lines from the points and the ID's which can be joined based on your original ids - this can be grouped or exported like a select by feature using the ModelBuilder.

  • I don't have an ArcInfo license, but I might be able to get one. I'm a bit lost on how this solves the problem of one point needing to match to several lines, however. Could you elaborate a bit?
    – Nathanus
    Feb 23, 2012 at 18:23

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