I am using ArcGIS and trying to construct the ModelBuilder to calculate the shortest distance along the line feature for a pair of polygon.

For example, as in the attached picture, I have polygon number 254 and 297 and the line feature (in red).

Is there any alternatives or commands in ArcGIS to help me measure the short distance on the red line traveling from polygon 254 to 297?

enter image description here


The picture I send is just the simple problem to understand what I want. The real project is targeted on more than 700 polygon and full transport network of public transport.

So, the simple measure and editing manually is not possible.

to be a little clear what I have for the data is: 1. Public Transport Network 2. OD matrix table

what I need is identify daily trip passengers for throught trip (taking only one route of transit from O to D without transfering) for each transit route.

I did not consider to use network analysis because, first, I did not really familiar with it and skim through the network analysis tutorial, I couldn't find its ability to storing information of trip volume per route (or by ID).

what I have done so far is figure it out to using geo-processing script to automate the process of line selection/split/measure of the shortest length of the line between O and D.

what my model is now mostly look like the attached file and what I have a problem is now I am now able to select the route that traverse between to polygon (O and D) but I have to split and select the exact line segment for the shortest distance.

The model builder is not allow to use select by attribute or location for the layer that not exist on the project windows. So, the next process have to start all over again by adding the outputs of my current works to the next model builder program.

So, what I really want is just curious that do they have any simple tools in GIS to measure this simple problem in Model Builder??? distance on the line between two point or polygon boundary (****again not manually measure)

enter image description here

  • 1
    Do you have the network analyst extention? Oct 11, 2016 at 10:42
  • 1
    If you ArcGIS 10.3 or later have a look at the polyline method measureOnLine
    – Hornbydd
    Oct 11, 2016 at 13:37
  • Welcome to GIS SE! As a new user be sure to take the 2-minute Tour to learn about the site and its protocols. What have you tried (in precise detail)? I think this would be easiest to do using ArcPy, but for help with that we would need you to post a code snippet that illustrates what you have tried and where you are stuck.
    – PolyGeo
    Oct 11, 2016 at 23:41

1 Answer 1


It does not use ModelBuilder but two simple ways to do this manually are:

  • Use the Measure tool with Vertex Snapping to make the measurement
  • Start Editing into new feature class and Trace the line into a new feature that will get its length as an attribute.

I do not think ModelBuilder is suitable for this task.

I think ArcPy would be suitable so if there are lots of these to do then I recommend starting to write some code snippets to figure out what you will need in your final code.

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.