I have a point shapefile (with a lot of points) and a line shapefile (which contains just 1 line). I need to calculate the shortest distance from each point to the line as well as the coordinates of each point on the line to which the distances are calculated. I figured out that this can be done with ArcToolbox/Analysis Tools/Proximity/Near. But you need an advanced license for that, I only have Basic.

Is there another way to have the same outcome?

  • Have you tried doing a spatial join with nearest as the join type? That should be available at the basic license level. – geoJshaun Mar 7 '17 at 17:46
  • If no Basic level license workaround is offered for the Near tool, then your other option will be to seek/submit an ArcGIS Idea to have the license level restriction on the Near tool lowered to Basic. I think you will have a much better chance of getting that implemented if you target ArcGIS Pro rather than the ArcGIS 10.x architecture. – PolyGeo Nov 27 '17 at 22:00

With the spatial join, you will get the distance between each point and the closest line.

If you also need the coordinates of the points on the line with the "basic" tools, you can then draw a buffer with a radius equal to the point/line distance, then intersect the buffer and the line with point output. To complete your task, the field calculator can be used to get the points coordinates, and you can finally join the attribute tables of the original and the new points.

As a remark, the exact tangent could be missed due to precision error. in this case, take a slightly larger buffer radius than the point/line distance and compute the average of the X and Y coordinates of the two resulting points.

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