I am using ArcGIS 10.5. Desktop version and would like to do the following:

I have a 150 points with coordinates over a map of a city and would like to create 300m buffers around each of them. I also have coordinates for several thousands of observations spanned across the city. After creating the buffers I would like to compare observations inside the buffer zones to those outside of the zone but still within the same zip code area.

My problem is this:

Many of the buffers are overlapping so how do I attach each observation to the nearest center point of a buffer it belongs to?

If possible I would also like to count the amount of buffers each observations is in (ranging from zero to several).

The ideal form of my data would therefore indicate:

  1. whether an observation is within a buffer zone?
  2. which buffer center point is the nearest to each observation that is within a buffer?
  3. how many buffers overlap each observation point?
  • 1
    Welcome to GIS SE. Thank you for taking the Tour. Questions here should contain more than what is wanted; they should also report what has been tried, and what problem resulted. – Vince Feb 14 '18 at 11:39

I may be missing some point, but I would think about using Near function instead of Buffer and location analysis and then process analysis with distance in attribute table.

  • 1
    No you are not missing the point! Sounds like a sensible answer to me. – Hornbydd Feb 14 '18 at 11:25

All three can be made with the same tool: Point Distance.

Instead of thinking of buffering your 150 points, think of buffering your observations, and seeing which of the 150 points fall within it, and which one is the closest. This is what this tool does.

  • Input: the feature you want information from (your observations), the feature you want to measure distance to (your 150 points), and your maximum search radius (300 meters).

  • Output: a table listing each observation, which points are 300 meters from it (thus, which buffers that observation would fall into), and the distances (shortest distance is the one you want). If an observation isn't listed, that means it does not fall within any of the buffers.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.