# Calculate Distance between a Polygon and a Point Along a Path

I am very new to ArcGis and am trying to figure out how to do this.

Basically, this is what I am trying to do:

I have a map of Canada and in it I have polygons representing areas (each about the size of a municipality). I also have points describing the location of every airport in Canada and the network of roads all across Canada. What I need to do is find the distance from each area to the nearest airport using a road.

What I tried to do already was find the centroid of each polygon because I thought that I could use that to calculate the distance between two points along a road. But then I realized that the centroid is not necessarily connected to a road (especially in the northern parts of Canada) therefore I cannot use that.

I would really appreciate some sort of guidance as to how I would accomplish this as I am very new to ArcGIS and have not found much to help me (without confusing me) online.

• Have you considered building centroid connectors? Emme/2 GIS integration strategies often use these. As a Canadian company, perhaps Inro aleady has a dataset for this. It might be easier to import theirs than build your own. Jun 26, 2012 at 20:20
• @KirkKuykendall Honestly, that seems like it would be to complicated and not "worth my time" (don't want to sound rude) just to do this once. I am looking for a way through just ArcMap. I do appreciate your comment and ideas though. Jun 26, 2012 at 20:27
• Yeah, it would be a substantial effort. If someone (like Inro) has already done it, though, it might not be hard. I think you'd want a line connecting each centroid to the midpoint of each major side of the polygon - not just a single connector. Are the polygons that lack centroid connectivity fairly rectangular? Jun 27, 2012 at 1:37