We would like to contact our volunteers based on their geographic location. We settled on zip codes as a reasonable proxy for location, and now have a table with volunteer contact information and zip code. I have a shapefile of the zip codes in our state, and have related this our volunteer table as it will be a many-to-one relationship. Now I can click between the two tables, but I can't figure out how to get the spatial information and the contact information into one place - ideally a shapefile - that I can use to select volunteers based on location (by selecting all volunteers within 30 miles of an event, for instance). I see in "transfer geometry of a feature class into a table" (Transfer geometry of a feature class into a table) that there is a way to transfer point data into the table, but not how to do that.

Is there a way to get the spatial information from a shapefile to attach to a table that contains many records matching individual polygons? The ideal outcome would be a point shapefile with all the volunteers appearing as overlaid points at the center of their zip code (or even better, overlaid zip code polygons with the volunteer's information associated with an individual polygon). If there's something less awkward than a relate, I'm happy to change methods.

  • I'm assuming ArcGIS is your platform based on the terms in your question. Add an X and Y field to your Zip Code shape and use calculate geometry of the polygon centroid to populate the X and Y fiields then join your table to your feature class by zip code, this will make a many to one join which should have access to coordinates, create an event layer from the joined table and export the event layer to get a shapefile of the centroids of the zipcode your volunteer is in, from there you can follow the linked post to get the polygon geometries by volunteer. Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


Geocode your table of volunteer contact info to your zip code shapefile. You can do this without address number, city, street name.


  • This was... incredibly fast, easy and effective. Thank you!
    – cmarschner
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 19:15

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