I would like to create a square buffer from a point feature but I do not understand the code that goes into it.

Similar questions have been asked on the forums.esri website but that was over 10 years ago, and it did not work when I tried the code.

How do I create a square buffer from a point feature?


6 Answers 6


Try these steps with ArcMap 10:

  1. Buffer your point feature (ArcToolbox > Analysis Tools > Proximity > Buffer). Make sure to select the correct distance in the Linear unit box.
  2. Input your newly created buffers into the Feature Envelope to Polygon tool (Data Management Tools > Features > Feature Envelope to Polygon). Make sure to select the "Create multpart features" box if you have multiple points.

For a Python solution:

Using SearchCursor and InsertCursor to create square buffers

enter image description here


A possible solution would be to create your "normal" round buffers using the standard ESRI buffer tool with whatever radius you would like and then performing a Feature Envelope To Polygon on that resulting feature class of buffers. This creates a square envelope feature around the extent of each feature. Feature Envelope to Polygon is located within Data Management>Features. The model builder model would look similar to:

enter image description here


Since the script linked at the end of Aaron's code can only be used for square buffers and doesn't make use of the newer arcpy.da module, I've written a script that can be used to create rectangle buffers. On a 10k random point dataset, it completed in 10 seconds:

enter image description here

import os, arcpy

point_FC = arcpy.GetParameterAsText(0)
w = float(arcpy.GetParameterAsText(1))
h = float(arcpy.GetParameterAsText(2))
output_FC = arcpy.GetParameterAsText(3)

def rect(coord, w, h):
        #Given XY coordinates and rectangle dimensions,
        #return a polygon object of a rectangle centered about the point
        x,y = coord
        w *= 0.5
        h *= 0.5
        xmin,xmax = x-w, x+w
        ymin,ymax = y-h, y+h
        poly = ((xmin, ymax), (xmax, ymax), (xmax, ymin), (xmin, ymin))
        return arcpy.Polygon(arcpy.Array(arcpy.Point(*p) for p in poly))

#Create output feature class.
spatref = arcpy.Describe(point_FC).spatialReference
folder, base = os.path.split(output_FC)
arcpy.CreateFeatureclass_management(folder, base, "POLYGON", spatial_reference=spatref)

#Get field object for every field in input except OID and Shape.
fields = [f for f in arcpy.ListFields(point_FC) if f.type not in ("OID", "Geometry")]

for field in fields:
         arcpy.AddField_management(output_FC, field.name, field.type, field.precision,
                                   field.scale, field.length, field.aliasName,
                                   field.isNullable, field.required, field.domain)

#Get field names to be inputted to cursors.
#Need SHAPE@XY token to read point coords and SHAPE@ token to write polygon coords.
fnames = [f.name for f in fields]
fields_in = fnames[::]
fields_out = fnames[::]

#Create buffers and write attributes to output FC, if any.
count = int(arcpy.GetCount_management(point_FC)[0])
arcpy.SetProgressor("step", "Buffering...", 0, count, 1)
with arcpy.da.SearchCursor(point_FC, fields_in) as Scursor,  arcpy.da.InsertCursor(output_FC, fields_out) as Icursor:
        for i,row_in in enumerate(Scursor):                
                #"Convert" point to rectangle
                feature = list(row_in)
                feature[-1] = rect(feature[-1], w, h)                

Assuming you're using ArcObjects (please use the tags to specify the language and API you're using), you could use IEnvelope.Expand to create a square buffer from a point's envelope, as in this example: Get All Features from Point Search in GeoFeatureLayer Snippet

ESRI.ArcGIS.Geometry.IEnvelope envelope = point.Envelope;
envelope.Expand(searchTolerance, searchTolerance, false);

As an alternative to @Aaron's answer, for those without an Advanced license, use the Minimum Bounding Geometry tool. Steps below (modified from @Aaron):

  1. Buffer your point feature (ArcToolbox > Analysis Tools > Proximity > Buffer). Make sure to select the correct distance in the Linear unit box.
  2. Input your newly created buffers into the Minimum Bounding Geometry tool (Data Management Tools > Features > Minimum Bounding Geometry). Use 'RECTANGLE_BY_AREA' or 'RECTANGLE_BY_WIDTH', the other options are only available with an Advanced license.

This option doesn't let you control the orientation of the resulting square buffers, without using the 'ENVELOPE' option (which requires an Advanced license). By ticking the 'Add geometry characteristics as attributes to output (optional)' option - the resulting offset will be recorded as 'MBG_Orientation' in the output feature class. This can then be used to rotate the features back to centre if desired - see Rotating polygons by value from attribute table using ArcPy? for a potential solution to that.

enter image description here


This site describes how to convert csv to square or rectangle or circle buffers using geographiclib JavaScript and js2shapefile.

You can have a look if it solves your problem.

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